You are on page 1of 4

1/6/2016

TheNatureofLogic

Arguments

Language

Fallacies

Propositions

philosophy.lander.edu

Syllogisms

Translation

Symbolic

Home

Homepage>Logic>TheStructureofArguments>TheNatureofLogic

Philosophy103:IntroductiontoLogic
TheNatureofLogic
Abstract:Someoftheusesoflogicareillustrated,anddeductiveargumentsarebriefly
distinguishedfrominductivearguments.

Quizzes
Tests
FAQ
Links
Search
Readings
Archives
Syllabus

I.Logicisthestudyofthemethodsandprinciplesusedin
distinguishingcorrectfromincorrectreasoning.
B.Logicdiffersfrompsychologyinbeinganormativeora
prescriptivedisciplineratherthanadescriptivediscipline.
1.I.e.,itprescribeshowoneoughttoreasonit'snotconcerned
withhowoneactuallydoesreason.
2.Logicisconcernedwithlayingdowntherulesforcorrect
reasoning.
3.Consequently,logicseekstodistinguishgoodarguments
frompoorones.
II.HowLogichelpsreasoning:
A."Practicemakesbetter."Someexamplesofhowthiscourse
canhelpreasoningabouttheworldareasfollows.
1.Considerthissyllogism:
AllfollowersofSenatorJonesareinfavorofhighertaxes.
Allcommunistsareinfavorofhighertaxes.
AllfollowersofSenatorJonesarecommunists.
Itwillbecomeeasyforustorecognizethefallacyinthis
argumentasthefallacyoftheundistributedmiddleterm.
2.Considerthisinformalargument:
InspiteofthelargenumberofUFOspottingsthatcanbe
attributedtoweatherconditionsandknownaircraftandother
factors,therearehundredsofsightingsthatcannotbe
accountedfor.Hence,wecansafelyconcludethatUFO'sexit.
Considerthiscounterexample:
Inspiteofthelargenumberofquartersputunderkid's

http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/nature_log.html

1/4

1/6/2016

TheNatureofLogic

pillowswhichcanbeattributedtosneakyparents,brothers,
sisters,andsoforth,therearehundredsofcaseswhichcannot
beaccountedfor.Therefore,thetoothfairyexits.
B.Aswell,thiscoursecanhelpwith"thenegativeapproach"
thatweavoiderrorsbybeingawareofthem,e.g.,beingawareof
commonformalandinformalfallacies.
1.Considerthepassage,"Napoleonbecameagreatemperor
becausehewassoshort."Inthisshortargument,thefallacyof
falsecause(ornoncausaprocausa)occurs.Ifthisargument
weregood,allormostshortpersonswouldbecomegreat
emperors.
2.Considerthepassage,"Peopleindevelopingcountriesgetold
asanearlierage,becausetheaveragelifeexpectancyissoshort
inthosecountries."Duetoinfantmortality,peopledonotget
oldermorequicklythefallacyofdivisionoccurs.
C.Methods,criteria,andtechniques,allaregivenasmethodsof
testingcorrectness.Thesearesomeofthetechniqueswewillbe
learningandusinginthisclass.Thesemethodsareshownhere
merelyforpurposesofillustration..
1.Forexample,wecandrawVennDiagramstoshowthe
fallacyoftheundistributedmiddleterminproblemI,A
discussedabove.

2.OrwecanshowthefallacyinI,Abyappealingtospecific
rules.
AllPisMu.
AllSisMu.
AllSisP.
Thetermsharedbybothpremissesissaidtobeundistributed
becauseitdoesnotrefertoeachandeverypersonsinfavorof
highertaxes.

III.Thereareseveralkindsoflogicwhichexhibitakindoffamily
relation:dialectic,multivaluedlogic,logicofcommands,fuzzy
logic,etc.
IV.Inthiscourse,basically,wewillusejusttwokindsoflogic:
deductiveandinductive.
http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/nature_log.html

2/4

1/6/2016

TheNatureofLogic

A.DeductiveLogic:concernedwithdeterminingwhenan
argumentisvalid(i.e.,dealswithconclusiveinferences).
1.Adeductiveargumentisonewhichclaimsthatitsconclusion
followswithnecessity.
2.Ifthatclaimisnotmet,thentheargumentissaidtobe
invalid.
3.ConsiderthisexamplefromTimemagazineaboutthe
Kennedyassassination:
"Sincetestsprovedthatittookatleast2.3secondstooperate
theboltonOswald'srifle,Oswaldobviouslycouldnothave
firedthreetimeshittingKennedytwiceandConallyoncein
5.6secondorless."
Thefirstloadnednotbecounted.
2.3
2.3

verses

2.3

+2.3

+2.3

6.9sec.

4.6sec.

TheresponsebyFrederickT.Wehr:"SirThisargument,
whichhasappearedinmanypublicationssincethe
assassination,isfaulty,andIamsurprisedthatIhaven'tseen
itrefutedbeforethis.AssumingthattheboltofOswald'srifle
can,infact,beoperatedin2.3seconds,thenOswald
definitelycouldfire3shotsinlessthan5.6seconds,fora
stopwatchwouldbestartedwhenthefirstshotwasfiredthe
secondshotwouldbefiredwhenthestopwatchread2.3
seconds,andthethirdshotwouldbefiredwhenthestop
watchread4.6seconds.Youhaveapparentlyoverlookedthe
factthat,inthetimeittakestofire3shots,itisonly
necessarytooperatethebolttwice."
B.InductiveLogicisconcernedwiththecorrectnessof
inferencesforwhichtheevidenceisnotconclusive(i.e.,probable
inferences).
1.Hence,aninductiveargumentisonewhoseconclusionis
claimedtofollowwithprobability.
2.ConsidertheexamplefromMarkTwain'sNotebook:"at
bottomIdidnotbelieveIhadtouchedthatman.Thelawof
probabilitiesdecreedmeguiltlessofhisblood,forinallmy
smallexperiencewithgunsIhadneverhitanythingIhadtried
tohitandIknewIhaddonemybesttohithim."
http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/nature_log.html

3/4

1/6/2016

TheNatureofLogic

3.Orconsiderextrapolationtechniquesusedinstockmarket
prediction,e.g.,thewedgeformation.
V.Whatlogicisnot:
A.Logicisnotthescienceofthelawsofthoughtinwhichcaseit
wouldbeadescriptivesciencelikepsychology.
1.Sometimespeoplecancometoconclusionsreliablywithout
beingabletoknoworexplainhowtheconclusionwasreached.
E.g.,thesocalledintuitivetypeofpersonality.
2.Oftenpeoplecancometotherightconclusionforthewrong
reasons.Logicisthestudyofthemodesofcorrectreasoningas
showninaninterpersonalmanner.
B.Logicisnotreallythescienceofreasoningeitherbecausethe
logicianisnotinterestedinthepsychologicalprocessesof
reasoning.
1.Thelogicianisinterestedinthestructureofarguments.
2.Peopleinferstatementsandstatementsentailother
statements.
3.Wewanttosaythattheentailmentisthereeventhough
someonedoesnotatthistimeunderstandit.

Sendcorrectionsorsuggestionstowebmasteratphilosophy.lander.edu
Readthedisclaimerconcerningthispage.
09.15.0920049LicensedunderGFDL

Arguments|Language|Fallacies|Propositions|Syllogisms|Translation|Symbolic

http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/nature_log.html

4/4