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Clear And Present Thinking: A Free College-level Logic Text's video poster

University textbooks cost too much. So I've been writing my own - a critical thinking & logic book - to give to my students for free. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on July 7, 2012.

University textbooks cost too much. So I've been writing my own - a critical thinking & logic book - to give to my students for free.

About this project

(Pour la version française, faites défiler la page.)

If you took a course in philosophy or critical thinking at college or university, you paid an average of $70 for your textbook. I think that's too much, especially for students who have to choose between food and the rent, two or three times a year, like a lot of my students. Yet the cost of these books never goes down, because students are a captive market.

So, I've been writing my own textbook, so that my students don't have to buy one. I'd like to expand and improve it and then make it available to the whole world, for free.

This Kickstarter campaign will allow me to bring in more contributors, get more research resources, and hire designers and artists and translators, so that we can put together a very high quality teaching tool, and make it available to every student in the world.

The final product will be a series of pdf downloads for students, and a series of powerpoint slideshows and a test bank for teachers. I will also create a print-on-demand hardcopy option for those who want one, to be sold at the lowest  possible price.

And the more money we raise, the more we will do. If we go beyond the target of $5,000 then we'll be able to create more foreign-language editions, and create an audio version. If we raise a lot more than the target, we'll create a series of YouTube videos, or possibly a smartphone app, all depending on how much is raised.

So, if you agree that college textbooks are far too expensive, and you would like to help lower the cost of education for people in need; if you believe that knowledge is exciting, and should be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible; if you think that good critical thinking skills really do matter; then please support this project.

Thank you, most sincerely, for your support!

Our First Stretch Goal:

If we raise $10,000, then I will create an Audiobooks edition, in the form of a series of MP3's, and I will create a French language edition.  All backers will receive the text in their choice of English or French.

Furthermore, I will email the finished MP3's to everyone who pledges $50 or more.

Our Second Stretch Goal:

If we raise $15,000, I will hire a few actors and we will create a dramatic reading of some of the works of Plato, including the Apology, the Euthyphro, and important scenes in the Republic. These works are read by just about every first-year philosophy student in the world, so they are good choices. I will also produce a study guide to accompany them.

I'm also open to suggestions about other texts to dramatize this way. Please use the comments section under Update #6 to make suggestions. We will create as many of them as the money will allow.


Si vous avez pris un cours de philosophie ou de la pensée critique au CÉGEP ou universitaire, vous avez payé une moyenne de 70 $ pour votre manuel. Je pense que c'est trop. Il est particulièrement trop pour les étudiants qui doivent choisir entre la nourriture ou le loyer, deux ou trois fois par an, comme beaucoup de mes élèves. Pourtant, le coût de ces livres ne se couche jamais, parce que les étudiants sont un marché captif.

Alors, j'ai écrit mon propre manuel, de sorte que mes élèves n'ont pas à en acheter un. Je voudrais élargir et l'améliorer et le rendre accessible à tout le monde, gratuitement.

Avec Kickstarter, j'apporter plus de contributeurs, obtenir des ressources de recherche de plus, et embauchent des designers et des artistes et des traducteurs, afin que nous puissions mettre sur pied un outil de très haute qualité d'enseignement, et le rendre disponible à tous les étudiants dans le monde.

Le produit final sera une série de téléchargements pdf pour les étudiants, et une série de diaporamas PowerPoint et un banc d'essai pour les enseignants. Je vais également créer une option d'impression à la demande sur papier pour ceux qui veulent un, pour être vendu à plus bas prix possible.

Et le plus d'argent nous élevons, plus nous allons faire. Si nous allons au-delà de la cible de 5000 $, alors nous serons en mesure de créer plus de langues étrangères éditions, et de créer une version audio. Si nous soulevons un plus grand nombre que la cible, nous allons créer une série de vidéos YouTube, ou peut-être une application smartphone, tout dépend de combien est soulevée.

Donc, si vous êtes d'accord que les manuels scolaires des collèges sont beaucoup trop chers, et que vous souhaitez pour aider à réduire le coût de l'éducation pour les personnes dans le besoin, si vous croyez que la connaissance est passionnante, et devrait être aussi accessible que possible à autant de personnes que possible, si vous pensez que de bonnes habiletés de pensée critique vraiment question; alors s'il vous plaît soutien ce projet.

Je vous remercie, très sincèrement, pour votre assistance!


  • Yes. I will also seek quality certifications from other sources, such as the Quebec Ministry of Education.

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  • Although this is subject to change, here's what I have in mind right now.

    A. Basics and Methods

    1. World Views, Questions, and Other Basics
    2. Some Bad Thinking Habits: Peer Pressure, Stereotyping, etc.
    3. Some Good Thinking Habits: Courage, Self-Awereness, Precision, Subtlety, etc.
    4. Arguments
    5. Reasonable Doubt
    6. Fallacies
    7. Deductions / Propositional Logic
    8. Deductions / Category Logic
    9. Inductions / Statistics and Probability

    B. Topics and Themes

    10. Strategic Thinking, Games, and Prisoner's Dilemmas
    11. Thinking about Ethics / Personal Relationships
    12. Thinking about Religion
    13. Thinking about Politics
    14. Thinking about Economics
    15. Thinking about Science
    16. Thinking about the Arts
    17. Thinking about The Mass Media
    18. Glossary.

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  • The number of contributors I can bring into the project (and of course how much I can pay them) will depend on the funds raised. I have already contacted almost everyone I want to work with, and if I meet the minimum goal then those are the only people I will be able to include. But if we raise lots more money, then send me your C.V.

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  • Yes. I am in touch with several businesses, a game design studio, and a seminary, all of which plan to use it for employee training and related purposes.

    Remember, everyone benefits when more people are able to think, communicate, and problem-solve with rationality and heart.

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  • Yes, but let's see how successful this campaign goes first.

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  • I serve as a professor at a CEGEP in western Quebec. Every student in all 48 CEGEPs must take at least 3 philosophy courses, or 3 humanities courses, or some combination thereof. I will work to get my textbook into all of those courses. And if we are successful, we will have lowered the education costs for approximately 192,000 people every year, (that's 48 colleges times an average student population of 4,000). Ten years down the road, that's a million students.

    That's ambitious, I know. But everyone benefits when more people are able to think and communicate with clarity and rationality and heart. So let's aim high!

    Besides my own college, there's also hundreds of colleges, universities, seminaries, business training schools, and other groups that can use this resource!

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  • It's a special kind of general and professional college, unique to the Canadian province of Quebec, in which I serve as a professor of philosophy and humanities.

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  • Actually, at the kind of college where I work, publishing is not one of my responsibilities. I am evaluated and/or promoted only on the basis of my teaching. So if I want to do something like this, I have to do it on my own.

    Although creating course materials is one of my responsibilities, I'm planning something a little bigger than what most professors do. Most home made course packs are plain typed notes designed to accompany a commercial text (which you still have to buy), or they are grainy photocopied pages from out-of-print texts that your prof used when he or she was a student.

    "Clear and Present Thinking" will have all the production values you expect from a commercial textbook. For example, it will be professionally designed and illustrated. And it will have more of these features, if the funding allows. But none of the cost of these features will be borne by students.

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  • Yes. And that's another reason why I'm writing my own. Mine will be a little different. As mentioned in the video, "it's not just about analyzing concepts..."

    Most of my students are in some kind of professional program (nursing, early childhood care, business management, etc.), and very few of them are going on to become philosophy majors. So, the book will tend to emphasize the principles of good critical thinking that everyone needs in their personal and professional lives.

    Thus there will be some discussion of formal logic principles, as other critical thinking textbooks have. But there will also be a lot of material about things like:

    -reasonable doubt,

    - evaluating one's own world view; avoiding conflicts that arise from differing world views,

    - asking the best questions,

    - identifying scams or conspiracy theories,

    - constructively debating things in a public forum,

    - handling negotiations (contracts, business deals, etc.)

    - creating evidence-based best practices,

    - resisting psychological manipulation,

    - and more!

    The point is to help promote mature democratic citizenship, and to help people get along with each other peacefully and constructively, and to enrich your intellectual and emotional life. If you believe such things are important, then please spread the word!

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  • At this time, the plan is to release the book under one of the various Creative Commons licenses, and I'm doing some research to pick the right one for the project. The idea is to make it permissible for anyone to use and distribute the book, as long as the text is not altered, no one sells a copy for money, and the authorship is still credited to me and the other contributors.

    For more information about Creative Commons licensing, click here:

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  • You selected
    Pledge $7 or more

    316 backers

    You get the book itself in PDF format, and a press kit (also in PDF) that you can use to lobby your professor to use this free textbook instead of a more expensive one from a mainline publisher.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    40 backers

    I'll send you the book and the press kit in PDF, and a card in the mail, with a personalized message of thanks.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    200 backers

    You get the thank-you card, the book in PDF and in hard copy, and the press kit in hardcopy as well. And I'll also throw in the PowerPoint slides. AND I'll also put your name in the book as a project backer, with my thanks for your support!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    116 backers

    You get all of the above, and I'll also give you a copy of "Iron Age", the political strategy game that I invented as a critical thinking and social justice exercise for my students. Not just the plain-text Kindle edition - I'll give you the awesome illustrated print edition! See my web site for more info.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    11 backers

    You get all the previous rewards, and your choice of any of my other previous books. And I'll sign it for you!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    5 backers

    I'll send you all the above, and in case you haven't got enough stuff to read I'll also send you a printed copy of my doctoral thesis, "Time and the Land: Four Approaches to Environmental Ethics, Climate Change, and Future Generations" (NUI Galway, 2005). This text is not published anywhere, and you can't download it from an archive, so it's a very limited edition.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)