The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning about Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims (6th Edition)

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ISBN9780190852719/ 9780190852818
AuthorsLewis Vaughn


In an era of information overload and sensationalism, critical thinking has become an essential skill for navigating the complexities of everyday life. The sixth edition of The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning about Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims is a valuable resource that equips readers with the tools to evaluate information critically and make reasoned judgments. This blog post explores the significance of critical thinking and highlights key aspects of this influential book, offering readers a glimpse into the power of applying critical thinking to ordinary and extraordinary claims.

Understanding Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information to form well-reasoned judgments and decisions. It involves questioning assumptions, examining evidence, identifying biases, and avoiding logical fallacies. In The Power of Critical Thinking, the authors emphasize the importance of cultivating these skills, which are applicable to both ordinary claims we encounter daily and extraordinary claims that challenge conventional wisdom.

The book provides a comprehensive framework for critical thinking, starting with the fundamentals of reasoning and moving on to topics such as cognitive biases, arguments, evidence, and problem-solving techniques. By following this structured approach, readers gain the necessary tools to engage with a wide range of claims effectively.

Applying Critical Thinking to Ordinary Claims

Ordinary claims are assertions that we encounter in our daily lives, ranging from news articles and advertisements to conversations with friends and family. Critical thinking enables us to scrutinize the validity and reliability of these claims. The book offers practical strategies for assessing the credibility of sources, detecting misinformation, and avoiding hasty judgments.

One of the key skills emphasized in the book is the ability to identify cognitive biases that can influence our thinking. By understanding our own biases and those present in the information we consume, we can make more informed decisions. The authors provide numerous examples and exercises to help readers recognize and overcome these biases, promoting rational thinking and sound decision-making.

Evaluating Extraordinary Claims

Extraordinary claims, such as conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, and paranormal phenomena, often lack substantial evidence and rely on emotional appeals. Critical thinking allows us to approach such claims with a skeptical mindset while maintaining an open attitude. The Power of Critical Thinking equips readers with the tools to evaluate extraordinary claims critically.

The book emphasizes the importance of scientific reasoning and the weight of empirical evidence. It teaches readers how to differentiate between scientific claims and pseudoscientific assertions. By understanding the principles of science and the scientific method, readers can assess extraordinary claims based on their plausibility and the evidence supporting them.

Furthermore, the authors stress the significance of logical reasoning when dealing with extraordinary claims. They provide guidance on identifying logical fallacies and rhetorical devices used to manipulate beliefs. Armed with this knowledge, readers can navigate through sensationalized claims and propaganda, enabling them to form well-grounded judgments.


The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning about Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims is a comprehensive guide to developing the crucial skill of critical thinking. By applying the principles and techniques outlined in the book, readers can evaluate ordinary and extraordinary claims with a discerning eye. This enables them to make informed decisions, avoid being misled by misinformation, and contribute to a more rational and evidence-based society. In a world where information is abundant yet often misleading, the power of critical thinking is indispensable for navigating the complexities of our modern age.

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Written by Jordan Farrell

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