When I was younger, I often found myself disagreeing with something I’d read or heard, but couldn't explain exactly why. Despite being unable to pinpoint the precise reasons, I had a strong sense that the rules of logic were being violated.
After I was exposed to critical thinking in high school and university, I learned to recognize problematic arguments, whether they be a straw man, an appeal to authority, or an ad hominem attack. Faulty arguments are all-pervasive, and the mental biases that underlie them pop up in media coverage, college classes, and armchair theorizing. Want to learn how to avoid them? Look no further than Critical Reasoning For Beginners, the top rated iTunesU collection of lectures led by Oxford University’s Marianne Talbot.