Nature and Logic Essay

This essay has a total of 1053 words and 6 pages.

Nature and Logic

Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic
The Nature of Logic
Abstract: Some of the uses of logic are illustrated, and deductive arguments are briefly
distinguished from inductive arguments.


I. Logic is the study of the methods and principles used in distinguishing correct from incorrect reasoning.
B. Logic differs from psychology in being a normative or a prescriptive discipline rather than a descriptive discipline.
1. I.e., it prescribes how one ought to reason; it's not concerned with how one actually does reason.
2. Logic is concerned with laying down the rules for correct reasoning.
3. Consequently, logic seeks to distinguish good arguments from poor ones.
II. How Logic helps reasoning:
A. "Practice makes better." Some examples of how this course can help reasoning about the world are as follows.
1. Consider this syllogism:
All followers of Senator Jones are in favor of higher taxes.
All communists are in favor of higher taxes.
All followers of Senator Jones are communists.
It will become easy for us to recognize the fallacy in this argument as the fallacy of the undistributed middle term.
2. Consider this informal argument:
In spite of the large number of UFO spottings that can be attributed to weather conditions
and known aircraft and other factors, there are hundreds of sightings that cannot be
accounted for. Hence, we can safely conclude that UFO's exit.

Consider this counter-example:
In spite of the large number of quarters put under kid's pillows which can be attributed
to sneaky parents, brothers, sisters, and so forth, there are hundreds of cases which
cannot be accounted for. Therefore, the tooth fairy exits.

B. As well, this course can help with "the negative approach"—that we avoid errors by
being aware of them, e.g., being aware of common formal and informal fallacies.

1. Consider the passage, "Napoleon became a great emperor because he was so short." In
this short argument, the fallacy of false cause (or non causa pro causa) occurs. If this
argument were good, all or most short persons would become great emperors.

2. Consider the passage, "People in developing countries get old as an earlier age,
because the average life expectancy is so short in those countries." Due to infant
mortality, people do not get older more quickly; the fallacy of division occurs.

C. Methods, criteria, and techniques, all are given as methods of testing correctness.
These are some of the techniques we will be learning and using in this class. These
methods are shown here merely for purposes of illustration..

1. For example, we can draw Venn Diagrams to show the fallacy of the undistributed middle
term in problem I, A discussed above.



2. Or we can show the fallacy in I, A by appealing to specific rules.
All P is Mu.
All S is Mu.
All S is P.

The term shared by both premisses is said to be undistributed because it does not refer to
each and every persons in favor of higher taxes.

III. There are several kinds of logic which exhibit a kind of family relation: dialectic,
multivalued logic, logic of commands, fuzzy logic, etc.

IV. In this course, basically, we will use just two kinds of logic: deductive and inductive.
A. Deductive Logic: concerned with determining when an argument is valid (i.e., deals with conclusive inferences).
1. A deductive argument is one which claims that its conclusion follows with necessity.
2. If that claim is not met, then the argument is said to be invalid.
3. Consider this example from Time magazine about the Kennedy assassination:
"Since tests proved that it took at least 2.3 seconds to operate the bolt on Oswald's
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