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Critical & Creative Thinking - OER & More Resources: Free OER Textbooks

Understanding, for better or worse, starts with entertaining the idea that something is true. The brain tries to make thinking easier by creating heuristics, but sometimes these are inaccurate. Therefore you must be vigilant in evaluating any assumption.

An Introduction To Reasoning (CC BY-NC-SA license)

Detailed Contents (with links to Parts and Chapters)

Preface & Notes

Notes & Bibliography

Real-World Reasoning (RW)

Classifying 1 (flag words; reasoning vs. non-reasoning)

Classifying 2 (justifying belief vs. explaining; inferring vs. arguing)

Analyzing 1 (propositions; conjunctions)

Analyzing 2 (standard form; rewriting sentences; things to omit)

Reasoning Substitutes (various ways not to reason, or to short-circuit reason-giving, by claiming the reasons are obvious, pointing imprecisely at reasons, shifting the burden of proof, appealing to ignorance, abusing flag words, begging the question)

Problems With Meaning – (imprecise language, euphemism, metaphor, vagueness, weasel words, ambiguity)

Two Criteria Of Evaluation – (soundness; valid-strong-weak; ignoring confidence indicators)

Everyday Inferences – Sources, Character, Motives (sources, character, motives: argument from authority; various ad hominems) 

Everyday Inferences – Emotional Reasons For Practical Conclusions (Decision-making)

Everyday Inferences – Reasoning With Properties, Parts, & Relations (Identity/difference, part-whole, symmetricality, chain (with relations), transitivity) 

Everyday Inferences – Reasoning With Classes & Propositions (chain (with classes), instantiation, affirming the antecedent, chain (with propositions), elimination)

Warrants – (Adding warrants/missing premises, sincerity & charity)

Diagramming - Basic (Standard form and diagramming of single-target reasoning) 

Diagramming - Complex (Multiple targets, either from a single set of reasons or in sequence)

Diagramming - Dialogue(Objections, objections to objections, support for objections)

Diagramming - Very Long Passages 

Propositional & Categorical Reasoning (P&C)
Validity & Non-Validity (Note: there is a section on valid-strong-weak (and soundness) in RW's Two Criteria)

Logical Structure Of Propositions (Negations, Conjunctions, Disjunctions, Conditionals)

Necessary & Sufficient Conditions

Big 8 Method (Single-step derivation using 8 basic rules)

Method Of Derivation (Multi-step derivation)

Truth Tables & Truth Trees 
Categorical Reasoning (Very rudimentary introduction)

Inductive & Scientific Reasoning (I&S)
Valid, Strong, Weak (Note: there's a separate section on valid-not valid in P&C, and a quick section on valid-strong-weak and soundness in RW's Basic Evaluation.)

Causation, Causal Explanation & Causal Inferences (Causation & Causal Explanation, Inference to a Cause, Inference to an Effect)

Analogy & Inference To The Best Explanation (Hypothesis development when at a loss)

Experimental Methods (Controlled, Randomized, Prospective, Retrospective, Natural) 

Mill's Methods

Induction (Generalization, Instantiation and Induction to a Particular)

Problems In Induction (Problem of Induction, New Riddle of Induction, Lottery Paradox. Philosophical appendix - No Exercises.)

Association Diagrams & Cross-Tabulations (Association, Cross-Tabulations, Present-Present Fallacy)

Explanation-Building (including INUS Conditions)

Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking (CC by Attribution - most open license)

Chapter 1: Reconstructing and analyzing arguments

1.1 What is an argument?

1.2 Identifying arguments

1.3 Arguments vs. explanations

1.4 More complex argument structures

1.5 Using your own paraphrases of premises and conclusions to reconstruct arguments in standard form

1.6 Validity

1.7 Soundness

1.8 Deductive vs. inductive arguments

1.9 Arguments with missing premises

1.10 Assuring, guarding, and discounting

1.11 Evaluative language

1.12 Evaluating a real-life argument

Chapter 2: Formal methods of evaluating arguments

2.1 What is a formal method of evaluation and why do we need them?

2.2 Propositional logic and the four basic truth functional connectives

2.3 Negation and disjunction

2.4 Using parentheses to translate complex sentences

2.5 “Not both” and “neither nor”

2.6 The truth table test of validity

2.7 Conditionals

2.8 “Unless”

2.9 Material equivalence

2.10 Tautologies, contradictions, and contingent statements

2.11 Proofs and the 8 valid forms of inference

2.12 How to construct proofs

2.13 Short review of propositional logic

2.14 Categorical logic

2.15 The Venn test of validity for immediate categorical inferences

2.16 Universal statements and existential commitment

2.17 Venn validity for categorical syllogisms

Chapter 3: Evaluating inductive arguments and probabilistic and statistical fallacies

3.1 Inductive arguments and statistical generalizations

3.2 Inference to the best explanation and the seven explanatory virtues

3.3 Analogical arguments

3.4 Causal arguments

3.5 Probability

3.6 The conjunction fallacy

3.7 The base rate fallacy

3.8 The small numbers fallacy

3.9 Regression to the mean fallacy

3.10 Gambler’s fallacy

Chapter 4: Informal fallacies

4.1 Formal vs. informal fallacies

4.1.1 Composition fallacy

4.1.2 Division fallacy

4.1.3 Begging the question fallacy

4.1.4 False dichotomy

4.1.5 Equivocation

4.2 Slippery slope fallacies

4.2.1 Conceptual slippery slope

4.2.2 Causal slippery slope

4.3 Fallacies of relevance

4.3.1 Ad hominem

4.3.2 Straw man

4.3.3 Tu quoque

4.3.4 Genetic

4.3.5 Appeal to consequences

4.3.6 Appeal to authority

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