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. The author presents and shows how to debug numerous currently relevant real world examples. Innovative discussion questions provide the reader an opportunity to practice and be actively involved. The objective throughout is pedagogy, not partisanship: to help the reader better understand current events, better evaluate public policy, and better identify the rhetoric in partisan debates. The second part of the book also provides “Basic Knowledge for Decision-Making and Evaluating Policy” which is a whirlwind course in concepts and methods that any intelligent citizen may apply in order to make informed decisions about policy proposals.
David H. Goldenberg is independent researcher and author of Derivatives Markets.
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