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As a starting point, Critical Thinking should be infused into the pedagogy of classes of many types, as students learning to probe, to evaluate evidence, to write papers with well-structured arguments, and to analyze the arguments presented to them in other texts. –Martha Nussbaum, Not For Profit, pg 55

Stand-alone Critical Thinking courses, when taught well, can be extraordinarily transformative college experiences. That transformative experience is the core of liberal education. Students begin to practice what Nussbaum calls ‘Socratic thinking’–they “think and argue for themselves, rather than defer to tradition and authority” (p. 48).

To achieve this goal of transformation through engagment and internalization of critical thinking, most of us who teach Critical Thinking on a regular basis supplement the dry, static prose of formal textbooks with examples drawn from contemporary life. In theory, the students should recognize and identify with these examples and apply the analysis modeled by the instructor to their own interactions with putative sources of knowledge.

This practice has one major flaw: the ‘contemporary’ examples become superannuated quickly, and the lesson is lost.

Tracking student interest, and maintaining an up-to-date archive of suitable examples is impossible for a single instructor. Moreover, the examples would not be subjected to peer review, and may, over time, prove idiosyncratic.

Finally, this approach requires that the instructor constantly guesses at the interests of the students, inevitably missing.

CT2.0 seeks to change all of that. This is an archive of examples for Critical Thinking instruction that is developed and maintained by instructors of Critical Thinking. The standard ‘star rating’ and ‘comment’ features of wordpress will allow us to track student interest in a precise way. The classification system will allow instructors to tailor examples to disciplinary interest, rather than just general ideas. See Textbooks 2.0 for a discussion of the power of the medium itself.

Finally, it is worth pointing out that most students spend much of their academic careers in classrooms that reflect their interests: classes in their major. If critical thinking is best developed by tying formal instruction directly to topics that hold student interest, and students are interested in their majors, it follows that critical thinking would be best developed by increasing formal instruction in course work for the major, rather than in a stand-alone class.

CT2.0 seeks to support instructors who are willing to increase the formal instruction of critical thinking skills in their major-based classes. By classifying our examples by both discipline and form of reasoning, and providing expert, peer-reviewed commentary, CT2.0 is a powerful resource for embedded instruction.

Textbooks 2.0 Who we are How to get involved API

Fake Expert

Fake Expert: A fallacious appeal to authority in which the 'expert' is not an expert at all.

Expert in the wrong domain

Expert in the wrong domain: a fallacious version of an appeal to authority - i.e. appealing to a doctor...

Slippery Slope

Slippery slope: If we take one step, we’ll have to take all the rest of them because there’s no...

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Post hoc ergo propter hoc: “After this, therefore because of this”, a fallacy in reasoning about causes. (I took...

Poisoning The Well

Poisoning the well: Telling the audience what to think of a speaker when you’re introducing the speaker (My next...

Loaded Question

Loaded question: A question with an unacceptable pre-supposition. (Why do you hate America so much? – Stephen Colbert)

Fallacies of Relevance

Fallacies of Relevance: Bringing up irrelevant considerations in an effort to distract listener from the merits of the actual...

Guilt By Association

Guilt by Association: You are just the same as X, and X is terrible. Therefore, you’re terrible (the conclusion...

Genetic Fallacy

Genetic fallacy: Saying that some idea’s history or origin (genesis) means it is true/false.


Equivocation: when an argument relies on an ambiguous word (a word with more than one possible meaning), shifting in...


Enthymeme: general term for an argument with a gap (missing premise)

Confusing Correlation With Causation

Confusing Correlation With Causation: (Buying gas is correlated with owning a car. Clearly, buying gas causes car ownership.)

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias: seeing what you believe; interpreting observations/data to match a conclusion you already have in mind.

Undermining Biography

Undermining Biography: sewing seeds of doubt due to questionable background. Also known as ‘swiftboating’.