Clear Thinking

  by Hy Ruchlis

A Progressive Living Book Review

Representative Quotations

Mission Statement

"It is the purpose of this book to provide some basic principles of clear thinking and illustrate how they may be applied to avoid falling prey to many kinds of improper reasoning. Learning and using these principles may help improve reasoning ability, especially in solving the problems encountered in everyday situations."


"Some superstitions have fatal consequences. In 1989, a jury convicted the mother of a four-year-old child for starving the youngster to death. The mother had followed the advice of the leader of her religious sect: he suggested that she 'exorcise'the evil spirits from her child's body in this manner. In Mexico a gang of criminals periodically captured and executed young men in ritual murders to ward off bad luck."

"Let's put ourselves in the place of a student in an actual psychology experiment. We enter a room with seven other students and an instructor. The group is repeatedly shown a line and asked which of three other lines is the same length. After a few trials we are astonished when six students ahead of us declare that a line, which seems to us obviously longer, is the same length. The reason for this is unknown to us, but the instructor has asked all the others to lie about which line they think is the same.

"What should we do; stick to our own opinion and say what we think, or go along with the others so as not to seem 'different'?

"In a series of such experiments only about one-fourth of all student participants consistently stated what they believed to be true."

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