"It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one."
WHAT IS LOGIC?
The etymology of the word “logic” is the Greek word logos, which is translated as “discourse”, “sentence”, “rule”, and “reason”. However, the direct translation of the word isn't how the word “logic” is used today. So, what is logic? Originally it meant “word”, or “what is spoken,” but has come to mean “thought,” or “reason”. In general, it is a subject that is concerned with the most general laws of truth.
While there is no universal agreement on exactly what subject matter should be included in logic, within the scope of this blog, we will cover the classification of arguments along with their associated structural terminology, logical fallacies, and, most importantly, what makes a good argument.
My hope is that you will incorporate the logic you learn here into your everyday life. Whether it comes to simple household problem solving, casual conversations with friends, or formulating a political worldview for yourself, logic will assist in the process. In short, the logical skills learned here will enhance your critical thinking ability.
In the news we often hear stories of ‘scientific studies’ which make claims such as: ‘the most addictive food is pizza’, or ‘the MMR vaccine causes Autism’ [1,2]. Those same news outlets will also report on studies that have found new evidence of climate change, or the effects of cannabis on opioid deaths . Often, the same studies are discussed on multiple news outlets regardless of….
A philosophical razor is a rule that cuts out conclusions that have a low probability of being correct. I use the phrase “low probability” because the nature of a philosophical razor is that it is a rule-of-thumb and not a formal principle. Razors are quite common in…
People have been participating in debates since the beginning of time. It is a wonderful tool that humans have developed over the millennia to communicate ideas in hopes of reaching an amicable and constructive conclusion. However, in my experience, individuals who partake in….
An informal fallacy where selected evidence is presented that supports the position of the argument, while contrary evidence is withheld. This is done in an attempt to make the argument more persuasive to an audience. Moreover, the greater the volume or strength of the evidence withheld dictates how….
An informal fallacy where you argue that because something is “natural” it is therefore good, better, ideal, etc. While it is true that there are things in this world that are considered “natural” and also fall into the “good “ category (e.g., clean air), this isn't always the case (e.g., earthquakes). Naturalness itself doesn't automatically imply good or bad….
The Principle of Charity demands that one interprets a speaker's statement(s) in the most rational way possible. In other words, when ascribing to this principle, you must consider the strongest possible interpretation of your fellow interlocutor's argument before subjecting it to evaluation. The overarching goal of this methodological principle is to….
An informal fallacy where you substitute a person's argument with a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented version in order to make it easier to attack. However, this tactic undermines a rational debate as….
A type of informal fallacy where you attack the person making the argument instead of the argument itself. This can take the form of blatantly attacking someone in the form of name calling or more subtly attacking an individual’s character in an attempt….
A type of formal fallacy where a small first event is suggested to lead to another more significant event, which then leads to an even more significant event, and so on, until some ultimate, extreme event is reached. The connections between each significant event are likely related, but….
The word “fallacy” comes from “fallacia” in Latin which means “deceit, trick, deception.” However, the more modern definition for logical fallacies is “faulty reasoning as a result of neglecting the rules of logic” or, more succinctly, just “an error in reasoning.” These errors can be found ubiquitously throughout our society as they are often part of a bad argument. As I've bemoaned previously…..
As you are now familiar with the structure of an argument, there are now finer details that need to be addressed. First, arguments can primarily be categorized as either deductive or inductive, which derive their names from the types of reasoning used to construct them. Second, we'll discuss the concepts of validity and soundness for deductive arguments. Next, concerning inductive arguments….
You are probably already familiar with the word “argument” as its used quite often in casual conversation. In everyday parlance, argument means a spat or disagreement between two or more individuals over a particular topic. However, in the lingua franca of logic, the definition of an argument is further expanded to incorporate….