HWS Professor’s Textbook on Critical Thinking Published – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS Professor’s Textbook on Critical Thinking Published

What is argument? Critical thinking in the real world is the topic of a new textbook by Professor of Philosophy Steven Lee.

February 1, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.- Steven Lee, professor of philosophy, has had a textbook in critical thinking titled What is the Argument? Critical Thinking in the Real World published (McGraw-Hill, 2002). The phrase “the real world” refers, in part, to the hundreds of letters-to-the-editor Lee got permission to use as examples and exercises in the text. From a pool of approximately 1,200 letters from newspapers from across the country, Lee used more than 600 letters on topics ranging from politics, education, cultural issues, the arts and sciences, law, racial and ethnic issues, economics, and military matters, to sports, animals, the environment, sex and gender issues, reproduction, smoking, health care, drinking and drugs, and the Internet.

What is the Argument? Critical Thinking in the Real World builds on the support relationship in defining arguments and presents a tree diagramming method for illustration. The book includes a comprehensive method of argument evaluation, singling out value arguments, and provides a natural transition between the informal and formal features of a critical thinking course. Supplements to the book include an instructor's CD-ROM, as well as an additional chapter, “Extended Arguments,” that expands the book’s methods of argument analysis to coverage of critical writing.

“The main strengths of What Is the Argument? are dealing with real-life arguments on topics relevant to students, a unified approach to argument evaluation, and connecting argument evaluation with argument construction,” said Mark Schersten, of Siena Heights University.

Lee's previous works include a collaboration with his colleagues Larry Campbell, professor of physics, Paul Crumlish, HWS librarian, Michael Dobkowski, professor of religious studies, and Peter Beckman, professor emeritus of political science, titled The Nuclear Predicament: Nuclear Weapons in the Cold War and Beyond (Prentice-Hall, 1992). Together they have revised their work to reflect the changes brought to nuclear issues by the end of the Cold War, in a book titled The Nuclear Predicament: Nuclear Weapons in the Twenty-First Century (Prentice-Hall, 2000). Lee has also written Morality, Prudence, and Nuclear Weapons (1993), Nuclear Weapons and the Future of Humanity: The Fundamental Questions (1986), as well as numerous articles on the strategic and ethical issues surrounding nuclear weapons and social and economic justice.

Lee hold a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Delaware, and a doctoral degree from York University. He joined the faculty of Hobart and William Smith in 1981, and was promoted to professor in 1991.