Tools of Thinking: Understanding the World Through Experience and Reason : The Great Courses: Modern Philosophy

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor James Hall
  • Series: The Great Courses: Modern Philosophy
  • 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Everyone has to think in order to function in the world, but what is the best way to reason effectively in your pursuit of reliable beliefs and useful knowledge? What is the best way to prove a case, create a rule, solve a problem, justify an idea, invent a hypothesis, or evaluate an argument? In short, what is the best way to think?
Professor Hall helps you cut through deception and faulty reasoning in these 24 humorous, clear, and interesting lectures, offering a friendly but intellectually rigorous approach to the problem of thinking. Among the topics you'll learn about are: Deduction (this form of reasoning reaches a conclusion based on a set of premises; if the premises are true, then the conclusion necessarily follows); Induction (less ironclad than deduction, this approach surveys the evidence and then generalizes an explanation to account for it; the conclusion may be probable, but it is not certain); Syllogism ( this simple but powerful deductive argument offers two premises and a conclusion, e.g., "All Greeks are mortals. All Athenians are Greeks. Therefore, all Athenians are mortals."); Dialectic (a question-and-answer dialogue, called dialectic, is valuable for uncovering first principles); Venn diagrams (this technique uses overlapping circles to represent different classes of objects or ideas in order to clarify a syllogism).
Some of the greatest philosophers who ever lived have used these tools to separate ideas that make sense from those that don't. Now you, too, can think more clearly, making better lives for ourselves and for those to come.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Stunned by the negative review of this wonderful lecture series. I can't imagine anyone halfway versed in metacognition having any problems following this material, supplements or no. Granted, I have done a lot of study in this area and from much more in-depth books than this, but anyone should find this a greatly enlightening book on the process of human thought and logic. I recommend it be read with Novallis' The Deceptive Mind and perhaps Ridgley's Strategic Thinking. Unlike the other reviewer, I have yet to come across a lecture series in The Great Courses that I didn't absolutely love and devour. I wish I could somehow work them into my own classrooms.
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- Douglas "College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey."

This course is too much based on superstition

Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor James Hall?

The Great Courses concept is fine by me, but Professor James Hall's insight on taking superstition as an equal part of rational reasoning with (scientific) facts, is just way too much for me - and thus I lost the interest to this book within 2 hours.

Has Tools of Thinking: Understanding the World Through Experience and Reason turned you off from other books in this genre?

No. As long as I don't have to listen to James Hall's opinions.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He clearly has a theological hidden agenda.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?


Any additional comments?

I might listen through the whole book after a while... maybe there is some true substance in this book - as its title suggests.

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- Tero "tero_pajunen"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses