First comes clear thinking—then comes clear writing.
This handbook distills the essentials of critical thinking into an ideal supplementary textbook for introductory philosophy and composition courses.
A summary and guide to the art of reasoning well, this book is a concise aid to reasoning in daily life. Using everyday examples and an extraordinary clarity of presentation, this Pocket Guide allows you to learn all the basic skills of how to reason well in a short, readable introduction. It is also the basic text for how to think clearly enough to write well. The Pocket Guide to Critical Thinking is a perfect supplement for any course, for self-study, or as a reference when writing.
New in this 5th edition!
Chapters on reasoning in the sciences that provide the basics for students to begin the study of any science: explanations, experiments, the scientific methods, and models and theories.
"The Pocket Guide’s overall combination of accessibility, rigor and succinctness make it stand out from the crowded field of critical thinking texts, and the material new to this edition makes it an even more valuable resource for the teaching of critical thinking. This book should prove useful to instructors of critical thinking courses who are looking for a short text on critical thinking to supplement their own homework and exam materials as well as to any philosophy teacher looking for a relatively condensed treatment of critical thinking to recommend or assign to their students."—Timothy G. Murphy, SUNY Potsdam. Click here for the entire review in Teaching Philosophy
"I have used Richard Epstein's Pocket Guide to Critical Thinking in all of my introduction to philosophy and ethics courses. All of my students have found this book quite useful in becoming better at argumentation in both class discussions and writing assignments. Some students have even explicitly expressed that this book has helped them in other non-philosophy courses (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics, sociology, political science, and law). I highly recommend this book to any instructor who is looking for helping students understand critical thinking skills in the most accessible way possible." —Arsalan Memon, Lewis University
Read a review of our textsfrom Logic and Logical Philosophy.
See our Free Critical Thinking Supplements.
Critical Thinking (Richard L. Epstein)
This is a good example of a critical thinking textbook written by someone with a background in mathematics and logic, with a solid familiarity with the philosophical literature on logic and argumentation, who is trying to lay out foundational principles for good argumentative reasoning.
It's designed for classroom use and is one of the best of its type on the market, though it has nothing to say about the psychology of human reasoning or cognitive biases, and nothing to say about argumentation from the perspective of classical rhetoric. I've used this text in some of my classes.
Fundamentally it's not about persuasion per se, but rather the principles of genuinely good rational persuasion. Its focus is applied logic in the broader sense of "principles of good reasoning".
Includes sections on the nature of propositions and arguments, criteria for a good argument, rules for repairing arguments, elements of propositional logic, fallacies, counterarguments, rules for reasoning about analogies, cause and effect, generalizations, evaluating more complex arguments and composing good arguments. Has appendices on using examples in reasoning, truth-tables in propositional logic, Aristotelian logic, and diagramming arguments.
Lots of examples and exercises, and lots of cartoons created specifically for the book.
Epstein has been writing about foundational issues in logic, argumentation and critical thinking for many years, and I've learned a lot from his books. For instructors and people with an interest in a more robust philosophical defense of the definitions and principles he employs in this text, I recommend his book Five Ways of Saying "Therefore", which in many ways is the philosophical companion piece to the textbook.