Doyal, Len and Harris, Ken, Empiricism, Explanation and Rationality in the Social Sciences, Roudedge and Kegan Paul, London, 1986.
A very comprehensive treatment of the topic. The authors' main argument is that naive empiricism (that is, the belief that facts are facts and we find them) is wrong because all 'facts' are interpretive claims based in political and/or social circumstances.
Gaarder, Jostein, Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy, Phoenix House, London, 1995.
A story about a teenage girl who is drawn into a mystery that involves an unseen philosophy teacher who sends her short commentaries on philosophy. The plot is excellent, and the philosophy 'lessons' are not bad either.
Gellner, Ernest, Reason and Culture, Blackwell, Oxford, 1992.
A broad-brush history of the development of modern 'Reason', pointing to the ways in which knowledge and knowledge systems (such as reasoning) are non-objective.
Kuhn, Thomas, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1970.
A revolutionary book in itself. It argues for the centrality of non-objective theoretical paradigms and for the cultural practices of scientists in determining 'facts'.
Lloyd, Genevieve, The Man of Reason, Methuen, London, 1984.
Much Western philosophy (the basis of this book) is gender-biased, both in its practical exclusion of women and also in its founding ideas. Lloyd gives a very readable account of the ways in which the social context of patriarchy (men in charge) has influenced the 'objective' ideas of philosophy.
McCarthy, E. Doyle, Knowledge as Culture: The New Sociology of Knowledge, Routledge, London, 1996.
Excellent introduction to, and then extended discussion of, the way that social and cultural theorists have developed more sophisticated understandings of 'knowledge' as a product of social and cultural forces in the past fifty years.
Morton, Adam, Philosophy in Practice, Blackwell, Oxford, 1996.
Covers many issues relating to both epistemology and other aspects of philosophy (such as identity, ethics, and so on); particularly useful for its discussions of
Schirato, Tony and Yell, Susan, Communication and Culture: An Introduction,
A very comprehensive treatment of the way meaning is generated by context, intertextuality, and discourse within culture and society. This book, unlike many critical thinking texts, is grounded in the insights of post-structuralist philosophy and will significantly assist your understanding of the way 'objective' truth is a construct of social processes as much as it is a property of objects in
Stefik, Mark, Internet Dreams: Archetypes, Myths, and Metaphors, MIT Press,
An eclectic collection of primary and secondary analysis of the early days of the Internet. Used here for the work of Licklider but an interesting commentary on why technologies of information and communication do not substitute for
Bowell, Tracy and Kemp, Gary, Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide, Routledge, Alternative book to the larger reasoning textbooks listed below: good concise
Browne, M. Neil and Keeley, Stuart M., Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 2003 (7th edn). An excellent book that organises its ideas around the key concept of analytical
Cederblom, Jerry and Paulsen, David W., Critical Reasoning, Wadsworth,
A large reasoning textbook that contains an excellent discussion of the problems
Dowden, Bradley H., Logical Reasoning, Wadsworth, Belmont, CA, 1998.
Another textbook with a particularly good chapter on explanations and on
Little, J. Frederick, Groarke, Leo A., and Tindale, Christopher W., Good
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