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Tools of Critical Thinking: Metathoughts for Psychology (2nd ed.)

David A. Levy

Waveland Press



This innovative text is designed to improve thinking skills through the application of 30 critical thinking principles—Metathoughts. These specialized tools and techniques are useful for approaching all forms of study, inquiry, and problem solving. Levy applies Metathoughts to a diverse array of issues in contemporary clinical, social, and cross-cultural psychology: identifying strengths and weaknesses in various schools of thought, defining and explaining psychological phenomena, evaluating the accuracy and usefulness of research studies, reducing logical flaws and personal biases, and improving the search for creative solutions. The Metathoughts are brought to life with practical examples, clinical vignettes, illustrations, anecdotes, thought-provoking exercises, useful antidotes, and contemporary social problems and issues.


Tools of Critical Thinking is primarily suited as a core textbook for courses in critical thinking/problem solving, or makes an ideal supplement in a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate psychology courses, including introductory psychology, abnormal psychology (psychopathology), cross-cultural psychology, theories and methods of psychotherapy, research methods and design, theories of personality, clinical practicum, and contemporary problems and issues in psychology.


"Levy’s style combines erudition with simplicity and earnestness with humor. . . . The result is a clear and compelling book, accessible to lay persons and mental health professionals alike.” — Thomas Szasz, State University of New York at Syracuse


“A remarkable book that masterfully teaches how to make us better at solving problems, at understanding events, at making decisions, and even at being creative. Read, learn, and have a good time doing it.”  

— Elizabeth F. Loftus, University of Washington


“David Levy has condensed both the wisdom of the ages and the findings of contemporary psychological science into a manageable set of principles (Metathoughts) that will notably improve the general quality of thought not only in clinical psychology and cognate areas but also across the broad expanse of scholarly and scientific endeavor.”  

— Robert C. Carson, Duke University


“Educators have criticized today’s students for their poor reasoning skills and faulty problem-solving abilities. Levy’s book will go considerable distance in closing these gaps by taking established scientific principles and making them accessible, useful, and entertaining!”  — Shelley E. Taylor, University of California at Los Angeles


“David Levy’s lucid and good-humored guide to thinking is impressive in its scope, practical in its applications, and involving in its pedagogy.”

— David G. Myers, Hope College


“Professors and teachers in psychology, philosophy, communication, and related fields should seriously consider adopting this text for their courses since today’s students could definitely use a good dose of bias busting and fallacy fixing. A definite ‘tool’ to add to one’s toolbox of skepticism.”  

— Michael Shermer, Skeptic


“This book is a wonderful addition to the bookshelf of anyone interested in thinking clearly. . . . Students, writers, and instructors alike will find this a gold mine of ideas about precise and clear thinking.”  

— Linda Riebel, Saybrook Institute


“A beautifully written book and indispensable tool for a wide range of psychology courses, certain to appeal to readers of all levels and diverse backgrounds. Instructors will value its systematic approach, comprehensive scope, and the plethora of stimulating and engaging exercises. Students will enjoy its lively writing style, vivid examples, and practical applications to everyday life. . . . The finest book on critical thinking in the field.”  

— L. Anne Peplau, University of California at Los Angeles

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