THE PROCESS OF ARGUMENT, A Contribution to Logic [NOOK Book]

Overview

PREFACE

This book, like my former ones, has for its aim the extension of a knowledge of the more useful parts of Logic. It is written for those who are interested rather in the war against fallacy than in the grammatical inquiries which form so large a part of the Logic taught in the text-books.

Some care has therefore been taken to use words as far as possible in their ...
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THE PROCESS OF ARGUMENT, A Contribution to Logic

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Overview

PREFACE

This book, like my former ones, has for its aim the extension of a knowledge of the more useful parts of Logic. It is written for those who are interested rather in the war against fallacy than in the grammatical inquiries which form so large a part of the Logic taught in the text-books.

Some care has therefore been taken to use words as far as possible in their everyday sense. Wherever it has seemed more convenient to depart at all from the commonest custom, reasons are given and the departure is left optional. No attempt is made to force the reader to accept hard doctrines or strange definitions, which are not yet his own.

It is specially in regard to the meaning of technical terms that this negative mode of treatment shows itself. In Logic, as in other subjects, the leading terms are capable of better and worse definition, and it is not unusual to find that doctors differ on the question which definitions are best. In all such cases the aim of this book is to help the beginner to improve his own first notions for ' himself, rather than to get him to accept any ready-made ones which happen to seem satisfactory to some particular school of thought.

Appendix A is part of an article contributed to Mind, which the Editor kindly allows me to reprint. Special thanks are due to Mr. Carveth Read for the many improvements he has helped me to make throughout.


***


Contents:

Introductory
False "Facts" And False Inference
Grounds Of Inference
Generalisation, Analogy, And Circumstantial Evidence
The Discovery Of Underlying Theories
Syllogism, Or Inference In The Abstract
Kinds Of Generalisation
Observation And Generalisation
Generalisation And Criticism
The Notion Of A "Cause"
The Search For A Causal Explanation
Agreement And Difference: Quantity And Quality Of Evidence
General Results
Appendix A: Notes On The Technicalities Of Logic
Appendix B: Structure Of The Syllogism
Appendix C: The Universality Of The Major Premise
Appendix D: The Typical Form Of Syllogism
Appendix E: Essential Resemblance And Difference

***

An excerpt from the beginning of:

CHAPTER I – INTRODUCTORY

In the following inquiry we shall purposely avoid all direct search for the best definition of the word "Logic." Though this book is certainly meant as a contribution to Logic, it is not meant to contribute to it in that particular way. Interesting though such a question may be, its importance is of a very special and limited kind; and at any rate there is no need to wait for a perfectly comprehensive and final idea of the limits of a subject in order to make a beginning with it. Knowledge of Logic, like other knowledge, may be acquired by degrees.

Some general guiding idea, however, will probably be of service, for the sake of putting our views together and regarding them as means to an end. For this purpose the broadest and commonest notion of Logic is quite sufficient. Let us say, for instance, that Logic is all about arguments, and helps us to distinguish sound arguments from unsound ones; or that Logic attempts to supervise our methods of judging, or of convincing ourselves that a given assertion is true or false. No one can quarrel with these loose definitions except on the ground of their incompleteness, and to us their possible incompleteness does not matter. The process of argument is just what is here to be discussed, and especially with a view to the distinction of sound argument from unsound. We are to inquire in what way any reasoned belief lies open to attack; and so to survey objections generally,—the objections that can be brought against the truth of any disputable belief, or "judgment," or assertion.1

1 The words "belief," "judgment," and "assertion" may here be taken as synonymous. There would be no harm in carefully making differences of meaning between them, but we are not here concerned to do so. Our plan, as already said, is to adopt the wide ordinary usage of words wherever we are not actually driven to depart from it.

The process of forming judgments is, for human beings, almost inextricably entangled with the process of criticising the judgments as they are formed. The question whether the lower animals "judge" at all depends on what we choose to mean by the word. It is plain that many of them distinguish persons, and foods, and recognise signs of danger, or signs of what they are seeking. But at any rate they judge less deliberately and critically than we do; so that, to speak broadly, they do not stop to weigh their judgments or to reflect upon the likelihood of error. And apart from any other and deeper difference between ourselves and the beasts, it is the process of conscious reflection upon our judgments that chiefly makes our mental operations distinct from theirs....
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940014868884
  • Publisher: OGB
  • Publication date: 8/12/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 282 KB

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