Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking

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Random House Publishing Group, Aug 3, 2004 - Reference - 160 pages
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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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Being Logical

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Being Logical was recommended reading by a Physics teacher. He felt that if you understand logic you should be able to apply this logic to physics. You need to have a quiet place to read this and it is informative. It actually makes sense! If you are planning on taking physics you need this book! Read full review

Being logical: a guide to good thinking

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"In logic, as in life, it is the obvious that most often bears emphasizing, because it so easily escapes our notice," McInerny argues in this pithy guide to applying logical thinking to everyday life ... Read full review

Contents

Title page Dedication Epigraph Preface
PART ONEPREPARING THE MIND FOR LOGIC
Truth
PART TWOTHE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF LOGIC
First Principles
Real Gray Areas Manufactured Gray Areas 3 Theres an Explanation for Everything Eventually
Dont Stop Short in the Search for Causes
Distinguish Among Causes
Conclusions Must Reflect Quality of Premises
Inductive Argument
Assessing Argument
Constructing an Argument
PART FOURTHE SOURCES OF ILLOGICAL THINKING
Be Attentive
1
Get the Facts Straight
2
Ideas and the Objects of Ideas
3

Define Your Terms
The Categorical Statement
Generalizing
THE LANGUAGE OF LOGIC
Syllogistic Argument
The Truth of Premises
The Relevancy of Premises
Statements of Fact Statements of Value
Argumentative Form
Conclusions Must Reflect Quantity of Premises
Be Mindful of the Origins of Ideas
4
Match Ideas to Facts
5
Match Words to Ideas
6
Effective Communication
7
Avoid Vague and Ambiguous Language
8
Common Sense
9
Avoid Evasive Language
9
Conditional Argument
9
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About the author (2004)

D. Q. MCINERNY has taught logic to college students for decades at Notre Dame, the University of Kentucky, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Lincoln, Nebraska. A scholar of Thomas Merton and the recipient of two Ph.D.’s, Professor McInerny lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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