Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better, Part 5

“Feelings should never supersede rational thought… so, if you feel that you’ve got the answer, you should think some more.”  — Julie Ann Elliott-Morton

exhausted student with laptopUp to this point in the series, we have dealt with the basics. We learned about the fundamental laws of logic, categorical propositions and logical relationships. We were introduced to the mnemonic “TRACK” — Truth, Relevance, Adequacy, Clarity, Knowledge — in order to help make sure our arguments are supported by their premises and to avoid, among other things, committing logical suicide. Then, we examined the three types of reasoning — deductive, inductive, and abductive. This is all groundwork towards thinking critically and for recognizing and building good arguments to make a case or defend a position on a (theological? philosophical? political?) issue.

Now, I want to spend several posts looking at logical fallacies — i.e., the various and sundry ways in which we all, eventually, to one degree or another, violate everything we just learned. We’ll laugh. We’ll cry. We’ll shake our fists at the sky….

Read the rest: Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better, Part 5 | A View from the Right

Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better, Part 4 | A View from the Right

Meanwhile, at the clinic…
Client (Michael Palin): “Aha! If you’re arguing, I must have paid.”
Mr. Barnard (John Cleese): “Not necessarily. I could be arguing in my spare time….”

Sherlock Holmes - Basil RathboneOK, if you aren’t a Monty Python fan (and I am only marginally) and you don’t understand the above quote, you are forgiven. But, I urge you to look up the Monty Python skit “Argument Clinic” (or similar title) on YouTube. Go ahead. We’ll wait…. And, I assure you, those aren’t the kinds of arguments we’ll examine here. (Yes, it is! No, it isn’t!) By the way, notice that Palin’s character had it right. He said, “An argument is a collective series of statements to establish a definite proposition.” A fair definition, yet mostly what he got for his money was unsupported contradictions.

There are three types of logical argument, or ways of reasoning, if you will — deductive, inductive, and abductive. Most people have heard of the first two but are unaware of the third. (I know I wasn’t familiar with it until several years back.) Each has its strengths and proper area of usage….

Read the rest: Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better, Part 4 | A View from the Right