Logic and Critical Thinking: An Introduction for Muslim Students is the product of the author’s years of experience providing training in core thinking skills for an ethnically diverse range of mostly Muslim students, in the Arabian Gulf. While the basic principles of good reasoning entail at least an aspiration to universality, their presentation will invariably reflect a specific cultural context. This book responds to the need for a critical thinking curriculum free of the uncritical western cultural and ideological presumptions present in much of the currently available material, the effect of which is to assert (implicitly if not explicitly) that the use of logic and reason is an exclusively western cultural practice. This textbook presents reason and the life of the mind as both universal and an integral feature of the Islamic intellectual and cultural heritage, but makes it operational in contemporary Muslim life by approaching the subject properly, as a set of intellectual skills requiring rigorous practice rather than simply a historical or theoretical subject matter. The book facilitates a 12-week course, divided into three sections (basic concepts, deduction, and induction) with a variety of carefully designed exercise sets at the end of each weekly section.
Part 1 – Basic Concepts: What is Critical Thinking?
Chapter 1. Critical Thinking and Judgment: 1.2. Judgments and Truth 1.3. Critical Thinking and Debate: Separating the Benefits from the Dangers;
Chapter 2: Propositions: 2.1. Subject and Predicate Terms 2.2. Contradiction and Entailment
Chapter 3: Inference and Argument: 3.1. Arguments and Other Explanations 3.2. Formalizing Arguments and Other Explanations;
Chapter 4: Inferential Diagrams: 4.1. Linked Inferences and Implicit Premises 4.2. Basic Inferential Analysis in Five Steps
Part 2 – Deductive Reasoning:
Chapter 5: Things and Categories: 5.1. Visualizing Categorical Propositions 5.2. Necessary and Sufficient Conditions 5.3. Applying Venn Diagrams 5.4. Definitions 5.5. Definition Mistakes;
Chapter 6: Categorical Syllogisms: 6.1. Deduction and Validity 6.2. The Rules of Inference for Categorical Syllogisms;
Chapter 7: Truth-functional Deductive Argument Forms: 7.1. Modus Ponens (Affirming the Antecedent) 7.2. Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent 7.3. Modus Tollens (Denying the Consequent) 7.4. Fallacy of Denying the Antecedent 7.5. Hypothetical Syllogism 7.6. Bi-conditionals 7.7. Disjunctive Syllogism;
Chapter 8: Truth-functional Natural Deduction: 8.1. Rules of Inference 8.2. Well-formed formulas 8.3. Replacement Rules 8.4. Constructing Proofs
Part 3 – Inductive Reasoning:
Chapter 9: Inductive Reasoning: 9.1. Analogy 9.2. Analogical Arguments 9.3. Evaluating Analogical Arguments;
Chapter 10: Inductive Generalization: 10.1. Evaluating Inductive Generalization 10.2. Sample Size 10.3. Sample Representativeness 10.4. Random Sampling 10.5. Stratification 10.6. Inductive Generalization in Natural Science 10.7. Observation
Chapter 11: Causal vs. Statistical Relevance: 11.1. Different Kinds of Causal Relevance 11.2. Causal Conditions 11.3. First Principles of Causal Reasoning 11.4. Hypothetico-Deductive Method 11.5. Mill’s Methods 11.5.1. Method of Agreement 11.5.2. Method of Difference 11.5.3. Method of Agreement and Difference 11.5.4. Concomitant Variations 11.5.5. Method of Residues
Chapter 12: Inference to the Best Explanation: 12.1. Plausibility 12.2. Consistency with Known Facts 12.3. Comprehensiveness 12.4. Explanatory Power 12.5. Simplicity 12.6. Predictability 12.7. The Unfalsifiable