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You can read all the interviews he's done here (not all are about philosophy). Before we discuss your book recommendations, I wonder if you would first explain: What exactly is critical thinking, and when should we be using it?
But one of the ways of doing it is to have memorable labels, which can describe the kind of move that somebody’s making, or the kind of reasoning error, or the kind of persuasive technique they’re using.
For example, you can step back from a particular case and see that somebody’s using a ‘weak analogy’.
The gambler’s fallacy is a famous one: somebody throwing a die that isn’t loaded has thrown it three times without getting a six, and then imagines that, by some kind of law of averages, the fourth time they’re more likely to get a six, because they haven’t yet got one yet.
That’s just a bad kind of reasoning, because each time that you roll the dice, the odds are the same: there’s a one in six chance of throwing a six.
There are also a huge number of resources online now which allow people to discover definitions of critical thinking terms.
When I first wrote , there weren’t the same number of resources available.
People are often looking for critical angles on things that people have said, and you’re limited in words.
I suspect that labels are probably in use there as a form of shorthand.
Many of the terms you define and illustrate in things like ‘straw man’ arguments and ‘weasel words’—have been creeping into general usage. Do you think that our increased familiarity with debate, thanks to platforms like Twitter, has improved people’s critical thinking or made it worse?
I think that improving your critical thinking can be quite difficult.