This timely book discusses the numerous forms of flawed reasoning that currently plague the realm of public discourse both in the United States and abroad. It provides and develops a working knowledge of the skills needed to distinguish between rhetorical claims and evidence-based claims. David H. Goldenberg presents and shows how to debug many currently relevant real world examples. Innovative discussion questions provide the reader an opportunity to practice and be actively involved. The second part of the book delves into concepts and methods that any intelligent citizen may apply in order to make informed decisions about policy proposals. The objective throughout is pedagogy, not partisanship: to help the reader better understand current events, better identify the rhetoric in partisan debates, and better evaluate public policy.
David H. Goldenberg is an independent researcher experienced in detecting and correcting logical fallacies and rhetoric with evidence and data analysis. He is also the author of Derivatives Markets and the editor of Financial Derivatives.
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Introduction: An Evidence-Based versus a Rhetoric-Based Approach to Understanding Public Policy
Part 1: Logic and Evidence versus Fallacies and Rhetoric
OneWhat Is an Evidence-Based Approach? Can Non-Existence be Proven?
TwoWhat Is an Evidence-Based Approach? Is Non-Proportionality Discrimination?
ThreeBasic Logic and Fallacies: Necessary versus Sufficient Conditions
FourEvidence, Economic Data, and How to Find It
SixEvidence: What it Is, What it Is Not
SevenFallacies Based on Personal Attack
Part 2: Basic Knowledge for Decision-Making and Evaluating Policy
EightMaking Good Decisions and Good Policy: Relative versus Absolute, Opportunity Costs, and Marginalism
NineCertainty versus Uncertainty: Multiple Factors, Multiple Uncertain Outcomes, Polls and Their Interpretation
TenIndividual Preferences and Opportunities, and the State’s Role: Capitalism, Communism, (Democratic) Socialism, and the Welfare State
About the Author