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 both to academic literacy and to decision making in a range of contexts, this book introduces and explains the knowledge, methods and skills needed to identify and 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 self-knowledge
  • argument identification and reconstruction
  • fallacies and argument evaluation.

This second edition has been revised and updated throughout, and includes an additional chapter on the relationship between critical thinking and emotions. There are also new sections on concepts such as the ‘experiential mind’ and ‘need for cognitive closure’, and contemporary examples drawn from issues including conspiracy theories, the pandemic, and misuses of social media.

With updated and expanded 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.

Introduction  1. Rationality, biases and emotions  2. Emotions  3. Critical Thinking and Dispositions  4. Arguments and argument reconstruction  5. Argument forms and fallacies  6. Arguments referring to expertise, power, and message source (I)  7. Arguments referring to expertise, power, and message source (II)  8. Causal arguments, generalisations, arguments from consequences and slippery slope arguments  10. Further fallacies  Conclusion.  Glossary  References  Index