I figured this might be a good place to ask.

I'm having trouble finding a good general book on the topic that's still in print.

I've found quite a few books that look like they might cover the topic but it's hard to tell from the blurb on Amazon.

Like this: Bad Thoughts: A Guide to Clear Thinking (Jamie Whyte)

Any suggestions welcome.

Thanks

Tags: book, fallacies

Views: 6

Replies to This Discussion

I enjoyed Thomas Kida's Don't Believe Everything You Think.

I am trying very hard to understand why intelligent people believe really goofy things, so I'll be interested in other people's suggestions on this topic, too.
The Kida book is still in print and available on Amazon.
Well I've bought and am half way through Bad Thoughts: A Guide to Clear Thinking (Jamie Whyte)

It's a short, humorous and very entertaining read. The author uses religion as a an early target for critical thinking - which explains some of the more negative reviews on Amazon. The author is clearly British and the odd phrase may baffle foreigners.

It's definitely a good introduction to the topic and has left me wanting more. So I've bitten the bullet and ordered a much dryer looking (and much more expensive) book - which I'll report back on in due course.

I'm still interested in anything else people turn up though.
I've noticed with some amusement that when looking at books on critical thinking that have broadly positive reviews, the negative reviews are strongly themed - for example you see lots of:

"...it's undermined because the examples of weak arguments that are most frequently attacked demonstrate the authors liberal/anti-religion bias".

Such views seem to me to be examples of the "Circumstantial Ad Hominem" fallacy themselves, an issue probably addressed in the book they are criticizing :-)

So why are these comments there?

- Does a love of logic, truth and supportable argument CAUSE a liberal/atheistic world view in the authors?
- Does a liberals/atheist world view have the EFFECT of attracting authors to the field?
- Are the authors unbiased but use theistic/conservative targets because they're easy meat?
- Are the authors unbiased but use theistic/conservative targets because they're widely accepted/known?
- Do liberals/atheists complain less when their sacred cows are slain?
- Is there a liberal/atheist cabal plotting to control minds using logic, truth and supportable argument?

I quite like that last one - the answer might yes and I'm part of it :-)
Kida's book is good.
Also:
Nonsense by Robert J. Gula
Historians' Fallacies by Robert H. Fischer
And when you're helping theists, it's always good to have a copy of Exegetical Fallacies by D. A. Carson.
You might also want to check out How Mumbo-jumbo Conquered the World: A Short History of Modern Delusions by Francis Wheen.
OK - I now have 3 very different recommendations, in no particular order:

1. Bad Thoughts: A Guide to Clear Thinking (Jamie Whyte): An amusing and interesting read, certainly a good introduction.

2. How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic (Madsen Pirie): A small hardback with an alphabetised list of every fallacy, with good examples. Very dense and presupposes that you know the fallacy name in order to use it for reference, but still excellent in small doses.

3. Attacking Faulty Reason: A Practical guide to Fallacy Free Argument...: Make sure this isn't the abridged version. This is the mother load. It begins with the structure of what makes a good argument and best practice in terms of conduct. It then goes on to list the fallacies within a structure dictated by their type/nature rather than name making it by far the best reference text that I've come across. This is a dryer and more academic work (there are exercises at the end of each chapter) and it's easily the largest and most challenging of the three, but certainly worth the effort of reading (I needed a good coffee per chapter). It's a pretty expensive book by comparison and harder to get hold of compared to the other two.


So - all three are worth having but "Attacking Faulty Reason" is one I really wouldn't want to be without and will keep going back to.

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