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Tags critical thinking , recommended books

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Old 22nd October 2012, 08:28 PM   #1
Character Assassin
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Know any good books on critical thinking?

Do you have any suggestions on any books I should read to improve my critical thinking skills?
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Old 22nd October 2012, 10:11 PM   #2
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The Demon-Haunted World - Carl Sagan
How To Think About Weird Things - Schick & Vaugh
The Bible
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Old 23rd October 2012, 12:03 AM   #3
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All depends on what sort of critical thinking you need to improve. You could look at books by James Randi.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...andi%2Caps%2C0

Or maybe you need to look at a site like this one
http://www.fallacyfiles.org/taxonomy.html?ref=nf

Or how to win arguments
http://www.wikihow.com/Win-Informal-...ts-and-Debates
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Old 23rd October 2012, 10:22 AM   #4
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One of my favorites for critically examining stats and other mathematical claims: http://www.amazon.com/How-Lie-Statis.../dp/0393310728

It's also available in PDF form here: http://theinformationdj.com/wp-conte...rrell-Huff.pdf
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—Mark Twain
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Old 23rd October 2012, 10:59 AM   #5
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Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 11:13 AM   #6
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The Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved makes an excellent introduction without looking like it.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 07:01 PM   #7
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Oldie but goldie: Straight and Crooked Thinking by Robert H. Thouless

You can find it at Neglected Books: http://neglectedbooks.com/?p=336
I like the review: Although there are many other texts on applying logic to argument, Straight and Crooked Thinking remains one of the most succinct and practically-applicable books ever written. One blogger named it as his favorite book of all time, describing it as “a concise work of supreme genius.”
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Old 24th October 2012, 06:41 AM   #8
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Bad Science by Ben Goldacre is pretty good.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 25th October 2012, 05:23 AM   #9
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I started with Demon-Haunted World by Sagan. I also found Fads and Fallacies by Martin Gardner to be a great start as well. It's a little dated, but many of the methods and claims used by psuedoscientists it describes are still quite relevant today.

My favorite dealing with math is Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and It's Consequences by John Allen Paulos.
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Old 25th October 2012, 05:50 AM   #10
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Someone has already suggested this, but spelt an author's name wrong:

How To Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking For A New Age

by Theodore Schick, Jr and Lewis Vaughn.

This is a tremendous book, clear and a pleasure to read. You can really learn to use your brain effectively by studying this book.

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Old 25th October 2012, 09:26 PM   #11
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My apologies for incorrectly spelling the authors name! But yes, an amazing book!
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Old 16th November 2012, 01:05 AM   #12
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Thinking fast and slow - Daniel Kahneman
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Old 16th November 2012, 04:30 AM   #13
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One I continually recommend is A Rulebook for Arguments - separating your premises from your conclusion and all the good basic stuff.
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Old 17th November 2012, 06:43 PM   #14
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Another oldie but goldie:
Quote:
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is a history of popular folly by Scottish journalist Charles Mackay, first published in 1841.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraor...ness_of_Crowds
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Old 17th November 2012, 07:20 PM   #15
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The Duck that Won the Lottery (and 99 Other Bad Arguments) by Julian Baggini.

http://www.amazon.com/review/RQKP416VQ3GBM
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Old 24th November 2012, 08:29 AM   #16
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'Against All Gods' by A C Grayling. I had it recommended. It's really clear, unlike some of his other work which my reader and I have tried to follow, but gave up! It's quite a short book too.

'The Magic of Reality' by Richard Dawkins. this is definitely aimed at youngsters and is therefore straightforward and clear. As it's written by RD, I have of course decided to read it. (Above-mentioned reader reads a few pages each time as a change from the novel we're on.)
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Old 24th November 2012, 12:33 PM   #17
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A golden oldie, "Lateral Thinking" by DeBono.
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Old 24th November 2012, 04:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Orphia Nay View Post
The Duck that Won the Lottery (and 99 Other Bad Arguments) by Julian Baggini.

http://www.amazon.com/review/RQKP416VQ3GBM
How much did the duck win?
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Old 24th November 2012, 10:47 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by asydhouse View Post
Someone has already suggested this, but spelt an author's name wrong:

How To Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking For A New Age

by Theodore Schick, Jr and Lewis Vaughn.

This is a tremendous book, clear and a pleasure to read. You can really learn to use your brain effectively by studying this book.

I ended up receiving this book for free and I really enjoyed it.
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Old 25th November 2012, 07:22 AM   #20
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Thomas Kida Don't Believe Everything You Think
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Old 17th June 2013, 07:06 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Hokulele Mom View Post
Thomas Kida Don't Believe Everything You Think
X2. Reading it for a critical thinking class.
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Old 18th June 2013, 02:21 AM   #22
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Sagan's support for the Drake eqn as probabilification of extraterrestrial intelligence disqualifies him as a skeptical/critical thinker. A grade-schooler should be able to decimate that argument.

I don't think books that demolish specific claims, like the Bermuda Triangle have sufficient generality to be of much value in gaining critical thinking skills. A 5 page synopsis of a dozen such books might be more useful. OTOH I expect that some of these books are a disconnected set of homilies tha tpoint to no general principles either.

FWIW I did enjoy Paulos ' Innumeracy: ...' mentioned above.

So I'll suggest the books noted above on debate skills and general critical thinking might be a better place to begin. Formal debate is a bit different from logical argumentation, but close enough to apply widely.

Parsing in argument in detail is a required skill, and practice is critical. Parsing political arguments (see your favorite cable news network for examples) is useful practice. I find some politicians statements easier to deal with since they are often presenting positions and not as often rebutting to vague and uncertain positions.
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Old 18th June 2013, 02:17 PM   #23
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The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins, especially for children/teenagers.

Originally Posted by stevea View Post
Sagan's support for the Drake eqn as probabilification of extraterrestrial intelligence disqualifies him as a skeptical/critical thinker. A grade-schooler should be able to decimate that argument.
One strike and you are out?

I think Sagan did worse when he went doomsday about oil fields in Kuwait, very likely motivated by political reasons.

But overall he was a good guy.
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Old 24th June 2013, 01:49 AM   #24
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Richard Lewontin's collection It Ain't Necessarily So - in particular The Inferiority Complex, the first essay/review of Stephen Jay Gould's book The Mismeasure of Man.
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Old 25th June 2013, 02:06 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
The Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved makes an excellent introduction without looking like it.
Seconded.

This was an early influence on me and I think it's something I might reread.

A
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Old 26th June 2013, 12:13 PM   #26
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Here is a good place to start:

http://www.skepdic.com/ticriticalthinking.html


I can't recommend Bob's dictionary enough. When I first came across his site, I was looking for info on the Mayan "prophecies".

I quickly became an addict and read the whole thing over a few weeks. I learned more than I ever thought I could from a single source. It is also how I got introduced to Mr. Randi's foundation and forum.


His replies to e-mails are also priceless for their entertainment value.
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Old 26th June 2013, 12:39 PM   #27
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I recommend Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things.
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Old 25th July 2013, 11:43 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Hokulele Mom View Post
Thomas Kida Don't Believe Everything You Think
+1, it's outstanding. And it's written in such a way that it helps the reader to be more aware of areas they may fall prone to bad thinking.

IMHO some of the books being listed in this thread may exhibit critical thinking, but they have little to do with teaching it.
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