Monday, April 27, 2009

Book Review: A Rulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston

A Rulebook for Arguments (3rd Edition) by Anthony Weston is a short and helpful guidebook for making effective arguments for your position. Weighing in at only 85 pages, the content is simple and clear, but by no means lightweight. This is a gem of a book for critical thinking, argumentation, and logical communication – suitable for an introductory text as well as a guidebook for the advanced.

There are ten brief chapters in the book. Chapters 1—6 deal with various types of arguments (arguments by example, by analogy, from authority, about causes, and deductive arguments). Chapters 7—9 give instruction on composing and argumentative essay. This content gives the reader a game plan for writing effectively, clearly, and persuasively. Finally, chapter 10 deals with the most common logical fallacies, offering a brief explanation of each.

There are a number of good points the reader will take away from this book. First, the book shows the reader how to use language properly by avoiding common errors and encouraging clarity. Second, it presents the correct ways to use various forms of arguments. Third, it gives a nice introduction to deductive arguments without heavy terminology. A good number of logical fallacies are covered but not over-emphasized. Finally, the authors offer great insights into writing effectively.

In short, A Rulebook for Arguments is highly recommended as a concise guide to logical and effective communication.


Luke said...

Yup, A Rulebook for Arguments is one of my faves.

Stephen said...

I agree with the above review and would definitely recommend it as a resource, but be prepared to be mildly annoyed by some of the example arguments that Weston uses to illustrate different poor arguments. Some of them seem like strawmen of theistic arguments.

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