Spark your Critical Thinking

A site for people who are sick and tired of listening to bulls**t and want to learn the basics of reasoning. Learn intellectual self-defense to protect yourself against manipulation and sophistry.

straw man fallacy

The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position and then starts to attack it. View full →

ad hominem

Attacking the person making the argument, rather than the argument itself, when the attack on the person is completely irrelevant to the argument the person is making. View full →

loaded question

A question that has a presupposition built in, which implies something but protects the one asking the question from accusations of false claims. View full →

shifting burden of proof

When a person making a claim shifts the burden of prooving the claim is true onto someone else to disprove it. View full →

false dichotomy

When only two choices are presented yet more exist, or a spectrum of possible choices exists between two extremes. View full →

no true scotsman

When a universal claim is refuted ("no Scotsman would do such a thing"), the claim is altered without giving any objective criteria ("no TRUE Scotsman would do such a thing"). View full →

appeal to authority

Using an authority as evidence in your argument when the authority is not really an authority on the facts relevant to the argument. View full →

Concepts

Useful ideas to help with thinking

As well as knowing some key common logical fallacies to bust out whenever bad thinking strikes, it might also be useful to familiarise yourself with some terms or concepts that help to explain what is going on in more depth. These concepts will also help to improve your CT skills and sharpen your mind.

Have you ever asked yourself: What is truth value? What is an interlocutor? what is a syllogism? Well fear no more! The answers to these burning questions can be found on the concepts page. Explore them at your heart’s content!

View Concepts →

Videos

Some picks from the web

Funny, witty, deep, for those who prefer learning through video, here are some hand picked selections from the internet. If you think there are some great critical thinking videos we need to know about – give us a shout, we’d love to here about them. view more →

Music

Cool songs

Creating a culture around CT can be fun! Check out some of these songs to see for yourself. The 21st Century Monads are an international musical collaboration whose songs address fundamental issues in philosophy. Check them out! view more →

Watch what you say

by: 21st Century Monads

Who Is Your Interlocutor?

by: 21st Century Monads

The G. E. Moore Shift

by: 21st Century Monads

Links

Top sites

There are some great critical thinking resources out there: blogs and community sites where you can download ebooks, posters, podcasts and lots more. view more →

Books

Great reads

For those that prefer reading on paper than on screen, there are lots of great books on critical thinking out there. Read on your way to work or buy as a present for a loved one. What says I love you more than giving a gift on intellectual self-defense! view more →

On Bullshit

A #1 New York Times bestsller. One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Harry G. Frankfurt, one of the world's most influential moral philosophers, with his characteristic combination of acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, proceeds by exploring how bullshit and humbug are distinct from lying.

On Truth

Having outlined a theory of bullshit and falsehood, Harry G. Frankfurt turns to what lies beyond them: the truth, a concept not as obvious as some might expect. Our culture's devotion to bullshit may seem much stronger than our apparently halfhearted attachment to truth. Some people, including professional thinkers, won't even acknowledge "true" and "false" as meaningful categories, and even those who claim to love truth cause the rest of us to wonder whether they, too, aren't simply full of it.

Intellectual Self-defense

What is the relationship between democracy and critical thinking? What must a citizen in a democracy know to make the word democracy meaningful? In A Short Course in Intellectual Self-Defense, historian and educator Normand Baillargeon provides readers with the tools to see through the spin and jargon of everyday politics and news reporting in order to decide for themselves what is at stake and how to ask the necessary questions to protect themselves from the manipulations of the government and the media.