Critical Thinking: The Basics: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Critical Thinking: The Basics

1st Edition

By Stuart Hanscomb


252 pages

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pub: 2016-11-29
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Critical Thinking: The Basics is an accessible and engaging introduction to the field of critical thinking, drawing on philosophy, communication and psychology. Emphasising its relevance to decision making (in personal, professional and civic life), academic literacy and personal development, this book supports the reader in understanding and developing the knowledge and skills needed to avoid poor reasoning, reconstruct and evaluate arguments, and engage constructively in dialogues.

Topics covered include:

    • the relationship between critical thinking, emotions and the psychology of persuasion
    • the role of character dispositions such as open-mindedness, courage and perseverance
    • argument identification and reconstruction
    • fallacies and argument evaluation.

With discussion questions/exercises and suggestions for further reading at the end of each main chapter, this book is an essential read for students approaching the field of critical thinking for the first time, and for the general reader wanting to improving their thinking skills and decision making abilities.


Critical Thinking: The Basics covers the basics engagingly and without unnecessary jargon, provides lots of well-chosen examples and practice exercises, and, unlike most critical thinking textbooks, explains the theoretical background to the recent rise of critical thinking in education. Justine Kingsbury, University of Waikato, New Zealand

This is an excellent contribution to the growing literature on critical thinking. The discussion on causal reasoning, heuristics and biases, framing, social power, metacognition, and self-deception are timely and valuable. Critical Thinking: The Basics helps to bring together the literature on the psychology and sociology of human judgement with the philosophical art of argument analysis. Ted Poston, University of South Alabama, USA

This text is loaded with references, explanations, history and examples from the development and enhancement of the understanding of critical thinking. It offers a coverage of the basics of critical thinking and also provides a sense of how the field and individual expectations of critical thinking are changing. Charles Blatz, Professor Emeritus at University of Toledo, USA.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Waking up to bad arguments

Chapter 1: Rationality, biases and emotions

Chapter 2: Critical Thinking and Dispositions

Chapter 3: Arguments and argument reconstruction

Chapter 4: Argument forms and fallacies

Chapter 5: Arguments referring to expertise, power, and message source

Chapter 6: Causal arguments, generalisation, arguments from consequences and slippery slope arguments.

Chapter 7: Arguments from analogy

Chapter 8: Further fallacies




About the Author

Stuart Hanscomb is a lecturer in Philosophy & Communication at the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow, UK

About the Series

The Basics

The Basics is a highly successful series of accessible guidebooks which provide an overview of the fundamental principles of a subject area in a jargon-free and undaunting format.

Intended for students approaching a subject for the first time, the books both introduce the essentials of a subject and provide an ideal springboard for further study. With over 50 titles spanning subjects from Artificial Intelligence to Women’s Studies, The Basics are an ideal starting point for students seeking to understand a subject area.

Each text comes with recommendations for further study and gradually introduces the complexities and nuances within a subject.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: