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Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking [Paperback]

D. Q. McInerny , Dennis Q. McInerny
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 7.80 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

10 May 2005
Whether regarded as a science, an art, or a skill–and it can properly be regarded as all three–logic is the basis of our ability to think, analyze, argue, and communicate. Indeed, logic goes to the very core of what we mean by human intelligence. In this concise, crisply readable book, distinguished professor D. Q. McInerny offers an indispensable guide to using logic to advantage in everyday life. 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.

As McInerny notes, logic is a deep, wide, and wonderfully varied field, with a bearing on every aspect of our intellectual life. A mastery of logic begins with an understanding of right reasoning–and encompasses a grasp of the close kinship between logical thought and logical expression, a knowledge of the basic terms of argument, and a familiarity with the pitfalls of illogical thinking. Accordingly, McInerny structures his book in a series of brief, penetrating chapters that build on one another to form a unified and coherent introduction to clear and effective reasoning.

At the heart of the book is a brilliant consideration of argument–how an argument is founded and elaborated, how it differs from other forms of intellectual discourse, and how it critically embodies the elements of logic. McInerny teases out the subtleties and complexities of premises and conclusions, differentiates statements of fact from statements of value, and discusses the principles and uses of every major type of argument, from the syllogistic to the conditional. In addition, he provides an incisive look at illogical thinking and explains how to recognize and avoid the most common errors of logic.

Elegant, pithy, and precise, Being Logical breaks logic down to its essentials through clear analysis, accessible examples, and focused insights. Whether you are a student or a teacher, a professional sharpening your career skills or an amateur devoted to the fine points of thought and expression, you are sure to find this brief guide to effecting reasoning both fascinating and illuminating.


From the Hardcover edition.

Frequently Bought Together

Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking + Rulebook for Arguments + Winning Arguments: From Aristotle to Obama - Everything You Need to Know About the Art of Persuasion
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade; Reprint edition (10 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812971159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812971156
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 1 x 13.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 219,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Being logical presupposes our having a sensitivity to language and a knack for its effective use, for logic and language are inseparable. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
The book 'Elements of Style' by Struck and White is one of my favourite 'go-to' books on grammar, language use, and generally 'making sense'. Author D.Q. McInerny pays tribute to this earlier work by consciously emulating it in this book - 'Being Logical'. So much in our society is dependent upon reasoning and interpretation (much more than we might ever realistically think) and yet so often our reasoning is fault.
All dogs have four legs.
My cat has four legs.
Therefore, my cat is a dog.
This is the kind of reasoning that, when put in concrete examples such as this, makes little sense. But when it is applied to business, political, military and other types of situations, it becomes less clear, because the substance of the argument is less clear.
All military objectives require White House approval.
The education budget requires White House approval.
Therefore, the education budget is a military objective.
McInerny writes with good prose and good style in presenting in gentle and humourous form the elements of making sense. Being logical is about good communication, and this requires first and foremost clear, unambiguous and direct speech (given these criteria, I wonder why political speech often suffers from logic problems?).
McInerny develops a long section on argumentation - problems and situations about comparison, conditionals, moving from universals to particulars and vice versa, truth, value, fact, inductive and deductive argumentation and more. From this basic format (which really hinges on the simplest of platforms, that an argument contains a premise and a conclusion), McInerny proceeds to examining the sources and forms of illogical thinking (bad reasoning).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why ? 12 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book starts with the simplest forms of argument which is fine but I had hoped to get a bit further than a pedantic breakdown of
'Every squirrel is a mammal
Every Chipmunk is a mammal
Therefore every Chipmunk is a squirrel'
by page 73 (of 129 pages), particularly as on page 88 the book stops discussing arguments altogether and starts a breakdown of 'illogical thinking'
The trouble with this book is if you can understand it you dont need it
And its a shame Amazon still avoid their taxes
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book. 29 Dec 2012
By Mr O
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Essential read for anyone wishing to learn to think logically. Being very simple book is well written and is a pleasure to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential 30 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Short, simple, accessible and to the point. Why didn't anyone give me this to read when I was an undergrad?
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