The Aims of the Book -/- 1. To improve your skill in analyzing and evaluating arguments and presentations of the kind you find in everyday discourse (news media, discussions, advertisements), textbooks, and lectures. 2. To improve your skill in presenting arguments, reports and instructions clearly and persuasively. 3. To improve your critical instincts, that is, your immediate judgments of your attitudes toward the communications and behavior of others and yourself, so that you consistently approach them with the standards of reason (...) and the attitude of reasonableness. 4. To improve your knowledge about the facts and arguments relevant to a large number of important contemporary issues in politics, education, ethics, and several practical fields. -/- These are practical aims but not narrow practical aims: the third one, in particular, is very far-reaching and requires a whole shift of values for most of us. So this is intended to be a powerful, as well as practical, book using practical, everyday examples of the kind that a citizen, especially a citizen-student, runs into all the time. -/- The text starts with a short discussion of reasoning itself, then explores the details of this approach, and then gets down to practical procedures for improving one's reasoning skills. The discussions and examples always begin at a rather elementary level, but they get into harder material fairly quickly. If you are, or are hoping to be, a teacher or a lawyer, a scientist or an executive, what you learn here will be professional skills for you—vital professional skills. But for any citizen, they are also essential skills. (shrink)
A sketch of the arguments for adding the logic of evaluation to the areas of argumentation that have been partly mapped and are worth further work by workers in rhetoric, argumentation, communication, critical thinking, and informal logic. Brief coverage of: the arguments that there cannot be any legitimate logic of evaluation; of the nature of evaluation ; and of the technical apparatus of evaluation logic.
Fallacies are the ‘ideal types of improper inference’, named only because they represent a common or seductive error. Naming them facilitates identification (reducing ‘false negatives’ in argument evaluation), but increases the risk of false positives; it is essentially a cost-effectiveness issue whether to introduce a new name. Statistical fallacies include errors of elementary experimental design, but also conceptual confusions, e.g. of cause with correlation, of association with guilt, where an illicit substitution is made. The focus here is on recent nationwide (...) efforts to replace criteria of merit with correlates of success, in the evaluation of teaching. This involves a number of mistakes, including ‘precipitate decision’, confusing the normative with the descriptive, and using minimax when optimizing or maximin is appropriate, as well as various legal and ethical blunders. (shrink)
Part of logic consists in uncovering ways in which logical processes of great universality and utility are over-extended, e.g., in the misguided search for the cause of everything. It is suggested here that the search for missing premises defined as premises that make a deduction out of every argument has its own limits of sense. While often useful, it is sometimes just wrongly used by requiring that the reconstructed argument have the same categorical conclusion as the original one; and sometimes (...) inappropriately used when the argument itself does not rest upon assumptions different from itself. (shrink)
Comparative or limited-field assessments of aesthetic merit can often be fairly easily defended. This paper is concerned with the more difficult problem of supporting absolute judgments of merit about art. Most people think they have an answer to this problem and express or presuppose it when they say, “Modern art is junk,” or “The gigantic stature of Mondrian is more easily recognized when one is able to examine more than a hundred works by him in a single show,” or “I (...) know everything about art but I don’t know what to like.”. (shrink)
This book offers an assessment of Sartre as an exemplary figure in the evolving political and cultural landscape of post-1945 France. Sartre's originality is located in the tense relationship that he maintained between deeply held revolutionary beliefs and a residual yet critical attachment to traditional forms of cultural expression. A series of case-studies centered on Gaullism, communism, Maoism, the theatre, art criticism, and the media, illustrates the continuing relevance and appeal of Sartre to the contemporary world.
Sartre tire son originalité de la tension forte qui existe chez lui entre des convictions politiques révolutionnaires profondes et un attachement persistant mais critique aux formes artistiques traditionnelles. Cette étude met en lumière le rôle fécond de passeur joué par Sartre entre deux périodes historiques. La première partie, centrée sur les positions politiques révolutionnaires de Sartre, explore durant la Guerre Froide, son opposition à la vision gaulliste de la France et sa relation problématique avec le Parti Communiste, puis, au lendemain (...) de Mai 68, ses affinités avec le mouvement maoïste. La seconde partie, consacrée à ses positions dans le domaine culturel, analyse de manière critique la dramatisation des enjeux politiques dans son théâtre, sa perception idéologique de la sculpture et de la peinture, et la diffusion de ses idées politiques par le biais de la presse, de la radio, et de la télévision. Au cœur de l'entreprise intellectuelle de Sartre réside la croyance fondamentale en la capacité humaine à librement réinventer les pratiques politiques et les formes culturelles. Cette unique association d'allégeance politique et d'invention culturelle explique le récent regain d'intérêt pour Sartre et garantit une place pour ses idées dans les cœurs et les esprits des lecteurs du XXIème siècle. (shrink)
Sartre and the Media is the first book to offer a systematic account of Sartre's involvement in press publications and radio and television broadcasting in postwar France. Sartre's awareness of the growing power of the media to shape and influence public opinion was the motivating force underlying his interventions in the press from Combat and Le Figaro in 1944-45 to La Cause du Peuple, J'Accuse and Liberation in 1970-74, and in the French state-controlled radio and television network from the 'Tribune (...) des Temps Modernes' radio series of 1947 to the aborted 'Antenne 2' television history series of 1974-75. Focused principally on the nature of relations between intellectuals and the media, this book will appeal to those interested in the issues of freedom of expression and censorship in contemporary France. (shrink)
It is not an easy work to read, the phrasing being rather complicated, and the topics at times repetitious and intertwined; but great works do not have to be easy texts. It is the first of a proposed pair, its role being indicated by the sub-title: Problems in the Logic of Scientific Explanation. The next volume is to deal with the analysis of scientific concepts and inference. In the present work we may distinguish three groups of chapters. The first group (...) centers around certain structural concepts, particularly science, explanation and law. The second concerns problems of the physical sciences and the third is about social and biological sciences. It is entirely absurd to attempt a thorough review of the whole work in less than a work of comparable length particularly in view of the highly technical character of substantial parts of it. Another reviewer has already decided on the same grounds to restrict his attention to the second part. I shall concentrate on the first and third. I am particularly sensible that the comments which follow, when critical, are reflections of an alternative possible construal rather than objective demonstrations of error. (shrink)