What is effective reasoning? And how can it be done persuasively? These questions have been asked for thousands of years, yet some of the best thinking on reasoning and argumentation is recent and represents a break from the past.
These 24 engaging lectures teach you how to reason, how to persuade others that what you think is right, and how to judge and answer the arguments of others - and how they will judge yours. Professor Zarefsky makes argumentation accessible and familiar by breaking it into five easy-to-understand components: The tools of formal logic, while essential and even definitive for mathematics and programming computers, are inadequate to decide most controversial issues.
This course shows more useful approaches. Arguments can be divided into three parts: a claim, evidence, and an inference linking the evidence to the claim. All arguments fall into a handful of distinctive categories, and the same issues are at stake each time one of these distinctive patterns occurs. Three kinds of evidence can be advanced to prove an argument that something is true: objective data, social consensus, and personal credibility. There are six kinds of inference that link evidence to a claim: example, cause, sign, analogy, narrative, and form. How to use and challenge each is explained.
Along the way, you'll look at numerous actual controversies with a perspective that allows you to see the structure of all disputes. In this way, argument becomes an exchange, not just a flurry of words.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2005 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2005 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By joseph on 08-06-14

Noticeably improved my rational thinking skills

This lecturer is fantastic. He's passionate, warm, likeable and competent. His demeanour carried me through some of the more complicated bits.

As far as the content goes:

The course breaks down the components of logic and argumentation and makes the listener familiar with them. Then it demonstrates logic and augmentation of some famous political debates. In doing so through repetition and exposure I felt the content was tedious and challenging at times, sometimes I was just getting through it, but afterwards I am shocked at my skills and ability to cut to the heart of arguments I come across and challenge claims and logic. This has benefited me in all areas as strength of logic is valued in most areas. I think this is a fantastic tool for learning and wished I'd come across it years ago.

The content and lecturer are outstanding and the work 'The Great Courses' do is wonderful for someone like myself who has no time to read and dyslexia but is still very fanatical about learning. However, one still has to endure the embarrassingly pretentious classical trumpet outbursts and audience clapping sound bytes at the beginning of every lecture! Also I feel that any lecture series that names itself 'The Great Courses' can't be that great. It's all transparently socially aspiring and an appeal to the grandiosity of the archetypal university which falls flat as insincere, arrogant and pompous. Further, judging by the reviews of many other listeners of their lectures on audible there are very few who these tactics have the desired affect on. However this doesn't invalidate the courses that have to be examined on a case by case basis and this pomposity is a small price to pay for the content. I mention it here more to change 'The Great Courses' approach and let off some steam.

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17 of 18 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Connor on 05-10-16

Fantastic Course

Clearly a knowledgeable and passionate individual in the field. Experience Tells. What a brilliant academic.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By liam on 22-08-13

If you are on the fence, Get it!

If you could sum up Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition in three words, what would they be?

Clear, concise, informative

Which scene was your favorite?

Understanding logical fallacies.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

This is an excellent course to take. Interesting right the way through and very dense on content. Argumentation is a pastime of mine, and although I have read much about it, I have never taken any kind of structured course on the subject. These lectures opened up an understanding of the processes, the nomenclature and the method to me on a larger scale than I knew. Very helpful, Already I am applying this new understanding to my every day life, and that's not just in winning arguments with my spouse ;)

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74 of 78 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 30-01-16

Outstanding class with superb content

The professor in this course presented the material with maestri. All the topics are addressed in detail, in a way you can easily follow and generalize to your area of expertise. I dare to say that this is the most complete audiobook on the matter. It covers. The philosophy, the history, the theory, the application and the strategic and tactical aspects of argumentation. Nothing was left out.

If I have to point at flaws in this course , the only one I can come with is that 90% of the examples were taken from presidential speech. A more diverse source of examples would be beneficial in the entertainment aspect. But as teaching tools to convey the point, the examples are perfect.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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