Jamie Hale

Jamie Hale

Friday, September 4, 2009

How We Know: A Guide To Reason

By Jamie Hale

How We Know: A Guide To Reason- this is the title of the new book Brian Jones (Author, University of Louisville Professor) and I are currently working on. I approached Jones with the idea of writing a book that goes a little further into analyzing information than the typical book on logic, knowledge acquisition, skepticism etc. There are tons of these books that do a good job explaining the philosophy of science, various methods of knowledge acquisition, logic and the importance of critical thinking. But there is a shortage of books that also explains scientific research methodology. Skeptics want to see evidence but often they lack the ability to adequately analyze the evidence. When referring to scientific data it’s important to distinguish between experimental and non-experimental research, causative vs. correlative etc. Scientific ideas, claims or ideas promoted by scientists should be analyzed and subjected to skeptical inquiry. You may be thinking “of course” this is part of the skeptic’s creed. It is supposed to be but I have spoken with many skeptics who commit the Appeal to Authority Fallacy (or Hero Fallacy) on a regular basis. Some skeptics also commit the Nonappeal to Non-authority Fallacy. This fallacy occurs when claims made by people not recognized as authorities are dismissed on the grounds of Non-authority. Each claim should stand on it’s own merit.

The book will be divided into two units 1- Science Matters 2- Understanding Scientific Research. What to expect:

What is Science
Science vs. Non-science
Scientific vs. Nonscientific Approaches to Knowledge
Skeptic vs. Cynic
Practical Skepticism
Are you a scientist?
Limitations of science
Fallacies associated with scientific terminology
Science of reason
Formal, symbolic and modern logic
Logical fallacies
How to Argue
Experimental vs. Non-experimental research
True and Quasi experiments
Internal and External Validity
Why science is the best method we have for acquiring knowledge
And more………………

There is mass confusion associated with defining science, what science does and how science works. Research results are often misconstrued and taken out of context. How many times have you heard a news reporter say “New research says” so and so. The type of research, the funding source, conflicting research, who conducted the research, the validity of the research etc are never considered. Most media sources are not concerned with truth or critical analysis. How We Know A Guide To Reason is concerned with truth and critical analysis. How do you know what you know? After reading How We Know A Guide To Reason you will be more confident in how you know.

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