An essential tool for our post-truth world: a witty primer on logic—and the dangers of illogical thinking—by a renowned Notre Dame professor
Logic is synonymous with reason, judgment, sense, wisdom, and sanity. Being logical is the ability to create concise and reasoned arguments—arguments that build from given premises, using evidence, to a genuine conclusion. But mastering logical thinking also requires studying and understanding illogical thinking, both to sharpen one’s own skills and to protect against incoherent, or deliberately misleading, reasoning.
Elegant, pithy, and precise, Being Logical breaks logic down to its essentials through clear analysis, accessible examples, and focused insights. D. Q. McInerney covers the sources of illogical thinking, from naïve optimism to narrow-mindedness, before dissecting the various tactics—red herrings, diversions, and simplistic reasoning—the illogical use in place of effective reasoning.
An indispensable guide to using logic to advantage in everyday life, this is a concise, crisply readable book. Written explicitly for the layperson, McInerny’s Being Logical promises to take its place beside Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style as a classic of lucid, invaluable advice.
Praise for Being Logical
“Highly readable . . . D. Q. McInerny offers an introduction to symbolic logic in plain English, so you can finally be clear on what is deductive reasoning and what is inductive. And you’ll see how deductive arguments are constructed.”—Detroit Free Press
“McInerny’s explanatory outline of sound thinking will be eminently beneficial to expository writers, debaters, and public speakers.”—Booklist
“Given the shortage of logical thinking,
And the fact that mankind is adrift, if not sinking,
It is vital that all of us learn to think straight.
And this small book by D.Q. McInerny is great.
It follows therefore since we so badly need it,
Everybody should not only but it, but read it.”
"In logic, as in life, it is the obvious that most often bears emphasizing, because it so easily escapes our notice," McInerny argues in this pithy guide to applying logical thinking to everyday life. Modeled after Strunk and White's indispensable handbook, The Elements of Style, McInerny's primer offers valuable counsel on making a clear and effective point. He calls attention to the tremendous importance that language holds in the crafting and presentation of an argument, advising readers to"make your words as precise and sharply focused as possible" and to keep arguments, or at least their essential purpose, simple. Readers need not have a background in philosophy to follow McInerny's remarkably comprehensible explanation of the methods used to construct a valid case, including the syllogistic argument, the conjunctive and disjunctive arguments and the conditional argument. The author also dedicates considerable discussion to the sources and the principal forms of illogical thinking, from such common ruses as begging the question and using tears as a diversionary tactic to the more ethically questionable ad hominem strategy, in which a person ignores an argument and attacks his opponent's character instead. McInerny recommends that people hone their logical thinking skills by using them in real life situations, but perhaps one of the best ways his audience can learn to clearly express their views is by examining the crisp, articulate writing in this slender but richly informative guide.
This book is great. Simple to understand. Clearly written and not too long. It’s a great reference tool and a fun read!