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Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking, CourseSmart eTextbook, 10th Edition

By M. Neil Browne, Stuart M. Keeley

Published by Longman

Published Date: Jul 1, 2011

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For courses in critical thinking and argument, and in any course requiring critical thinking skills.


Used in a variety of courses in various disciplines, Asking the Right Questions helps students bridge the gap between simply memorizing or blindly accepting information, and the greater challenge of critical analysis and synthesis.  Specifically, this concise text teaches students to think critically by exploring the components of arguments--issues, conclusions, reasons, evidence, assumptions, language--and on how to spot fallacies and manipulations and obstacles to critical thinking.  It teaches them to respond to alternative points of view and develop a solid foundation for making personal choices about what to accept and what to reject. 

Table of Contents


            Key ongoing features of Asking the Right Questions

            The special features of this new edition


Chapter 1: The Benefit and Manner of Asking the Right Questions

            The Sponge and Panning for Gold: Alternative Thinking Styles

            Tan Example of the Panning for Gold Approach

            The Myth of the “Right Answer”

            The Usefulness of Asking the Question: “Who Cares?”

            Weak-Sense and Strong-Sense Critical Thinking

            The Satisfaction of Panning for Gold

                        The Importance of Practice

            The Right Questions

                        Critical Thinking is a Social Activity

                        Values and Other People

                        The Primary Values of a Critical Thinker

            Thinking and Feeling

            Keeping the Conversation Going

                        Creating a Friendly Environment for Communication

            Wishful Thinking: Perhaps the Biggest Single Obstacle to Critical Thinking


Chapter 2: What are the Issue and the Conclusion?

            Kinds of Issues

            Searching for the Issue

            Searching for the Author’s or Speaker’s Conclusion


                        Clues to Discovery: How to Find the Conclusion

            Critical Thinking and Your Own Writing and Speaking

                        Narrowing Your Issue Prior to Writing

            Practice Exercises

            Sample Responses


Chapter 3: What Are the Reasons?

            Initiating the Questioning Process

            Words that Identify Reasons

            Kinds of Reasons        

            Keeping the Reasons and Conclusions Straight

                        USING THIS CRITICAL QUESTION

            Critical Thinking and Your Own Writing and Speaking

            Practice Exercises

            Sample Responses


Chapter 4: What Words or Phrases Are Ambiguous?

            The Confusing Flexibility of Words

            Locating Key Terms and Phrases

            Checking for Ambiguity

                        USING THIS CRITICAL QUESTION

            Determining Ambiguity

            Context and Ambiguity

                        USING THIS CRITICAL QUESTION

            Ambiguity, Definitions, and the Dictionary

            Ambiguity and Loaded Language

            Limits of Your Responsibility to Clarify Ambiguity

                        Ambiguity and Your Own Writing and Speaking

            Practice Exercises

            Sample Responses


Chapter 5: What Are the Value and Descriptive Assumptions?

            General Guide for Identifying Assumptions

            Value Conflicts and Assumptions

            From Values to Value Assumptions

            Typical Value Conflicts

            The Communicator’s Background as a Clue to Value Assumptions

            Consequences as Clues to Value Assumptions

            More Hints for Finding Value Assumptions

            Finding Value Assumptions on Your Own

                        USING THIS CRITICAL QUESTION

            Values and Relativism

            Identifying and Evaluating Descriptive Assumptions

            Illustrating Descriptive Assumptions

            Clues for Locating Assumptions

            Avoiding Analysis of Trivial Assumptions

            Practice Exercises

            Sample Responses


Chapter 6: Are There Any Fallacies in the Reasoning?

            A Questioning Approach to Finding Reasoning Fallacies

            Evaluating Assumptions as a Starting Point

            Discovering Other Common Reasoning Fallacies

            Looking for Diversions

            Sleight of Hand: Begging the Question


            Summary of Reasoning Errors

            Expanding Your Knowledge of Fallacies

            Fallacies and Your Own Writing and Speaking

            Practice Exercises

            Sample Responses


Chapter 7: How Good Is the Evidence: Intuition, Personal Experience, Case Examples, Testimonials, and Appeals to Authority?

            The Need for Evidence

            Locating Factual Claims

            Sources of Evidence

            Intuition as Evidence

            Personal Experience as Evidence

            Case Examples as Evidence

                        Testimonials as Evidence

            Appeals to Authority as Evidence

                        USING THIS CRITICAL QUESTION


            Practice Exercises

            Sample Responses


Chapter 8: How Good Is the Evidence: Personal Observation, Research Studies, and Analogies?

            Personal Observation

            Research Studies as Evidence

                        Problems with Research Findings

            Generalizing from the Research Sample

            Biased Surveys and Questionnaires

            Critical Evaluation of a Research-Based Argument

            Analogies as Evidence

                        Identifying and Comprehending Analogies

                        Evaluating Analogies


            Research and the Internet

            Practice Exercises

            Sample Responses


Chapter 9: Are There Rival Causes?

            When to Look For Rival Causes

            The Pervasiveness of Rival Causes

            Detecting Rival Causes

            The Cause or a Cause

            Rival Causes for Differences Between Groups

            Confusing Causation with Association

            Confusing “After this” with “Because of this”

            Explaining Individual Events or Acts

            Evaluating Rival Causes


                        Exploring Potential Causes

                        Narrowing Down Your List of Potential Causes

            Practice Exercises

            Sample Responses


Chapter 10: Are the Statistics Deceptive?

            Unknowable and Biased Statistics

            Confusing Averages

            Concluding One Thing, Proving Another

            Deceiving by Omitting Information

            Risk Statistics and Omitted Information            


            Practice Exercises

            Sample Responses


Chapter 11: What Significant Information is Omitted?

            The Benefits of Detecting Omitted Information

            The Certainty of Incomplete Reasoning

            Questions that Identify Omitted Information

            The Importance of the Negative View

            Omitted Information That Reminas Missing



            Practice Exercises

            Sample Responses


Chapter 12: What Reasonable Conclusions Are Possible?

            Assumptions and Multiple Conclusions

            Dichotomous Thinking: Impediment to Considering Multiple Conclusions

            Two Sides or Many?
            Searching for Multiple Conclusions

            Productivity of If-Clauses

            Alternative Solutions as Conclusions

            The Liberating Effect of Recognizing Alternative Conclusions

            All Conclusions Are Not Created Equal


            Practice Exercises

            Sample Respones


Final Word

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Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking, CourseSmart eTextbook, 10th Edition
Format: Safari Book

$21.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-205-21228-6