Are We There Yet?

Working on this reminds me of my first reaction to a course in logic. I was a freshman in College taking a course in informal logic over the summer session. In that class, we read a newspaper editorial presenting a critique of the famous bumper sticker that says; “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” We ended up with 30 claims for the newspaper article and I don’t remember how many inferences in our argument analysis. My final report on the topic was over 40 pages hand-written and double-spaced. I remember suggesting to the teacher that the author had tried to swat a fly with a sledge-hammer and we had responded with a howitzer. He laughed and explained how wrong I was.

I’ve always felt a little disconcerted at the way argument analysis proliferates into texts that are umpteen times as long as those they purport to discuss and often prove far less interesting. There are  reasons for this of course, but I do feel like the result makes for tedious reading. perhaps it’s not even meant for reading. That is one advantage that formal logic has on the process. Syllogisms and symbolic logic are significantly more elegant to say the least.

Anyway, I’m not real happy with the write-ups after the first few posts. I am going to look for ways to simplify things.

Details, Where Art Thou?

I can find all sorts of interesting arguments dealing with subjects of interest to my students. Finding examples that illustrate key points of logical analysis is much more difficult. I need to find good examples of fallacies as well as those that fit the forms of syllogistic reasoning. This could take some doing.


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