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How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age

How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age

ISBN 9780078038365
Edition 7
Publication Date
Publisher McGraw Hill Higher Education
Author(s)
Overview
FOREWORD vii PREFACE ix Chapter 1Introduction: Close Encounters with the Strange1 THE IMPORTANCE OF WHY 2 BEYOND WEIRD TO THE ABSURD 4 A WEIRDNESS SAMPLER 6 Notes 13 Chapter 2The Possibility of the Impossible14 PARADIGMS AND THE PARANORMAL 15 LOGICAL POSSIBILITY VERSUS PHYSICAL IMPOSSIBILITY 16 THE POSSIBILITY OF ESP 22 THEORIES AND THINGS 24 ON KNOWING THE FUTURE 25 Summary 29 Study Questions 29 Evaluate these Claims 30 Discussion Questions 30 Field Problem 30 Critical Reading and Writing 31 Suggested Readings 31 Notes 32 Chapter 3Arguments Good, Bad, and Weird33 CLAIMS AND ARGUMENTS 34 DEDUCTIVE ARGUMENTS 39 INDUCTIVE ARGUMENTS 42 Enumerative Induction42 Analogical Induction46 Hypothetical Induction (Abduction, or Inference to the Best Explanation)47 INFORMAL FALLACIES 49 Unacceptable Premises49 Begging the Question49 False Dilemma 49 Irrelevant Premises50 Equivocation50 Composition50 Division51 Appeal to the Person51 Genetic Fallacy51 Appeal to Authority51 Appeal to the Masses 52 Appeal to Tradition52 Appeal to Ignorance52 Appeal to Fear53 Straw Man53 Insufficient Premises53 Hasty Generalization53 Faulty Analogy54 False Cause 54 Slippery Slope54 STATISTICAL FALLACIES 55 Misleading Averages55 Missing Values55 Hazy Comparisons56 Summary 56 Study Questions 57 Evaluate these Claims 58 Discussion Questions 59 Field Problem 59 Critical Reading and Writing 60 Suggested Readings 60 Notes 61 Chapter 4Knowledge, Belief, and Evidence62 BABYLONIAN KNOWLEDGE-ACQUISITION TECHNIQUES 63 PROPOSITIONAL KNOWLEDGE 64 REASONS AND EVIDENCE 65 EXPERT OPINION 71 COHERENCE AND JUSTIFICATION 74 SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE 75 THE APPEAL TO FAITH 77 THE APPEAL TO INTUITION 79 THE APPEAL TO MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE 81 ASTROLOGY REVISITED 84 Summary 90 Study Questions 91 Evaluate these Claims 91 Discussion Questions 91 Field Problem 91 Critical Reading and Writing 92 Suggested Readings 92 Notes 93 Chapter 5Looking for Truth in Personal Experience96 SEEMING AND BEING 97 PERCEIVING: WHY YOU CAN’T ALWAYS BELIEVE WHAT YOU SEE 99 Perceptual Constancies99 The Role of Expectation100 Looking for Clarity in Vagueness101 The Blondlot Case105 “Constructing” UFOs 107 REMEMBERING: WHY YOU CAN’T ALWAYS TRUST WHAT YOU RECALL 111 CONCEIVING: WHY YOU SOMETIMES SEE WHAT YOU BELIEVE 118 Denying the Evidence118 Subjective Validation120 Confirmation Bias126 The Availability Error130 The Representativeness Heuristic134 Anthropomorphic Bias136 Against All Odds 139 ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE: WHY TESTIMONIALS CAN’T BE TRUSTED 142 The Variable Nature of Illness144 The Placebo Effect146 Overlooked Causes147 SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE: WHY CONTROLLED STUDIES CAN BE TRUSTED 148 Summary 150 Study Questions 151 Evaluate these Claims 151 Discussion Questions 152 Field Problem 152 Critical Reading and Writing 152 Suggested Readings 153 Notes 153 Chapter 6Science and Its Pretenders158 SCIENCE AND DOGMA 159 SCIENCE AND SCIENTISM 160 SCIENTIFIC METHODOLOGY 161 CONFIRMING AND REFUTING HYPOTHESES 166 CRITERIA OF ADEQUACY 171 Testability172 Fruitfulness174 Scope177 Simplicity178 Conservatism180 CREATIONISM, EVOLUTION, AND CRITERIA OF ADEQUACY 181 Scientific Creationism183 Intelligent Design191 PARAPSYCHOLOGY 197 Summary 211 Study Questions 212 Evaluate these Claims 213 Discussion Questions 213 Field Problem 213 Critical Reading and Writing 213 Suggested Readings 214 Notes 215 Chapter 7Case Studies in the Extraordinary220 THE SEARCH FORMULA 222 Step 1: State the Claim223 Step 2: Examine the Evidence for the Claim223 Step 3: Consider Alternative Hypotheses 224 Step 4: Rate, According to the Criteria of Adequacy, Each Hypothesis 225 HOMEOPATHY 227 INTERCESSORY PRAYER 231 UFO ABDUCTIONS 234 COMMUNICATING WITH THE DEAD 247 NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES 252 GHOSTS 267 CONSPIRACY THEORIES 275 Summary 287 Study Questions 288 Evaluate these Claims 288 Field Problem 289 Critical Reading and Writing 289 Suggested Readings 290 Notes 290 Chapter 8Relativism, Truth, and Reality295 WE EACH CREATE OUR OWN REALITY 297 REALITY IS SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED 301 REALITY IS CONSTITUTED BY CONCEPTUAL SCHEMES 306 THE RELATIVIST’S PETARD 311 FACING REALITY 313 Summary 315 Study Questions 316 Evaluate these Claims 316 Discussion Questions 316 Field Problem 316 Critical Reading and Writing 317 Suggested Readings 318 Notes 318 CREDITS C-1 INDEX I -1

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