’This text is ideal reading for those studying psychology, problem solving, philosophy, cognitive bias, research design, evidence based practice, and anyone curious about why we think, reason and make choices.’
Title: Thinking and Reasoning. A very Short Introduction
Author: Jonathan St B. T. Evans
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Reviewer: Kate Jack
What was it like?
This new addition to the “very short introduction” series is a highly readable and thought provoking read. The author explains that thinking generally involves searching for an outcome, which requires a process of reasoning. It was easy to dip in and out of the various chapters too.
What were the highlights?
A key feature that is not immediately obvious is the introduction of Bayes’ Theorem, which proposes that believing a hypothesis depends not just on the quality of the evidence but our prior beliefs too. This contrasts with the evidence based practice approach that relies solely on robust research design and data analysis, drawing on conclusions based on the emergent themes or p values.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Thus Bayesianism, a mathematically inspired philosophy, presents an alternative to the usual philosophical underpinnings of evidence based medicine by not demanding a confirmation or rejection of a null hypothesis, but instead considers the degree to which the results are subjectively believed. This approach may have strengths when explaining why some research findings seem not to apply to different populations or contexts. However this book is very psychology orientated, which may not appeal to all nurses.
Who should read it?
In essence, this book may leave the reader with more questions than answers, so it is a great starting point for exploring new concepts introduced at Masters level study and to signpost direction for future reading. This text is ideal reading for those studying psychology, problem solving, philosophy, cognitive bias, research design, evidence based practice, and anyone curious about why we think, reason and make choices.
thinking and reasoning