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27 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Competent but flawed introduction to critical thinking, 26 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Rulebook for Arguments (Paperback)
Weston has produced a competent (though very basic) introduction to the subject that can easily be digested in a single sitting. However, is it really necessary for the author to make his own views on contentious subjects so very clear?

For example, on p. 82 in the context of the abortion debate, he asserts as irrefutable facts that `fetuses are not the same as babies' and that `the term "murder" unfairly imputes evil intentions to well-intentioned people'. But these claims are themselves mere assertions, and would need to be defended by reasoned argument. It is unfortunate that the author of a book on critical thinking and reasoning skills is unable to follow his own advice.

Likewise, the author falls foul of an appeal to a questionable authority on p. 29. He asserts that the `world scientific community is now nearly unanimous that [climate change] is occurring and needs to be addressed.' His footnoted source for this is the highly controversial 2007 IPCC report on Climate Change.

Whether or not the reader agrees with the author's views on these matters, it is a jarring distraction (especially given the subject of the book) to be confronted repeatedly by questionable assertions of fact. The prominence of the author's own personal opinions mars an otherwise useful work.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Jun 2011, 17:46:39 BST
MJ Willis says:
...or indeed the commentators own personal views. How far down that line of thought do you want to go? The point on abortion was well made and demonstrates well how emotive language clouds objective reasoning. Religious and single-issue groups especially use emotive terms to suck people into an argument that is impossible to win.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2012, 20:25:08 BST
Last edited by the author on 13 Apr 2012, 20:29:47 BST
Reuben says:
Is it emotive terms or lack of obscuration that makes an argument impossible to win against?

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Sep 2013, 21:02:29 BST
There are very good and well thought out objective reasoning's against abortion which does not come from any religious basing. These have been completely ignored by the author, which ultimately gives the impression of personal bias. Very good review djn@araxis.com, I feel more or less the same about this book.
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