Being Logical: a Guide to Good Thinking by D. Q. Mclnerny
Being Logical: a Guide to good Thinking by D. Q. Mclnerny pdf
about clear and effective thinking. It is a science and an art. This book is intended to introduce readers to the rudiments of the science as well as to the basic skills associated with the art.
We all know people who are very bright but who do not always shine when it comes to being logical. They have the ability to think logically—that is, clearly and effectively— but that ability’ docs not habitually manifest itself. The likelihood is that it has never been properly developed, pointing to a deficiency in their education. Indeed, logic is the very backbone of a true education, and yet it is seldom taught as such in American schools. To my mind, logic is the missing piece of the American educational system, the subject that informs every’ other subject from English to history’ to science and math.
We may take Fancy fora companion, but must follow Reason as our guide.
—Dr. Samuel Johnson
Some readers, especially if this book represents their first serious encounter with logic, might react skittishly to what appears to be an overly technical vocabulary, or to the symbolic notation that logic makes frequent use of. Don’t be scared off by initial impressions. I have made a concerted effort to present whatever technical matters I deal with here (which in any event are not all that trying) in as simple and uncomplicated a way as possible. At the same time, however, I have tried to avoid lapsing into the simplistic.
A dumbed-down logic is not logic at all. Other readers might be put off by what they perceive to be an emphasis upon the obvious. I do, in fact, place a good deal of stress on the obvious in this book, and that is quite deliberate. In logic, as in life, it is the obvious that most often bears emphasizing, because it so easily escapes our notice. If I have belabored certain points, and regularly opted for the explicit over the implicit, it is because I adhere to the time-honored pedagogic principle that it is always safest to assume as little as possible.
Logic, taken as a whole, is a wide, deep, and wonderfully varied field, and I would be pleased if my readers, as a result of their encounter with this little book, were moved to become more familiar with it. However, my aim here is very modest.
This is neither a treatise in logical theory nor a textbook in logic—though I would not be disappointed to learn that it proves useful in the classroom. My governing purpose was to write a practical guidebook, presenting the basic principles of logic in a way that is accessible to those who are encountering the subject for the first time. Being Logical seeks to produce practitioners, not theoreticians—people for whom knowing the principles of logic is in the service of being logical.