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How to Think About Weird Things : Critical Thinking

How to Think About Weird Things : Critical Thinking - 4th edition

ISBN13: 978-0072879537

Cover of How to Think About Weird Things : Critical Thinking 4TH 05 (ISBN 978-0072879537)
ISBN13: 978-0072879537
ISBN10: 007287953X
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 4TH 05
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company
Published: 2005
International: No

List price: $45.50

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How to Think About Weird Things : Critical Thinking - 4TH 05 edition

ISBN13: 978-0072879537

Theodore Schrick and Lewis Vaughn

ISBN13: 978-0072879537
ISBN10: 007287953X
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 4TH 05
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company

Published: 2005
International: No
Summary

The course is called Critical Thinking and is found in the Philosophy and/or English departments. This text serves well as a supplemental text in critical thinking, logic, introduction to philosophy, philosophy of science, epistemology, metaphysics, introduction to psychology, anomalistic psychology, perception and cognition, as well as any introductory science course. It has been used in all of the courses mentioned above as well as introductory biology, introductory physics, and introductory chemistry courses. It could also serve as a main text for courses in evaluation of the paranormal, philosophical implications of the paranormal, occult beliefs, and pseudoscience.

New to This Edition

  • A new chapter on logic and informal fallacies replaces the previous edition's Chapter 6.
  • Expanded coverage of perceptual and cognitive errors appears in Chapter 3.
  • Additional exercises, discussion questions, and field problems complement each chapter.
  • A revised discussion of logical, causal, and technological possibility appears in Chapter 2.
  • Updated sections address evolution, parapsychology, cold reading, and near death experiences (in Chapters 7 and 8).
  • A new section on spontaneous human combustion appears in Chapter 8.
  • New boxes address transcendental meditation, the Sokal hoax, the Loch Ness Monster, the Bermuda Triangle, and Big Foot.

Features

  • Includes explanations of 34 principles of knowledge, reasoning, and evidence that students can use to enhance their problem-solving skills and sharpen their judgment
  • Presents a comprehensive treatment of claims concerning the nature of truth, including several forms of relativism and subjectivism
  • Discusses more than 50 paranormal, supernatural, or mysterious phenomena, including ghosts, ESP, psychokinesis, UFO abductions, channeling, and parapsychology.
  • Details a step-by-step procedure for evaluating any extraordinary claim (the SEARCH formula), and applies it to several popular weird claims
  • Includes numerous boxes with details on various offbeat beliefs, assessments by both true believers and skeptics of extraordinary claims, and reports of relevant scientific research
  • Offers a detailed discussion of the characteristics, methodology, and limitations of science, illustrated with analyses of the claims of parapsychology and creationism
  • Provides in-depth treatment of various kinds of evidence appealed to in relation to health issues, helping students assess any health claim, including popular ones in "alternative" medicine and "holistic" health
  • Provides study questions at the end of each chapter

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface

Chapter 1. Introduction: Close Encounters with the Strange

The Importance of Why
Beyond Weird to the Absurd
A Weirdness Sampler
Notes

Chapter 2. The Possibility of the Impossible

Paradigms and the Paranormal
Logical Possibility Versus Physical Impossibility
The Possibility of ESP
Theories and Things
On Knowing the Future
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 3. Looking for Truth in Personal Experience

Seeming and Being
Perceiving: True or False?
Perceptual Constancies
The Role of Expectation
Looking for Clarity in Vagueness
The Blondlot Case
"Constructing" UFOs
Remembering: Do We Revise the Past?
Judging: The Habit of Unwarranted Assumptions
Against All Odds
The Limits of Personal Experience
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Claims
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 4. Relativism, Truth and Reality

We Each Create Our Own Reality
Reality is Socially Constructed
Reality is Constituted by Conceptual Schemes
The Relativist's Petard
Facing Reality
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 5. Knowledge, Belief, and Evidence

Babylonian Knowledge-Acquisition Techniques
Propositional Knowledge
Reasons and Evidence
Expert Opinion
Coherence and Justification
Sources of Knowledge
The Appeal to Faith
The Appeal to Intuition
The Appeal to Mystical Experience
Astrology Revisited
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 6. Arguments Good, Bad, and Weird

Denying the Evidence
Confirmation Bias
The Availability Error
The Representativeness Heuristic
Claims and Arguments
Deductive Arguments
Inductive Arguments
Informal Fallacies
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 7. Science and Its Pretenders

Science and Dogma
Science and Scientism
Scientific Methodology
Confirming and Confuting Hypotheses
Criteria of Adequacy
Testability
Fruitfulness
Scope
Simplicity
Conservatism
Creationism, Evolution, and Criteria of Adequacy Parapsychology
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Writing
Notes

Chapter 8. How to Assess a "Miracle Cure"

Personal Experience
The Variable Nature of Illness
The Placebo Effect
Overlooked Causes
The Doctor's Evidence
The Appeal to Tradition
The Reasons of Science
Medical Research
Types of Studies
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims
Discussion Questions
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings
Notes

Chapter 9. Case Studies in the Extraordinary

The Search Formula
Step 1:State the Claim
Step 2:Examine the Evidence for the Claim
Step 3:Consider Alternative Hypotheses
Step 4:Rate, According to the Criteria of Adequacy, Each Hypothesis
Homeopathy
Dowsing
UFO Abductions
Communicating with the Dead
Near-Death Experiences
Ghosts
Study Questions
Evaluate These Claims by Using the Search Method
Field Problem
Critical Reading and Writing
Suggested Readings

Notes
Epilogue
Credits
Index

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