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Lesson_Eleven_and_Test

# Lesson_Eleven_and_Test - LESSON 11 Applying Principles...

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Section 36: Choosing the Right Form , Barker, pp. 218-220. ***Read the section, then the following additional comments. Please note that for the rest of this course we are not following the order of the textbook directly. In this lesson we want to bring together some of the principles from the first part of the course. More specifically, we are pulling together a few of the ideas involved in deductive reasoning into a more practical setting. The point is this: very rarely do people innately follow the standard forms of deductive logic. And even less likely are they going to say, “I am now expressing my point in terms of quantificational form,” or, “I will now give you a categorical syllogism.” Thus, if I am a logician, and I need to analyze someone else’s arguments, one of the first things I need to do is to decide, which is the best logical form to understand the argument? We are limiting our discussion for now to deductive arguments. In the next two lessons we will also look at inductive arguments, but their situation is sufficiently different to put them aside for the time being. These are the options from this course for deductive arguments: 1. categorical logic; 2. truth-functional logic; 3. quantificational logic. Now, as we have seen, quantificational logic is the most powerful method of the three; it combines categorical and truth-functional principles. In fact, categorical logic is only a small subset of quantification, and truth-functional logic is incorporated into quantification. Thus, theoretically, it could always be the method of choice to evaluate an argument. However, quantificational logic can also be the most cumbersome of the three, precisely because it is so much more comprehensive. There is no need to make things harder on ourselves than is absolutely necessary. Thus, it is much better to let the given argument give us sufficient clues to decide which form to choose. On the whole, the rule of thumb has to be: the more straightforward, the better. Here are the tell-tale signs to look for. 1 LESSON 11 Applying Principles

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If the argument contains 1. sentences connected with the truth-functional operators: “and,” “or,” “if-then,” etc. 2. classes of things potentially connected with a form of “to be,” without truth-functional operators, such as “or,” or “if-then” 3. Combinations of 1. and 2. choose 1. truth-functional logic 2. categorical logic 3. quantificational logic A second important question is by what method to evaluate an argument. The danger in assessing whether any argument is valid or not is that a) we might have used the wrong method; b) we might have used the right method in a wrong way. After all, human beings are fallible, and taking a course in logic does not guarantee that we will be perfect thinkers from now on. So, we must always be careful how we proceed.
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Lesson_Eleven_and_Test - LESSON 11 Applying Principles...

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