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Thinking from A to Z [Hardcover]

Nigel Warburton
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: 50.00
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Book Description

6 April 2000
This text aims to give the reader the power to tell a good from a bad argument. Using witty and topical examples, Nigel Warburton provides the reader with the confidence to tell the difference between a Red Herring and a Straw Man. The second edition includes many new entries and updates the whole text. Entries include: catch-22 contraries; counterexample; domino effect; exception that proves the rule; Ockham's Razor paradox; Socratic fallacy "that's a value judgement"; and truth by adage.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2nd Revised edition edition (6 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041522280X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415222808
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,771,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nigel Warburton (1962 - ). Nigel Warburton is a freelance philosopher and podcaster and bestselling author of several popular introductory Philosophy books including A Little History of Philosophy, Philosophy: The Basics, Thinking from A to Z, Philosophy: The Classics, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction, Philosophy: Basic Readings, Freedom: An Introduction with Readings, and The Art Question. He has also co-edited two books based on his popular Philosophy podcast which he makes with David Edmonds 'Philosophy Bites'. On Twitter he his @philosophybites, and he runs the weblogs Virtual Philosopher and Art and Allusion. His other podcasts include Social Science Bites, Free Speech Bites, Everyday Philosophy, and Philosophy: The Classics - all available on iTunes.

Product Description

About the Author

Nigel Warburton is Senior Lecturer at The Open University and a bestselling author. His other books include Philosophy: The Basics, fourth edition, Philosophy: The Classics, third edition, Philosophy: The Essential Study Guide, The Art Question and Freedom, all published by Routledge.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Proving that a position is false, or at least untenable, by showing that if true it would lead to absurd consequences. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference 14 Aug 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you're looking for something in the same style as Warburton's Philosophy: The Basics (which is highly recommended) you may be a bit disappointed in this book. The style is very much more like a dictionary of thinking. Each entry describes a kind of argument or thought pattern and is cross referenced to others. This makes it a bit difficult to read in a lineary fashion but does aid in it's use as a reference tool. 5 stars for content, 3 stars for format.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful Glossary of Philosophical Terminology 19 Aug 2000
Being able to spot poor reasoning and diversionary tactics such as fallacies, gobbledegook, jargon, pseudo-profundity and smokescreens will put more clout behind your arguments and sharpen your thinking. As an introduction to critical thinking, this delightfully concise little book provides some of the basic tools for clear thinking on any issue. The techniques and topics discussed are transferable and can be applied to any area in which clear thought is required: they have direct applications in most academic disciplines and in any facet of life in which people present reasons and evidence in support of conclusions.
Now in its second edition, this book is a set text for the Open University A211 Philosophy and the Human Situation course. It will give you the power to tell a good from a bad argument. Using witty and topical examples, author Nigel Warburton will enable you to distinguish with confidence between a red herring and a straw man. This new edition updates the whole text and includes many new entries, all listed in alphabetical order. However, the next edition should include the following suggested entries: * ergo et sum * I think, therefore I am * Rene Descartes * logic * Betrand Russell * Lateral thinking * Six Thinking Hats * tautology
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Feels incomplete 27 July 2011
If like me you want to learn critical thinking seperately from philosophy, this is a very good book to buy...have no doubt about that. But it does feel incomplete: in the introduction the reader is told that the entries split into four categories, but the author does not lay out how that happens. It would have been very easy for somebody with his expertise to create a chart showing which categories all the entries went into, but he left it for the reader to work out alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good but not required for OU course 29 Sep 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a really well written and clear. However, I bought it because its given as a set book for the Open university A211 course and its just not necessary - I have barely used it all year and you can just look up the same definitions on the internet. I suspect that the author has some connection to the course and just made it a set book because he could! (BTW If I could rate the A211 course I would give it 6 stars)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brain food 26 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent brain food! You get all those little insights that make a difference. An extremely readable accessory to pick up beside the bed to give the grey cells something to work on before you snuggle down to sleep. Buy it, it's well worth the money and can slip in the pocket too when you're on campus.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A 'Dictionary of Debating Terms.' Nothing More 19 Aug 2009
This book may bill itself as an "Introduction to Critical Thinking." But if that is the case, then by applying this book's own definition of 'Reductio ad Absurdum,' an ordinary dictionary must also be an "Introduction to Writing Novels."

I must admit of course that the ONLY reason why I purchased this book was that it's a required text in my upcoming degree. And when I'm arguing philosophical points in my essays, it will be vital for me to understand and to use the appropriate terminology. But having been 'thinking critically' since I was 17-years-old, forming what I believe are valid and well-reasoned conclusions in a variety of fields, I can say for certain that this book is simply a reference text, nothing more.

By definition, having listed all of the various types of argument, explained them in reference to one another and given several useful examples, ANY book that claims to be an "Introduction to Critical Thinking" must then pose philosophical questions for the reader to consider. Something along the lines of:

"Boxing is a Dangerous Sport Which Should be Banned. Discuss."

The author would then list all of the arguments in favour and opposed to this statement, requiring the reader to try and spot the flawed, biased and emotive arguments, weigh the valid arguments against one another and come to a logical conclusion.

After that, the author would spend the next few pages dissecting all of the arguments with the reader, checking to see if they did indeed define them correctly and give them appropriate weight.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really really good 19 May 2009
By Candy
This is a very good book. I am an International Relations (IR) student and was looking for a book that would aid my argumentation skills. This does far more than I intended it for; in actual fact, it has actually opened up a new interest for me that I thought I'd never be interested in, and that is the manipulation of words and argumentation itself.

Each term is explicated in a very legible manner and each term contains an example of how the argument is implimented. This is vital since it would be virtually impossible to realistically retain the meaning of the term, in addition to how the term must be used/interpreted within a given context.

Within each term, it gives the name of other terms which bears resemblance with other terms in the book. This is good because you can fully master the area of argument/manipulation you wish to in the sense that you grasp the term in question and surrounding terms to which it is related.

In essence, this book is an extremely good introduction. For a real in-depth guide to logic/argumentation, I recommend Harry Gensler's "introduction to Logic"; this book also has a detailed section on Fallacies.

Have a good day.
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