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The Logic of Real Arguments Paperback – 23 Sep 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (23 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521654815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521654814
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 380,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"As an introduction to logic which prepares students to use the discipline in future studies, Real Arguments has no serious competitors." Informal Logic

Book Description

This new and expanded edition of The Logic of Real Arguments explains a distinctive method for analysing and evaluating arguments, using examples ranging from newspaper articles to extracts from classic texts. It will be valuable for students in a wide range of disciplines including philosophy, law and the social sciences.

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We learn most of what we know from teachers and experts of one kind and another and this is not surprising in a highly specialised modern society. Read the first page
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Dec. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a very, very good guide to spotting arguments in real texts. I could see this being an invaluable aid for critical reading classes. Rather than giving a series of deductive rules of inference, and some rather irrelevant toy examples, Fisher presents *real* texts and gives the reader a guide on how to analyse them, using a series of clearly laid out heuristics. He does this by giving the reader the heuristics and the text, giving them a little helping hand, and then also providing a fully marked up version of the text with the arguments clearly identified (or, when this is not clear, an indication of why this would be.)
I find it odd that the other review here found the book impossible to read, especially as the references to Copi and Cohen are neither numerous in the text nor necessary for its comprehension. The only book I can think of which actually does this is Doug Walton's "Argument Structure: A Pragmatic Theory", which while being theoretically interesting does not actually present applications of its ideas to real texts.
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7 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was extremely disappointed with the approach taken by the author of this book. I found myself relying on Copi & Cohen's 'Introduction to Logic' in order to make sense of some of the author's statements. I think that in an attempt to make this book accessible, the author has only created a vague and deeply unhelpful textbook. Not recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
Bridging Logical and Real Arguments 3 April 2000
By Jaap Kamps - Published on
Format: Paperback
The book starts with a beautiful argument from Galileo's Two New Sciences (refuting Aristotelian belief on the influence of gravity on bodies of different weight). This is what makes this book far beyond the ordinary: it contains a wealth of instructive examples about the natural world, about society, about policy, about philosophy, and so on. These are not the usual made-up examples, but REAL ARGUMENTS: ranging from numerous samples of scientific argumentation to some more mundane arguments from newspapers. The author further introduces an informal method for analyzing (extracting and evaluating) arguments as they occur in ordinary language texts. The book not only offers an accessible introduction to critical analysis of theoretical argumentation occurring in informal texts. It is also of interest for logicians who want to have a better understanding of the considerations involved in analyzing unformalized arguments. This amounts, in my opinion, to a successful marriage between the insights from logic and the demands from reasoning patterns as they occur in substantive texts.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Logic of real arguments 11 Mar. 2008
By E. Morozov - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've bought this book after reading Alec Fisher's "Critical thinking" which i liked very much. "The Logic..." is not an easy reading for me as it requires a lot of thinking about philosophical issues but very useful as it teaches how to tackle long and difficult arguments. I believe that is the main purpose of the book and if someone likes that sort of reading then this book is a good choice.
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Not very readable 27 Feb. 2012
By PerpetuallyHuman - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had this book assigned in a class and the teacher, with avid support from the class, decided three weeks in to cut it out of the syllabus for the rest of the semester. My classmates and I all found the book rather difficult to understand and the format not at all intuitive to the way we learn. Maybe if you already had a background in philosophy or argument analysis the book would be more useful, but the arguments that were published for analysis were really complicated and required quite a bit of background knowledge that we didn't have.
10 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Where is the Logic? 31 Oct. 2010
By J Yu - Published on
Format: Paperback
There is not much logic in this book. The author picked several social and economical thesis he personally loves or hates, and supports and attacks them under the guise of logical analysis.

The first example is from Thomas Malthus. The author destroy Malthus' arguments by showing how the premises *could* be wrong. That seems to be a really easy job, but the author find it necessary to quote Engels 3 times to corroborate himself. In the end, he suggests that, this thesis is wrong, because it has "always been welcome in the battle of the rich against the poor". The last word is "We can hardly leave this subject without also noting that Malthus always strongly opposed contraception. Such is the logic of man!"

I had to recheck the title of the book, and make sure it's about logic.

Now, if the author applies the same stringent standard to later examples, at least he would be consistent. No social and economical arguments could withstand. But that's not the case in this book. For example the author's verdict on Marx's argument is "Marx's reasoning is hard to fault *however we construe it* and that is partly what makes it a fascinating nugget of reasoning". The author arrived to that conclusion after only 2 pages of analysis, which is apparently enough to cover all ways to construe it.
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