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A textbook on logic, critical thinking, and philosophy, for high school and college students. Updated, expanded, and free for everyone.
A textbook on logic, critical thinking, and philosophy, for high school and college students. Updated, expanded, and free for everyone.
174 backers pledged CA$ 5,799 to help bring this project to life.

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CA$ 5,799

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"Have courage to think for yourself! That is the motto of the Enlightenment."

--Immanuel Kant, "What is Enlightenment?" 1784

Three years ago, more than seven hundred backers successfully kickstarted a project to create a free college-level textbook in logic and critical thinking. And here it is, still free.

Since then, I've received helpful critical comments from many students and teachers, for how to improve the text, or how to use it in high schools and other situations. And the place for rationality in the public sphere has changed. So it's time to create a second edition.

We now have a greater social need for a book like this.

We live in a social and cultural environment where "alternative facts", "post truth", and “fake news”, has replaced truth, snarkiness has replaced debate, and the word reality itself serves only to get attention for various artificial contrivances (“reality TV”, “virtual reality”, “real fruit flavour!”).

Updating this book, and getting it into as many hands as possible for the lowest possible price-- as low as completely free, for the students-- looks to me like one way I can do something about this.

This little book might not change the world. But it will change the education of a few hundred students every year. You can help make that happen, by backing this project, and sharing it with everyone you know.

We also still have the original problem.

Commercially available textbooks are too expensive. Our first edition was free in its PDF edition, $0.99 on Kindle, and less than $8 for its print edition. The usual price of a college or university level intro-philosophy textbook runs to between $50 and $80. I still think that's too much-- especially given the other financial burdens that students today must bear.

I would like to hire designers, editors, and contributors, and together produce an elegantly designed and professionally written textbook, without passing the production costs on to the students. So I'm turning to Kickstarter, and to you, for help.

The Book

The first edition covered the following topics, all of which need to be updated:

  • Questions, Problems, and World Views
  • Good and Bad Thinking Habits
  • Basics of Argumentation
  • Fallacies
  • Reasonable Doubt
  • Moral Reasoning

For the second edition, I'm planning new chapters including:

  • Media literacy, propaganda, and disinformation.
  • Rhetoric and persuasion.
  • Science and scientific method.
  • Other topics as time and funding may allow, such as strategic reasoning, game theory, art and creativity, or health and wellness.

And as a stretch goal, we will create an inclusive outline history of world philosophy. And it, too, will be published electronically for free, and in paperback for the lowest possible price.

The People Behind The Book

All the writers and contributors who worked on the first edition are back on board for the second. We all have Ph.Ds in philosophy, and we all have 10-15 years of teaching experience each, at colleges and universities in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

And, as with the first edition, I will engage the services of Winter-Hebert Design Studio, for the cover and the interior layout.

The Backer Rewards

Obviously, you'll get the book itself, and an accompanying set of PowerPoint slides. Backers at higher levels will receive copies of my other books, and a chance to chat with me, in focus groups or via Skype, about the book and what you think should go in it.

My novels-- also fully funded by Kickstarter!
My novels-- also fully funded by Kickstarter!

 

And if we raise more than our target?

At $6,000, I will bring more writers and contributors into the project, so we can plan more chapters. And I will audio-record myself reading Socrates' Apology, as a dramatic performance, and publish it on YouTube and as an audio-book. (Besides philosophy, I also have a drama degree, and I've always wanted to do this. In fact I'm already rehearsing.)

At $10,000, I will continue to hire more contributors, and we will create a free outline history of world philosophy, and publish it as a separate book. Backers at all levels will receive the electronic edition; and backers who get a print copy of the logic book will have the option of receiving the history book instead. Backers who pledge $75 or more will have the option to get both books.

Above and beyond: I will pay for more contributors, and if funds allow then I will commission a French language translation.

The Budget

  • Remuneration to writers and contributors: $ 2,500
  • Cover design & interior layout: $ 800
  • Editor: $ 500
  • Printing and shipping books and backer rewards: $1,200*
  • Subtotal: $ 5,000
  • Kickstarter's cut, and bank fees: $ 400 (8% of subtotal)
  • Final total: $ 5,400.**

*Estimate for 100 books, mostly sent to Canada & the USA.

**Yes, my Kickstarter target is slightly less than the budget. I will cover the extra costs personally.

The Production Schedule

  • Kickstarter campaign: Jan 24 - Feb 22.
  • First draft complete and sent to focus groups: June 2017.
  • Reception of comments from focus groups: July 2017.
  • Final version of text complete: August 2017
  • Design work complete: October 2017.
  • Backer rewards start shipping: November 2017.

If we reach our stretch goal of $ 10,000, then we will aim to have the history book ready for the backers by December of 2017.

Thank you for your support!

Risks and challenges

Very few. Since the majority of backer rewards are delivered electronically, those rewards will not get lost in the mail. The print books will be drop-shipped directly from the printer, which reduces costs and hassles for me, and improves delivery time for you.

I'm going to use CreateSpace.com as my printer. It's an Amazon company, so if it goes bankrupt, it will be because the entire internet has crashed, and we'll all have bigger problems than an unfulfilled Kickstarter campaign. (But, yes, I do have a local printer ready to take over if needed.)

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1 or more About $0.75

    Basic Supporter

    Pledgers at any level at all will receive an electronic copy of the text, and all the PowerPoint slides that go with it, and my deep gratitude.

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    Pledge CA$ 20 or more About $15

    Full Supporter

    Pledgers will receive a paperback copy of the book, as well as electronic copies of the PowerPoint slides.

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    104 backers
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    Pledge CA$ 50 or more About $38

    Focus-Group Supporter

    Pledgers will receive a paperback copy of the book, electronic copies of the PowerPoint slides, and an early-bird electronic copy of the first complete (unedited) draft, so that you can comment on the text and suggest ways to improve it. I will also include your name in the acknowledgements section, as a special thank-you.

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    Pledge CA$ 75 or more About $56

    Patron of Art and Science

    You'll get all the above rewards, as well as one copy of ANY of my other books that you choose. Check out my personal web site for a list of my in-print titles.

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    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $75

    Extraordinary Supporter

    Pledgers will get all the above, plus half an hour of my time on Skype, to discuss your suggestions for the book.

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    2 backers
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    Pledge CA$ 250 or more About $188

    Patron of Basically Everything

    I don't seriously expect anyone to pledge this level. But if you do, you'll receive all the above rewards, and a SIGNED copy of any THREE of my other books.

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Funding period

- (30 days)