If you are bewildered by Logic and Reasoning, you are not alone. The language that is used to describe Logic and Reasoning seems to be deliberately designed to make the concepts of Logic and Reasoning hard to understand. For that reason, we have created this concise guide to logic and reasoning.
We ought to be able to answer these 3 questions concerning the claims we make: What is the authority of the claim and the starting point of the thought process supporting the claim, and how do we know what we claim to know? When you ask these 3 questions and really give it some serious thought, you begin to realize the weakness of almost all reasoning that is used all around you. Most of what is proposed as “wisdom” and “knowledge” and “intellectualism” is simply bluffing. Don’t be intimidated by bluffing. (read)
Always look for the basis. Most of the time, there are hidden assumptions. One assumption, if it is necessary for the premise statement, makes the entire argument unsound. Often, the basis is simply a story that is told. Check any facts. Check for lies.
- Truth Claim – something that is claimed to be true.
We can tend to be satisfied with truth-claims that are based on phoney evidence. If someone is going to make a truth claim, every premise statement (the ones that supposedly prove the conclusion to be true) must, of necessity, be absolute or else the claim isn’t known to be true. If any of those statements are not absolute, then each non-absolute statement must be proven to be true by another set of absolute premises and a conclusion. If anyone going to prove that anything is true, meaning absolutely true, then they must eventually come to absolute premises. You need to ask, “Are all the premises stated clearly and are they absolute? Rarely is this the case.
This is the case for anything that you believe to be true. Perhaps, the things that you believe to be true have become part of your worldview, your inner fake-reality, so that you don’t even challenge them. They seem to be obvious. They seem to be reality. Examine them. Consider whether these core beliefs can stand up to the 3 questions.
Some people say that logic can be defined as the systematic study of valid arguments, not sound arguments. A valid argument that has a false conclusion is still valid. It’s just not found. So, formal logic is very limited if you are interested in truth. If we only look for valid arguments and never determine whether arguments are sound, then truth/fiction cannot be evaluated using logic. So, if we use that definition, logic doesn’t get close to doing what we sometimes think that it can to–help us determine what makes sense and what does not make sense.
While it is fairly easy to understand the rules of logic, many techniques are used by persuaders in the schools, in the movies, in the popular music, and in every sort of media that make it difficult to tell the difference between sound and unsound logical arguments. Many science and history classes deliberately keep the assumptions secret from the students to deceive them. And, most arguments are stated informally with a lot of extra, unrelated information, making it difficult to even determine what point is being made.
In addition to that, each of us has an internal paradigm/fake-reality that makes it even more difficult, since this internal fake-reality seems more real to us than reality itself. For instance, almost all of us have built Naturalism into our fake-reality to some degree. Naturalism is patently false, but it is so prevalent in society and so much a part of the fallen nature that it is difficult to overcome.
Then there is the problem of communication. People don’t always state their premises. They don’t always state their conclusion. They use ambiguous words. In hearing someone or reading what they have written, we may misunderstand what they are trying to say. Sometimes, we can clarify, but, in many instances, we cannot. Sometimes, we assume that we understand when we actually don’t understand. One way to help with this is to make arguments (you might have to ask some questions or guess) of others explicit by listing all the premises followed by the conclusion one line per statement.
However, even with these shortcomings, logic is a good thing to learn. And it’s not difficult to learn as can be seen in this concise 15-minute outline that has just what you need to know with links to learn more if you like.