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Asking the Right Questions with Readings Plus MyLab Writing -- Access Card Package

By M. Neil Browne, Stuart M. Keeley

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Feb 24, 2015

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Used in a variety of courses in various disciplines, Asking the Right Questions with Readings helps bridge the gap between simply memorizing or blindly accepting information, and the greater challenge of critical analysis and synthesis.  Specifically, this concise text teaches how 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. 

Table of Contents




Chapter  1:  The Benefit of Asking the Right Questions


        Critical Thinking to the Rescue

        The Sponge and Panning for Gold: Alternative Thinking Styles

        An Example of the Panning-for-Gold Approach

        Panning for Gold: Asking Critical Questions

        The Myth of the “Right Answer”

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

        Weak-Sense and Strong-Sense Critical Thinking

        The Satisfaction of Using the Panning-for-Gold Approach

        Effective Communication and Critical Thinking

        The Importance of Practice

        The Right Questions


Chapter 2:    Critical Thinking Is a Social Activity

        Values and Other People

        The Primary Values of a Critical Thinker

        Thinking and Feelings

        Keeping the Conversation Going

        Avoiding the Dangers of Groupthink


Chapter 3:    What Are the Issue and the Conclusion?

        Kinds of Issues

        Searching for the Issue

        Searching for the Author’s or Speaker’s Conclusion

        Using This Critical Question

        Clues to Discovery: How to Find the Conclusion

        Critical Thinking and Your Own Writing and Speaking

        Practice Exercises

        Fred von Lohmann, "Copyright Silliness on Campus"


Chapter 4:    What Are the Reasons?

        Reasons + Conclusion = Argument

        Initiating the Questioning Process

        Words That Identify Reasons

        Kinds of Reasons

        Keeping the Reasons and Conclusions Straight

        Critical Thinking and Your Own Writing and Speaking

        Practice Exercises

        David Horowitz, "College Professors Should Be Made to Teach, Not Preach"


Chapter  5:    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

        New York Times editoriall, "Juvenile Injustice"


Chapter 6:    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

        Avoiding a Typical Difficulty When Identifying Value Assumptions

        Finding Value Assumptions on Your Own

        Using This Critical Question

        Values and Relativism

        Identifying and Evaluating Descriptive Assumptions

        Illustrating Descriptive Assumptions

        Using this Critical Question

        Clues for Locating Assumptions

        Avoiding Analysis of Trivial Assumptions

        Assumptions and Your Own Writing and Speaking

        Practice Exercises

        Religion News Blog, "Should We Legalize Marijuana?"


Chapter 7:    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

        Using This Critical Question

        Summary of Reasoning Errors

        Expanding Your Knowledge of Fallacies

        Fallacies and Your Own Writing and Speaking

        Practice Exercises

         Jacob Sullum, "Gun Control Non Sequiturs"


Chapter 8:    How Good Is the Evidence: Intuition, Personal Experience, Testimonials, and Appeals to Authority?

        The Need for Evidence

        Locating Factual Claims

        Sources of Evidence

        Intuition as Evidence

        Dangers of Appealing to Personal Experience as Evidence

        Testimonials as Evidence

        Appeals to Authority as Evidence

            Problems with Citers Citing Other Citers

        Using This Critical Question


        Practice Exercises

        Isabel Lyman, "Homeschooling Comes of Age"


Chapter 9:    How Good Is the Evidence: Personal Observation, Research Studies, Case Examples, and Analogies?

        Personal Observation

        Research Studies as Evidence

        Generalizing from the Research Sample

        Biased Surveys and Questionnaires

        Critical Evaluation of a Research-Based Argument

        Case Examples as Evidence

        Analogies as Evidence

            Identifying and Comprehending Analogies

            Evaluation Analogies


        Practice Exercises

        Neela Banerjee, "Americans Change Faiths as Rising Rate, Report Finds"


Chapter 10    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 and Scientific Research

        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

        Using This Critical Question

        Evidence and Your Own Writing and Speaking


        Practice Exercises

        Cathy Arnst, "The World According to Disney"


Chapter 11:    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

        Buddy T, Guide, "College Drinking, Drug Use Grows More Extreme"


Chapter 12:    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 Remains Missing

        Using This Critical Question

        Practice Exercises

        Radley Balko, "Back to 18?"


Chapter 13:   What Reasonable Conclusions Are Possible?

        Assumptions and Multiple Conclusions

        Dichotomous Thinking: Impediment to Considering Multiple Conclusions

        Two Sides or Many?

        Searching for Multiple Conclusions

        The Productivity of If-Clauses

        Alternative Solutions as Conclusions

        The Liberating Effect of Recognizing Alternative Conclusions

        All Conclusions Are Not Created Equal


        Practice Exercises

        Maryann Bird, "Should We Stop Eating Meat to Help the Planet?"


Chapter 14:    Overcoming Obstacles to Critical thinkingOvercoming Obstacles to Critical Thinking

        Reviewing Famnilair Obstacles

        Mental Habits That Betray Us

            The Seductive Quality of Personal Experience

            Belief in a Just World


            The Urge to Simplify

            Belief Perseverance

            Availability Heuristic

        Wishful Thinking


Chapter 15:  Should We Protect Children from Advertising?

        Rebecca A. Clay, "Advertising to Children: Is It Ethical?"

        Dale Kunkel and Brian Wilcox, "Television Advertising Leads to Unhealthy Habits in Children; Say APA Task Force"

        Cam Beck, "Taking Responsibility for Our McActions"

        Lisa Tiffin, "How to Inoculate Your Children Against Advertising"

        Susan E. Linn, "Food Marketing to Children in the Context of a Marketing Maelstrom"

        Essay Questions


Chapter 16: What Is the Proper Role of Government in Improving the Quality of Families in Our Culture?

        Stephanie Coontz, "Taking Marriage Private"

        "Swedish Top Lawyer Wants to Legalize Polygamy..."

        Peg Tittle, "We License Plumbers and Pilots - Why Not Parents?"

        Lizette Alvarez, "Jens and Vita, but Molli? Danes Favor Common Names"

        Malcolm Potts, "China's One Child Policy: The Policy That Changed the World"

        RIchard Posner, "The Regulation of the Market in Adoption"

        Essay Questions


Chapter 17: What is the Secret to Happiness?

        Arthur Max and Toby Sterling, "Researchers: Choices Spawn Happiness"

        Matthew Herper, "Money Won't Buy You Happiness"

        Steve Ross and Olivia Rosewood, "How to Find True Happiness"

        Jonathon Clements, "Down the Tube: The Sad Stats on Happiness, Money and TV"

        William R. Mattox, Jr., "Does Faith Promote Happiness?"

        John Lanchester, "Pursuing Happiness: Two Scholars Explore the Fragility of Contentment"

        Essay Questions


Chapter 17:  In What Ways Can the Media Influence Society and What Can We Do About It?

        Carrie McLaren, "The Media Doesn't Influence Us...Except When It Does"

        Geena Davis, "Children's Media Skew Gender"

        Katie Strickland, "Media Isn't Feeding Social Ills"

        Ross Gelbspan, "Snowed: Why Is the US News Media Silent on Global Warming?"

        Dan Gainor and Amy Menefee, "CNN's Global Warming Special Typifies Liberal Bias of Climate Coverage"

        Elmar Etzersdorfer and Gernot Sonneck, "Preventing Suicide by Influencing Mass-Media Reporting: The Viennese Experience 1980-1996"

        Essay Questions


Chapter 18: What role does physical appearance play in our lives?

        Keith Morrison, "Face Value Hidden Camera Investigation: Do Looks Really Matter?"

        Daniel Schweimler, "Argentina: Ugly People Strike Back"

        Maggie Stehr, "Study Credits Attractive People with Longer Life"

        Susan Kane, "Preparing Children for Plastic Surgery"

        Scott Reeves, "Good Looks, Good Pay?"

       Henry Wijsbek, "The Pursuit of Beauty"

        Essay Questions







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