Open Source Critical Thinking Textbook Pdf

The Reviews


English & Composition

Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all. -Walt Whitman

Textbook: Exploring Perspectives: A Concise Guide to Analysis

Author: Randall Fallows
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Sarah Zale, Associate Faculty, Shoreline Community College

 Reviewer's Comments
This textbook is recommended for Community College level composition classes. The main reason is its pedagogical perspective that writing is a recursive rather than linear process, an act of discovery with a thesis that evolves and expands in complexity. Fallows balances the merits of academic inquiry, which requires the vetting of sources and their authors, with the style of the personal essay, encouraging personal reflection with use of “I” and analysis of personal biases. While giving attention to reflection, critical thinking, discovery, development, and revision of an analytical essay, Fallows also helps the student with basic writing skills such as diction, syntax variety, and sentence combining

Textbook: Frameworks for Academic Writing

Author: Steven Poulter
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Melissa Warren, Full-time Faculty, University of Phoenix
Review Date: December, 2016
Full review

Reviewer's Comments
I absolutely recommend this book. The textbook is a guide for a writing workshop in which students complete the exercises from the book in their teacher’s presence so the instructor can coach the students through each exercise. The author hypothesizes that English teachers see writing in a holistic manner and students see writing in a linear manner, and the exercises and tutorials in this book bridge the gap between the way teachers see writing and the way students see writing. The scaffolding provided in this book is perfect for novice and advanced writers alike. The prompts are remarkably open ended and usefully for essay writing for any academic discipline.

Textbook: Methods of Discovery: A Guide to Research Writing

Author: Pavel Zemliansky, Ph.D
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Marc Barnhill - Lecturer, New York University; The City University of New YorkK/span>

*Average of all chapters. Maximum rating is 5.0 Reviewer's Comments
I recommend this book. Overall, the book is well thought-out and usefully organized, with a highly readable and engaging presentation and carefully chosen examples to introduce and illustrate concepts. The book presents a very accurate account of the nature of research writing that is highly consistent with the needs of freshman writers and the demands of research projects.

Textbook: Online Technical Writing

Author: David A. McMurrey
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Marie Highby - Senior Technical Editor, Synopsys, Inc.

*Average of all chapters. Maximum rating is 5.0.Reviewer's Comments
I recommend this online text as the required primary textbook for community college students who plan to major in technical subjects or technical writing.  Having this textbook online is a major resource. This text's content is so similar to most of the leading technical writing textbooks that it can easily be used as a substitute for one of them.  Strengths include the range of examples, easy-to-read style, modularity, and the detailed nature of its instructional content.

Textbook: The Process of Research Writing

Author: Steven D. Krause
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: David Cole, Publisher, Bay Tree Publishing

*Average of all chapters. Maximum rating is 5.0.Reviewer's Comments
This book thoroughly introduces the methods, tools, and process of writing a research paper. It presents concepts systematically and clearly with models and examples. Students are well served by working through this book from beginning to end and doing the exercises. Instructors who want to provide their own exercises and/or examples may customize the text. However, because this book adopts a process-oriented approach, students with divergent learning styles may find the text hard to use.

Textbook: The Process of Research Writing

Author: Steven D. Krause
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Christine Sibley, Technology Librarian - Faculty, Ohlone Community College District

*Average of all chapters. Maximum rating is 5.0.Reviewer's Comments
I recommend this book for community college students, trade schools, vocational schools, and remedial students that are required to perform academic writing and research. This text shows strength in the teaching of the academic research writing processes, and is an instrumental tool that would improve and create an understanding for community college level academic writing and research. The author's teaching approach is energetic and the exercises are nice reinforcements of the theories and curriculum being taught. The text PDF version, the one reviewed, is visually appealing and easy to read.

Textbook: Rhetoric and Composition: A Guide for the College Writer

Author: Barton, et. al.
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Mark Barnhill, Lecturer, New York University

*Average of all chapters. Maximum rating is 5.0.Reviewer's Comments
I recommend this book. The reading level is entirely appropriate to first-year or even remedial community college students; neither overly challenging nor simplistic, and adequate contextual clues are provided for potentially unfamiliar vocabulary and references. The textbook is a remarkably clear and understandable overview of the various aspects of the writing process, and is notably good at explaining to students the conventions and expectations of the academic world regarding writing and revision.

Textbook: Style for Students Online: Effective Technical Writing in the Information Age (2009)

Author: Joe Schall
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Alena Hairston, MFA, English Professor, Solano Community College

*Average of all chapters. Maximum rating is 5.0.Reviewer's Comments
I recommend this textbook. Overall, the text is smoothly formatted and concisely comprehensive, including the author's "Sins of the Pen," a postscript of sorts at the end of the text wherein the author with much wit discusses the writing and learning process. The manual offers depth in terms of concepts and issues covered while keeping the material manageable. Outside resources are often varied, relevant, useful. Science and math majors will greatly benefit from the text. In addition, there are very useful modules on professional etiquette.

Textbook: Style for Students Online: Effective Technical Writing in the Information Age

Author: Joe Schall
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Joy Zhao, Ph.D., Professor of English, El Camino College

*Average of all chapters. Maximum rating is 5.0.Reviewer's Comments
I recommend this book. It has a comprehensive coverage of English and writing for various disciplines. Its language is plain, non-technical, and easy to follow. Almost every part of its 10 chapters contains helpful academic and professional links or downloadable files for "Self Study," which is highly useful for teaching as well. It provides smooth navigation and flexible organization, both of which make it easy for any instructor to select what is needed and adapt. I also recommend this e-book for its open and generous spirit, which has a motivating and nurturing effect on (student) readers.

Textbook: Three Modules on Clear Writing Style: An Introduction to the Craft of Argument

Author: Joseph M. Williams and Gregory Colomb
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Alena Hairston, MFA, English Professor, Solano Community College

*Average of all chapters. Maximum rating is 5.0.Reviewer's Comments
I recommend this textbook. The overall content is very good. It is most appropriate for college-level technical disciplines such as sciences and math. Instructors can re-purpose content for less technical areas, as well as supplement this material with writing instruction germane to humanities and social sciences. It has a strong technical-writing focus and modules emphasize problem-solution writing. Prose is concise yet effective.

Textbook: Writing Skills for Business English: Training for NGO Staff

Author: Commonwealth of Learning
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Frances Lord, Adjunct Instructor of English, Lake Tahoe Community College

*Average of all chapters. Maximum rating is 5.0.Reviewer's Comments
I would recommend this open textbook for a remedial English composition class or as an introduction to business writing. Bits and pieces could be used in a first year community college composition course for English, communications, and business students. For a remedial composition class or an introduction to business writing course, this could be used as a required primary textbook. Because the text was created in India, the spelling is British English, which could throw some students off. In addition, a few sections are very specifically written for people writing community relation pieces or proposals for funding.

Textbook: Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing Volume 1

Author: Edited by Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Frances Lord, Adjunct English Instructor, Lake Tahoe Community College

*Average of all chapters. Maximum rating is 5.0.Reviewer's Comments
This text is designed for and would be extremely helpful to first year community college writing students. It is possible to integrate chapters into any writing course. The text discusses a nice variety of topics related to many aspects of the writing process. The tone of the chapters is casual and the writing is directed towards the student with various contemporary examples. It would be fantastic to have the text be a required supplementary text. As it is free, it would be completely appropriate for it to be required.

Textbook: Writing Spaces: Readings on Writings, Volume 2

Author(s): Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky, eds.
Textbook URL:
Reviewer: Amie Seidman, Assistant Professor of English, Bainbridge College
Review Date: December 2011

*Average of all chapters. Maximum rating is 5.0.Reviewer's Comments
This book is recommended for first-year composition courses at either four-year or two-year colleges. It is appropriate for any major program, as most students are required to take an entry-level English class. The book is a collection of 21 essays by various authors, spanning a variety of topics related to writing. It is well organized, ranging from very broad to very specific. The editors have done a nice job grouping similar topics together, and the TOC makes this clear. One could use this as the sole or primary text for a course; it provides useful information on rhetorical analysis as well as basic formatting information. However, since the chapters are all stand-alone essays, it would also be appropriate to extract specific essays as a supplementary reference.

Highly Recommended

Cathal Woods Introduction to Reasoning. A critical thinking textbook, covers propositional and categorical logic, real world reasoning, and inductive logic. I use this in my critical thinking class. Between this and For All X you can cover all the traditional topics in logic and critical thinking courses.

Other Online Logic Textbooks

Paul Teller A Modern Formal Logic Primer Originally published in 1989 by Prentice Hall, this book fell out of print and the copyright was returned to the author. Teller then generously put the whole thing on line for free. There is some old free software associated with this text, which I could not get to work on my windows 64-bit machine, despite the inclusion of material that is supposed to help me do just that.

Tony Roy Symbolic Logic: An Accessible Introduction to Serious Mathematical Logic Roy has put the .pdf files for this text online for free with a note saying to give him feedback if you use the material. There are no source files or creative commons license.

This book was written as an introductory text for student who are going on to more advanced courses. The original version introduced sentential and predicate logic together, but now you can download a version of the early chapters that just covers sentential logic. The second half of the book is all about metalogic, including soundness and completeness results for various systems.

Paul Herrick Introduction to Logic Although this was designed in conjunction with an open access course, the text is not completely free. The electronic version is $30 from CourseSmart, because the author waived his royalties. The paper version is $60 from Oxford University Press. The whole thing is wrapped in DRM, so you can’t just pass around a .pdf file or edit the original source files to your liking.

The chief advantage of this book is the wealth of free online materials. The open courseware for the book lets you download an angel package containing a couple dozen quizzes and exams, PowerPoints, online lectures and links to the videos Herrick made on Youtube, like this one. The videos are well produced and shot in pretty outdoor locations. There doesn’t seem to be a Youtube channel or other portal that gathers them together, though. Additional resources are available at the webpage for Herrick’s previous logic textbook, The many worlds of logic

Ian Barland, et al. Intro to Logic Written for a logic course in the computer science department at Rice University. It begins by trying to motivate the study of logic using a deceptive proof that 90 = 100. Students are meant to see the need for logic to understand what is wrong with the proof.

Wikibooks Formal Logic For math-oriented students. Begins with a discussion of set theory.

Institutions with open logic courses

MIT: Logic 1: 24.241 Not much here. Class based on Bergmann, Merrie, James Moor, and Jack Nelson. The Logic Book. Contains homework exercises with answers, tests without answers, and outlines of lectures. Homework exercises often just ask you to work certain problems in the book.

Carnegie Mellon: Logic and Proofs

Logic Software and Teaching Websites

Lok C. Chan’sLogic is a course website with interactive materials for categorical, sentential and quantificational logic.

Christian Gottschall’sGateway to Logic has a truth table builder, proof checker, several proof builders, including one that works with the axioms from Principia Mathematica. The Fitch-style proof builder is compatible with For All X, the Lorain County Remix

Wandering Mango Deductions says it is compatible with many textbooks. Website does not seem to be working properly.

Peter Smith’sLogic matters contains support materials for Smith’s three logic texts and the very helpful LaTeX for Logicians pages.

Colin Allen and Chris Manzel’sLogic Daemon has a proof checker and other material for use with the Logic Primer textbook by Allen and Michael Hand.

General Logic and Critical Thinking Resources

The Inquiry Project

Fallacy Files

Introduction to Reasoning by Cathal Woods. See my note under the heading “Highly Recommended” above.

General Opencourseware Pages

Open Culture’s list of 500 free online courses

Open Culture’s list of 150 free textbooks.

Yale Open Courseware. I strongly recommend the Greek history course taught by Donald Kagan. I listened to his lectures during my commute one semester and it filled in a lot of my knowledge of the historical background for ancient philosophy. Death taught by Shelly Kagan and Tamar Gendler’s course on the science of human nature have video and audio. No logic classes yet.

Peter Adamson’s History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps This is my favoritest philosophy resource online. I generally listen to new episodes as soon as they are available. Adamson gives you lively and funny tour that lets you know about all those parts of the history of philosophy that got skipped in school.

MIT Open Courseware They have some content for almost all their linguistics and philosophy courses, but sometimes it is just lecture notes. About a dozen courses have multimedia content. The logic class doesn’t have much content.

Webcast.Berkeley  Courses by Searle and the philosophy of language and society, and by John Campbell on the philosophy of mind. No logic courses.

Utah State University


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