Whether regarded as a science, an art, or a skill–and it can properly be regarded as all three–logic is the basis of our ability to think, analyze, argue, and communicate. Indeed, logic goes to the very core of what we mean by human intelligence. In this concise, crisply readable book, distinguished professor D. Q. McInerny offers an indispensable guide to using logic to advantage in everyday life. Written explicitly for the layperson, McInerny’s Being Logical promises to take its place beside Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style as a classic of lucid, invaluable advice.
As McInerny notes, logic is a deep, wide, and wonderfully varied field, with a bearing on every aspect of our intellectual life. A mastery of logic begins with an understanding of right reasoning–and encompasses a grasp of the close kinship between logical thought and logical expression, a knowledge of the basic terms of argument, and a familiarity with the pitfalls of illogical thinking. Accordingly, McInerny structures his book in a series of brief, penetrating chapters that build on one another to form a unified and coherent introduction to clear and effective reasoning.
At the heart of the book is a brilliant consideration of argument–how an argument is founded and elaborated, how it differs from other forms of intellectual discourse, and how it critically embodies the elements of logic. McInerny teases out the subtleties and complexities of premises and conclusions, differentiates statements of fact from statements of value, and discusses the principles and uses of every major type of argument, from the syllogistic to the conditional. In addition, he provides an incisive look at illogical thinking and explains how to recognize and avoid the most common errors of logic.
Elegant, pithy, and precise, Being Logical breaks logic down to its essentials through clear analysis, accessible examples, and focused insights. Whether you are a student or a teacher, a professional sharpening your career skills or an amateur devoted to the fine points of thought and expression, you are sure to find this brief guide to effecting reasoning both fascinating and illuminating.
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|Title of eBook: Being Logical|
|Release Date: 08-03-2004|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Being Logical|
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Preparing the Mind for Logic
Being logical presupposes our having a sensitivity to language and a knack for its effective use, for logic and language are inseparable. It also presupposes our having a healthy respect for the firm factualness of the world in which we live, for logic is about reality. Finally, being logical presupposes a lively awareness of how the facts that are our ideas relate to the facts that are the objects in the world, for logic is about truth. In this first part of the book I will discuss those attitudes, points of view, and practical procedures whose adoption prepares the mind for a successful engagement with logic.
1. Be Attentive
Many mistakes in reasoning are explained by the fact that we are not paying sufficient attention to the situation in which we find ourselves. This is especially true in familiar situations. That very familiarity causes us to make careless judgments about facts right before our eyes. We misread a situation because we are skimming it, when what we should be doing is perusing it. Often, we assume that a familiar situation will be but a repeat performance of a similar situation we’ve experienced before. But, in the strictest sense, there are no repeat performances. Every situation is unique, and we must be alert to its uniqueness.
The phrase “to pay attention” is telling. It reminds us that attention costs something. Attention demands an active, energetic response to every situation, to the persons, places, and things that make up the situation. It is impossible to be truly attentive and passive at the same time. Don’t just look, see. Don’t just