UPDATE: I have found a new open source text. I decided to go with the jointly co-authored Clear and Present Thinking. Over at Brendan Myers' website you can find a host of resources if you adopt this text. In it, I'd like to see some more exercises, some social psychology in the habits section, and an entire chapter on scientific reasoning. With that said, it's an impressive start; it's a bit more friendly to first-time learners.. I'd also like to see some more creativity in traditional curriculum--such as text boxes or exercises near central points made in the chapters. For instance, when I teach enthymemes, I have students add unstated reasons in argument reconstruction of letters to the editor that are not very clear. A good rule of thumb, I think, is that for every formal element of logic introduced in critical thinking there should also be one illustration of its application in an everyday situation.
I'll also add that it's not perfect, but the fact that a community of philosophers made this book independently of publishers needs to be lauded. The perfect text is somewhere between Woods and Myers. I just need to figure out what that may be.
I would like to set up a massive collaborative effort in creating modules to modify and add additional chapters to Cathal Woods’ Introduction to Reasoning. In fact, I am thinking that a lot more about things like confirmation bias and the psychology of reasoning could be added. However, I also wanted to elicit your reactions. What should be added?
Of course, this question always comes at the heels of spending a year developing a critical thinking class only to loathe the textbook I used and the impending question from the bookstore about which textbooks I’ll use next year. What I find intriguing about Woods’ efforts is that Introduction to Reasoning is open-source. That means we can add to it, but also says something about academia. We are held by the power of publishers. We should not be constrained. As content experts, we can fight back against the power of publishers and generate our own texts.
So here’s the proposal. Take a look at the Introduction to Reasoning text. Think about what it needs and discuss it below. If anyone knows of other open-source texts in critical thinking, list them below as well.