PHI 103 Documentary Assignment Notes


Watch Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. While watching take note of the intended point of the film and analyze its argument. What do you think the film makers want you to think after watching their film? Note: this may be different from what individuals in the film say. As you watch take notes on the way the film makes this point. Pay attention to, music, dramatic effects, camera work, and other attempts to influence your emotion. Use the readings as tools to analyze the film. Do the filmmakers follow the rules from “A Workbook for Arguments”? Do they use any of the bad forms of arguments discussed in “Nonsense”?
Once you have finished the film write out a short (around 150 word) summary of the film, and what you took to be the main point. In addition write a review of the “argument” (around 150 words). Your review should assess the filmmaker according to the rules we have learned in class. Finally write a quick (around 50 word) reflection on watching the movie critically, and whether you think paying attention changed the way the movie impacted you? (1 1/2 pages minimum)Attached is a link to the film, a file that addresses the questions about “A Workbook for Arguments” and “Nonsense”, and the link to the class’s textbook.The film:…

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PHI 103 Documentary Assignment Notes
Do the filmmakers follow the rules from “A Workbook for Arguments”?
Rule 1: Identify Premises and Conclusion
Rule 2: Develop your ideas in an natural order
Rule 3: Start from reliable premises
Rule 4: Be concrete and precise
Rule 5: Build on substance, not overtone (subtle/secondary quality)
Rule 6: Use consistent terms
Rule 7: Use more than one example
Rule 8: Use representative examples
Rule 9: Background rates may be crucial
Rule 10: Statistics needs a critical eye
Rule 11: Consider counterexamples
Rule 12: Analogies require relevantly simple examples
Rule 13: Cite your sources
Rule 14: Seek informed sources
Rule 15: Seek impartial sources
Rule 16: Cross-check sources
Rule 17: Use the Web with care
Rule 18: Causal arguments start with correlations
Rule 19: Correlations may have alternative explanations
Rule 20: Work towards the most likely explanation
Rule 21: Expect complexity
Do they use any of the bad forms of arguments discussed in “Nonsense”?
-Does anything make you doubtful of the movie’s argument?

A Complete Course in Critical Thinking
Second Edition
A Complete Course in Critical Thinking
Second Edition
David R. Morrow
Anthony Weston
Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
Copyright © 2016 by Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
19 18 17 16 15
For further information, please address
Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
P.O. Box 44937
Indianapolis, Indiana 46244-0937
Cover design by Deborah Wilkes
Interior design by Elizabeth L. Wilson
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Morrow, David R.
A workbook for arguments : a complete course in critical thinking / David R.
Morrow & Anthony Weston. — Second edition.
pages cm
Also contains the entire text of the fourth edition of Weston’s Rulebook, while
supplementing this core text with extensive further explanations and exercises.
Includes index.
ISBN 978-1-62466-427-4 (pbk.) — ISBN 978-1-62466-428-1 (cloth)
1. Critical thinking. 2. Reasoning. 3. Logic. 4. Persuasion (Rhetoric)
5. English language—Rhetoric. I. Weston, Anthony, 1954– II. Weston, Anthony,
1954– Rulebook for arguments. III. Title.
PRC ISBN: 978-1-62466-580-6
Titles of Related Interest Available from Hackett
Sharon Bailin and Mark Battersby, Reason in the Balance: An Inquiry
Approach to Critical Thinking, Second Edition.
George Pullman, A Rulebook for Decision Making.
George Pullman, Persuasion: History, Theory, Practice.
The page numbers in curly braces {} correspond to the print edition of this
Preface to the Second Edition
Note about Companion Web Site
Part 1
Chapter I: Short Arguments: Some General Rules
Rule 1: Identify premises and conclusion
Exercise Set 1.1: Distinguishing premises from conclusions
Rule 2: Develop your ideas in a natural order
Exercise Set 1.2: Outlining arguments in premise-and-conclusion
Exercise Set 1.3: Analyzing visual arguments
Rule 3: Start from reliable premises
Exercise Set 1.4: Identifying reliable and unreliable premises
Rule 4: Be concrete and concise
Exercise Set 1.5: Decomplexifying artificially abstruse quotations
Rule 5: Build on substance, not overtone
Exercise Set 1.6: Diagnosing loaded language
Rule 6: Use consistent terms
Exercise Set 1.7: Evaluating letters to the editor
Chapter II: Generalizations
Rule 7: Use more than one example
Exercise Set 2.1: Finding relevant examples
Rule 8: Use representative examples
Exercise Set 2.2: Improving biased samples
Rule 9: Background rates may be crucial
Exercise Set 2.3: Identifying relevant background rates
Rule 10: Statistics need a critical eye
Exercise Set 2.4: Evaluating simple arguments that use numbers
Rule 11: Consider counterexamples
Exercise Set 2.5: Finding counterexamples
Exercise Set 2.6: Evaluating arguments for generalizations
Exercise Set 2.7: Arguing for and against generalizations
Chapter III: Arguments by Analogy
Rule 12: Analogies require relevantly similar examples
Exercise Set 3.1: Identifying important similarities
Exercise Set 3.2: Identifying important differences
Exercise Set 3.3: Evaluating arguments by analogy
Exercise Set 3.4: Constructing arguments by analogy
Chapter IV: Sources
Rule 13: Cite your sources
Rule 14: Seek informed sources
Rule 15: Seek impartial sources
Exercise Set 4.1: Identifying biased sources
Rule 16: Cross-check sources
Exercise Set 4.2: Identifying independent sources
Rule 17: Use the Web with care
Exercise Set 4.3: Evaluating arguments that use sources
Exercise Set 4.4: Using sources in arguments
Chapter V: Arguments about Causes
Rule 18: Causal arguments start with correlations
Rule 19: Correlations may have alternative explanations
Exercise Set 5.1: Brainstorming explanations for correlations
Rule 20: Work toward the most likely explanation
Exercise Set 5.2: Identifying the most likely explanation
Rule 21: Expect complexity
Exercise Set 5.3: Evaluating arguments about causes
Exercise Set 5.4: Constructing arguments about causes
Chapter VI: Deductive Arguments
Rule 22: Modus ponens
Rule 23: Modus tollens
Rule 24: Hypothetical syllogism
Rule 25: Disjunctive syllogism
Rule 26: Dilemma
Exercise Set 6.1: Identifying deductive argument forms
Exercise Set 6.2: Identifying deductive arguments in more complex
Exercise Set 6.3: Drawing conclusions with deductive arguments
Rule 27: Reductio ad absurdum
Exercise Set 6.4: Working with reductio ad absurdum
Rule 28: Deductive arguments in several steps
Exercise Set 6.5: Identifying deductive arguments in several steps
Chapter VII: Extended Arguments
Rule 29: Explore the issue
Exercise Set 7.1: Identifying possible positions
Exercise Set 7.2: Exploring issues of your choice
Rule 30: Spell out basic ideas as arguments
Exercise Set 7.3: Sketching arguments for and against positions
Exercise Set 7.4: Sketching arguments about your own topic
Rule 31: Defend basic premises with arguments of their own
Exercise Set 7.5: Developing arguments in more detail
Exercise Set 7.6: Developing your own arguments
Rule 32: Consider objections
Exercise Set 7.7: Working out objections
Exercise Set 7.8: Working out objections to your own arguments
Rule 33: Consider alternatives
Exercise Set 7.9: Brainstorming alternatives
Exercise Set 7.10: Considering alternatives to your own conclusions
Chapter VIII: Argumentative Essays
Rule 34: Jump right in
Exercise Set 8.1: Writing good leads
Rule 35: Make a definite claim or proposal
Exercise Set 8.2: Making definite claims and proposals
Rule 36: Your argument is your outline
Exercise Set 8.3: Writing out your arguments
Rule 37: Detail objections and meet them
Exercise Set 8.4: Detailing and meeting objections
Exercise Set 8.5: Considering objections to your own arguments
Rule 38: Get feedback and use it
Rule 39. Modesty, please!
Chapter IX: Oral Arguments
Rule 40: Reach out to your audience
Exercise Set 9.1: Reaching out to your audience
Rule 41: Be fully present
Rule 42: Signpost your argument
Exercise Set 9.2: Signposting your own arguments
Rule 43: Offer something positive
Exercise Set 9.3: Reframing arguments in a positive way
Rule 44: Use visual aids sparingly
Rule 45: End in style
Exercise Set 9.4: Ending in style
Exercise Set 9.5: Evaluating oral presentations
Appendix I: Some Common Fallacies
Exercise Set 10.1: Identifying fallacies (part 1)
Exercise Set 10.2: Reinterpreting and revising fallacious arguments (part
Exercise Set 10.3: Identifying fallacies (part 2)
Exercise Set 10.4: Reinterpreting and revising fallacious arguments (part
Exercise Set 10.5: Two deductive fallacies
Exercise Set 10.6: Constructing fallacious arguments
Appendix II: Definitions
Rule D1:When terms are unclear, get specific
Exercise Set 11.1: Making definitions more precise
Rule D2: When terms are contested, work from the clear cases
Exercise Set 11.2: Starting from clear cases
Rule D3: Definitions don’t replace arguments
Appendix III: Argument Mapping
Exercise Set 12.1: Mapping simple arguments
Exercise Set 12.2: Mapping complex arguments
Part 2
Model Responses for Chapter I: Short Arguments
Model responses for Exercise Set 1.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 1.2
Model responses for Exercise Set 1.3
Model responses for Exercise Set 1.4
Model responses for Exercise Set 1.5
Model responses for Exercise Set 1.6
Model responses for Exercise Set 1.7
Model Responses for Chapter II: Generalizations
Model responses for Exercise Set 2.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 2.2
Model responses for Exercise Set 2.3
Model responses for Exercise Set 2.4
Model responses for Exercise Set 2.5
Model responses for Exercise Set 2.6
Model responses for Exercise Set 2.7
Model Responses for Chapter III: Arguments by Analogy
Model responses for Exercise Set 3.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 3.2
Model responses for Exercise Set 3.3
Model responses for Exercise Set 3.4
Model Responses for Chapter IV: Sources
Model responses for Exercise Set 4.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 4.2
Model responses for Exercise Set 4.3
Model responses for Exercise Set 4.4
Model Responses for Chapter V: Arguments about Causes
Model responses for Exercise Set 5.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 5.2
Model responses for Exercise Set 5.3
Model responses for Exercise Set 5.4
Model Responses for Chapter VI: Deductive Arguments
Model responses for Exercise Set 6.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 6.2
Model responses for Exercise Set 6.3
Model responses for Exercise Set 6.4
Model responses for Exercise Set 6.5
Model Responses for Chapter VII: Extended Arguments
Model responses for Exercise Set 7.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 7.3
Model responses for Exercise Set 7.5
Model responses for Exercise Set 7.7
Model responses for Exercise Set 7.9
Model Responses for Chapter VIII: Argumentative Essays
Model responses for Exercise Set 8.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 8.2
Model responses for Exercise Set 8.4
Model Responses for Chapter IX: Oral Arguments
Model responses for Exercise Set 9.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 9.3
Model responses for Exercise Set 9.4
Model Responses for Appendix I: Some Common Fallacies
Model responses for Exercise Set 10.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 10.2
Model responses for Exercise Set 10.3
Model responses for Exercise Set 10.4
Model responses for Exercise Set 10.5
Model responses for Exercise Set 10.6
Model Responses for Appendix II: Definitions
Model responses for Exercise Set 11.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 11.2
Model Responses for Appendix III: Argument Mapping
Model responses for Exercise Set 12.1
Model responses for Exercise Set 12.2
Part 3
Critical Thinking Activities
Activities for Chapter I
Found arguments
Creating a visual argument
Writing a letter to the editor
Analyzing unadapted arguments
Activities for Chapter II
Finding misleading statistics
Generalizations about your classroom
Activities for Chapter III
Using analogies to understand unusual objects
Using analogies in ethical reasoning
Activities for Chapter IV
Recognizing reliable Web sources
Finding good sources
Activities for Chapter V
Bluffing about causal explanations
Reconstructing scientific reasoning
Analyzing arguments in scientific reasoning
Activities for Chapter VI
Recognizing deductive argument forms
Activities for Chapter VII
Compiling your research into an extended outline
Activities for Chapter VIII
Improving a sample paper
Compiling a draft of an argumentative essay
Peer-review workshop
Activities for Chapter IX
Writing opening lines
Creating a visual aid
Oral presentations
In-class debates
Extended in-class group debates
Activities for Appendix I
Relating rules and fallacies
Identifying, reinterpreting, and revising fallacies
Critical-thinking public service announcements
Activities for Appendix II
Defining key terms in an essay
Defining difficult terms
Activities for Appendix III
Argument mapping workshop
Developing your own arguments using argument maps
Titles of Related Interest Available from Hackett Publishing
{xiii} Preface to the Second Edition
A Workbook for Arguments builds on Anthony Weston’s Rulebook for
Arguments to offer a complete textbook for a course in critical thinking.
Like the first edition, the Workbook contains the entire text of the fourth
edition of the Rulebook while supplementing this core text with extensive
further explanations and exercises:
Homework exercises adapted from a wide range of actual arguments
from newspapers, philosophical texts, literature, movies, YouTube
videos, and other sources.
Practical advice to help students succeed when applying the
Rulebook’s rules to the examples in the homework exercises.
Suggestions for further practice that outline activities students can
do by themselves or with classmates to improve their critical thinking
skills or that point them to online resources to do the same.
Detailed instructions for in-class activities and take-home
assignments designed to engage students in critical thinking.
An appendix on mapping arguments, a topic not included in the
Rulebook, that introduces students to this vital skill in evaluating or
constructing complex and multi-step arguments.
Model responses to odd-numbered exercises, including
commentaries on the strengths and weaknesses of selected model
responses as well as further discussion of some of the substantive
intellectual, philosophical, and ethical issues raised by the exercises.
This second edition improves on the first by offering
Updated and improved homework exercises to ensure that the
examples continue to resonate with today’s students. About one-third
of the exercises in the book have been replaced with updated, better
tested, or more science-focused examples. The exercises carried over
from the first edition have not been changed.
{xiv} An increased focus on scientific reasoning throughout the
text, including homework exercises and in-class activities covering a
range of scientific disciplines. Nearly every exercise set in the first six
chapters includes at least one example of scientific reasoning.
(Exercise 5 in each exercise set is a scientific example. See the model
responses to Exercise 5 in each set for discussion of scientific
reasoning.) The goal of dispersing these examples across the text is to
make it clearer to students how scientific reasoning dovetails with
critical thinking more generally.
Two new in-class activities that ask students to analyze arguments
in their original form, rather than in the simplified form found in the
exercise sets. Look for these activities in Part III.
A Rulebook for Arguments will continue to be available in its original brief
and slim format, while in this greatly expanded version it can be used as a
full-scale textbook in its own right.
The Rulebook first appeared in 1986—nearly thirty years ago. When it
first came out, we had no idea how much interest there would be in such a
book, a little rule-based handbook for argumentation on the model of
Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style. It turned out there was a
great deal of interest! Since then the Rulebook has gone through four
editions and has become a bit of a classic itself. It has been used in classes
across the curriculum, from high schools and law schools to graduate
schools and community colleges, and in the study not just of critical
thinking but also of rhetoric, applied ethics, journalism, and many other
subjects. It has been translated into ten languages—plus bootlegged into a
few more—and even transcribed into braille.
The field of critical thinking has also changed dramatically since
the’80s. Then commonly called “informal logic,” at least by philosophers,
it was relatively new, still half-wishing to be formal logic and accustomed
mainly to treating the wider realm of reasoning as a matter mostly of
avoiding “fallacies,” a grab-bag of seemingly random types of mistakes.
Now, by contrast, critical thinking is a field in its own right, much better
tuned to the variety and texture of actual argumentation and focused not
merely or mainly on pitfalls to be avoided but on the underlying principles
of good argumentation. In some small ways, the Rulebook may have
helped to forward this wider-angled and more constructive vision of
critical thinking. In any case its rules, quite on purpose, represent just such
Rulebook has always been a slim little volume, though: always
supplementary, appealing both to writers who want a brief argument
handbook {xv} on their shelves alongside The Elements of Style and to
students and classroom instructors who need, in the words of the original
Preface, “a list of reminders and rules … a treatment that students can
consult and understand on their own and that therefore does not claim too
much class time.” It has fulfilled that role very well. The Workbook, by
contrast, was intended for instructors who wanted to devote more time—or
an entire course—to the principles of critical thinking.
The success of the first edition of the Workbook suggests that the field is
ready for a full-fledged textbook in the same key as the Rulebook. Here the
same rules are laid out, but then systematically elaborated and practiced,
first in sets of exercises specific to nearly every rule and then in general
exercises keyed to each of the Rulebook’s chapters. Here you can make the
rules your own by using them repeatedly in the context of real-world
arguments. While the Rulebook will continue to be published on its own,
there is now a much more developed alternative as well—you hold it in
your hands.
Especially for beginning students, learning to apply these rules
effectively requires a great deal of practice. That is why this Workbook is
full of exercises! But it also requires more than just practice. It requires
guidance, too. To that end, Part II of the Workbook provides model
responses (sometimes several different model responses) to every oddnumbered exercise—half of the execises in this book—along with detailed
commentaries on those model responses. In our view, these model
responses and commentaries are almost as important a part of the textbook
as Part I. Key themes are more thoroughly explained and reviewed there,
and sometimes new themes are introduced there as well. Thus, Part II can
be key to a richer and fuller learning. Be sure to check it out! Instructors
are encouraged to make the relevant model responses part of their classes’
regular assigned reading as well.
The Rulebook is authored by Anthony Weston, and appears here, though
divided into pieces, almost exactly as it also appears in its fourth edition.
The Workbook sections that develop and apply each of the rules, along
with the model responses (Part 2) and critical thinking activities (Part 3),
are authored by David Morrow in close collaboration with Anthony
Deborah Wilkes, publisher of Hackett Publishing Company, has guided
this project from the beginning with a perfect combination of editorial
acumen, flexibility, and good humor. Thanks also to Liz Wilson, Hackett’s
production director, for her intrepid assistance throughout the production
process, and to Jennifer Albert for her eagle-eyed copyediting. Multiple
publisher’s reviewers looked over the emerging Workbook at various
points as well. For many suggestions and much useful critical feedback
(see Rule 38!) we are grateful to Patricia Allen, Massachusetts Bay {xvi}
Community College; Peter Amato, Drexel University; Christian Bauer,
Sacramento City College; Lisa Bellantoni, Albright College; Jason
Burrows, Hennepin Technical College; Joanne Ciulla, University of
Richmond; Cynthia Gobatie, Riverside Community College; Conan
Griffin, Florida Gulf Coast University; Julianna Griffin, Florida Gulf
Coast University; Kenya Grooms, DePaul University; John Ellingwood
Kay, San Francisco State University; Paul Mattick, Adelphi University;
George Pullman, Georgia State University; Ryan Scherbart, Cabrillo
College; Michael Strawser, University of Central Florida; and Daniela
Vallega-Neu, University of Oregon. What errors and infelicities remain, of
course, should be laid only to us—and we’d be delighted to hear about
them, along with any other suggestions and reactions to this text. Please
send feedback to us in care of the publisher.
Meantime, we wish all the best to every user of this book. Use it well—
and use it often!
Note about Companion Web Site
There is a companion Web site for this book at
which contains links to relevant online and printed resources. Many of the
exercise sets point you to this Web site for additional practice, and a few
point you to the Web site for the exercises themselves. The Web site also
contains ideas for additional critical thinking activities.
{xvii} Introduction
What’s the point of arguing?
Many people think that arguing is simply stating their prejudices in a new
form. This is why many people also think that arguments are unpleasant
and pointless. One dictionary definition for “argument” is “disputation.” In
this sense we sometimes say that two people “have an argument”: a verbal
fistfight. It happens often enough. But it is not what arguments really are.
In this book, “to give an argument” means to offer a set of reasons or
evidence in support of a conclusion. Here an argument is not simply a
statement of certain views, and it is not simply a dispute. Arguments are
efforts to support certain views with reasons. Arguments in this sense are
not pointless; in fact, they are essential.
Argument is essential, in the first place, because it is a way of finding
out which views are better than others. Not all views are equal. Some
conclusions can be supported by good reasons; others have much weaker
support. But often we don’t know which are which. We need to give
arguments for different conclusions and then assess those arguments to see
how strong they really are.
Here argument is a means of inquiry. Some philosophers and activists
have argued, for instance, that the factory farming of animals for meat
causes immense suffering to animals and is therefore unjustified and
immoral. Are they right? We can’t necessarily tell just by consulting our
current opinions. Many issues are involved—we need to examine the
arguments. Do we have moral obligations to other species, for instance, or
is only human suffering really bad? How well can humans live without
meat? Some vegetarians have lived to very old ages. Does this show that
vegetarian diets are healthier? Or is it irrelevant when you consider that
some non-vegetarians also have lived to very old ages? (You might make
some progress by asking whether vegetarians live to old age at a higher
rate.) Or might healthier people tend to become vegetarians, rather than
vice versa? All of these questions need to be considered carefully, and the
answers are not clear in advance.
Argument is essential for another reason too. Once we have arrived at a
conclusion that is well supported by reasons, we use arguments to explain
and defend it. A good argument doesn’t merely repeat conclusions. Instead
it offers reasons and evidence so that other people can make up their minds
for themselves. If you become convinced that we should indeed change the
{xviii} way we raise and use animals, for example, you must use
arguments to explain how you arrived at your conclusion. That is how you
will convince others: by offering the reasons and evidence that convinced
you. It is not a mistake to have strong views. The mistake is to have
nothing else.
Argument grows on you
Typically we learn to “argue” by assertion. That is, we tend to start with
our conclusions—our desires or opinions—without a whole lot to back
them up. And it works, sometimes, at least when we’re very young. What
could be better?
Real argument, by contrast, takes time and practice. Marshaling our
reasons, proportioning our conclusions to the actual evidence, considering
objections, and all the rest—these are acquired skills. We have to grow up
a little. We have to put aside our desires and our opinions for a while and
actually think.
School may help—or not. In courses concerned with teaching everlarger sets of facts or techniques, students are seldom encouraged to ask
the sorts of questions that arguments answer. Sure, the Constitution
mandates an Electoral College—that’s a fact—but is it still a good idea?
(For that matter, was it ever a good idea? What were the reasons for it,
anyway?) Sure, many scientists believe that there is life elsewhere in the
universe, but why? What’s the argument? Reasons can be given for
different answers. In the end, ideally, you will both learn some of those
reasons and also learn how to weigh them up—and how to seek out more
Mostly, again, it takes time and practice. This book can help! Moreover,
the practice of argument turns out to have some attractions of its own. Our
minds become more flexible, open-ended, and alert. We come to
appreciate how much difference our own critical thinking can really make.
From everyday family life to politics, science, philosophy, and even
religion, arguments are constantly offered to us for our consideration, and
we may in turn offer back our own. Think of argument as a way to make
your own place within these unfolding, ongoing dialogues. What could be
better than that?
Outline of this book
This book begins by discussing fairly simple arguments and moves to
extended arguments and their use in essays and oral presentations at the
Chapters I–VI are about composing and assessing short arguments.
Short arguments simply offer their reasons and evidence briefly, usually in
{xix} a few sentences or a paragraph. We begin with short arguments for
several reasons. First, they are common: in fact so common that they are
part of everyday conversation. Second, longer arguments are usually
elaborations of short arguments, or a series of short arguments linked
together. If you learn to write and assess short arguments first, then you
can extend your skills to longer arguments in essays or presentations.
A third reason for beginning with short arguments is that they are the
best illustrations both of the common argument forms and of the typical
mistakes in arguments. In longer arguments it can be harder to pick out the
main points—and the main problems. Therefore, although some of the
rules may seem obvious when first stated, remember that you have the
benefit of a simple example. Other rules are hard enough to appreciate
even in short arguments.
Chapter VII guides you into sketching and then elaborating an extended
argument, considering objections and alternatives as you do. Chapter VIII
guides you from there into writing an argumentative essay. Chapter IX
then adds rules specifically about oral presentation. Again, all of these
chapters depend on Chapters I–VI, since extended arguments like these
essentially combine and elaborate the kinds of short arguments that
Chapters I–VI discuss. Don’t skip ahead to the later chapters, then, even if
you come to this book primarily for help writing an essay or doing a
presentation. At the very least, read through the shaded sections of the
earlier chapters—the parts from the Rulebook for Arguments, on which
this book is based—so that when you arrive at those later chapters you will
have the tools you need to use them well. Instructors might wish to assign
Chapters I–VI early in the term and Chapters VII–IX when the time comes
for essays and presentations.
Three appendixes close out Part 1 of the Workbook. The first is a listing
of fallacies: types of misleading arguments that are so tempting and
common, they even have their own names. The second offers three rules
for constructing and evaluating definitions. The third, which is not
included in the original Rulebook, covers argument mapping, which is a
powerful technique for understanding how the pieces of an argument fit
together. Use them when you need them!
Part 2 of the Workbook offers model responses to the odd-numbered
exercises in nearly every exercise set. Most model responses have
commentaries that explain the strengths and weaknesses of each response.
Part 3 of the Workbook contains longer critical thinking activities that
build on the rules and exercises in Part 1. Some of these you can do on
your own. Others you will need to do in class or with a group of
{xx} How to use the Workbook
Throughout Part 1 of this book, you will notice that some passages have a
shaded bar beside them. The passages with the sidebar come from
Anthony Weston’s Rulebook for Arguments. The passages without the
sidebar are only in the Workbook for Arguments. The additions in Part 1
consist mainly of exercise sets designed to help you learn how to apply the
lessons from the passages with the sidebars. You can get the main ideas of
each chapter by reading just the passages with the sidebars. Before
attempting an exercise set, though, be sure to read both the Rulebook text
before it and the “Tips for success” that accompany the exercise set.
After you have completed an exercise set—or at any rate, after you’ve
given it your best shot—take a look at the model responses for that
exercise set. (You’ll find the model responses in Part 2.) We strongly
encourage you to read them even if you don’t need help doing the
exercises. The model responses often contain important further
discussions. Moreover, part of their aim, considered as a whole, is to paint
a wide-ranging and compelling picture of critical intelligence at work. The
spirit of critical thinking is just as vital as the letter, so to speak, and in the
Workbook you will find both.
Every exercise set ends with a suggestion about how to get more
practice applying the skills used in that exercise set. Many of these
suggestions are most effective if you work in a group. If you find that you
consistently want more practice, form a study group with some of your
From time to time, your instructor may have you complete one of the
critical thinking activities from Part 3. These activities are designed to be
especially enjoyable and engaging and to help you connect the material in
this book to your own life. Be sure to find out whether your instructor has
any additional or alternative instructions for the activity, or if he or she
wants you to complete one of the variations listed at the end of the
activity’s assignment sheet.
Critical thinking is a skill—and like most skills, it’s a skill that you can
always improve, even if you’re already good at it. Reading about
guidelines for critical thinking, such as the rules presented in this book, is
an important part of honing your skill, but there is no substitute for
practice. (That could even be Rule 46: Practice, practice, practice.) The
aim of this workbook is to give you an opportunity for guidance, practice,
and feedback. With some persistence and hard work, you’ll find yourself
thinking more clearly and more critically than ever.
{1} Part 1
{3} Chapter I
Short Arguments: Some General Rules
Arguments begin by marshaling reasons and organizing them in a clear

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