Preface to the Second Edition

A Guide to Good Reasoning is now twenty-one.  It has come of age, and is taking a new last name:  Cultivating Intellectual Virtues.  This highlights the appreciation that many have expressed for the book’s emphasis on virtues such as intellectual honesty, critical reflection, and empirical inquiry as a foundation for implementing its unified system of explicating and evaluating arguments of all sorts.

This edition features updates and clarifications, while retaining the many features that have made it distinctive for its philosophical care and practical value.  You will still find sections, for example, on conversational implicature and judgmental heuristics, on explicating arguments as though the arguer were looking over your shoulder, and on evaluating them as though an honest objector were looking over your shoulder.

Students learn to always ask—in addition to whether their attitude exhibits intellectual virtues—whether any argument satisfies four conditions of fit: whether the premises fit the world, whether the conclusion fits the premises, whether the argument fits the conversation, and whether it is possible to tell.  And they also learn that the notoriously unruly miscellany we call fallacies can be brought under control when each is identified with lapsing either in one these four categories or in intellectual virtue.

I am profoundly grateful to the University of Minnesota Libraries for publishing this second edition, and to Shane Nackerud for his unfailingly cheerful, creative, and intelligent editorial assistance throughout the project.  I, of course, remain in the debt of all of my friends and colleagues at UCLA who made such important contributions to the first edition, especially David Kaplan.  And I thank Webster University for providing my intellectual home for the nearly two decades since.

David Carl Wilson


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A Guide to Good Reasoning: Cultivating Intellectual Virtues Copyright © 2020 by David Carl Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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