Category: Logic

The Two Ways We Argue

Each of us in our daily lives hears a lot of arguments, and all of them are different. But, in one respect, there are only two basic ways to argue. We might call these two kinds of argument “arguing forward” and “arguing backward.” The First Way: Modus Ponens Arguing forward involves beginning with a principle …

The Place of the Language Arts

The term “language arts” is a familiar term for anyone involved in education. But although many people have heard it, few can say exactly what it means. Most of the time we settle for a random listing of the things we have been taught are included under the label: reading, writing, spelling, literature, grammar, and …

Thinking Logically About Logic

You’ve heard the word before, but what does it mean? Here’s the lowdown on the second leg of the trivium. Introduction The best way to answer the question “What is logic?” is with a definition. But that is easier said than done. Throughout history, many people have thought and written about the subject of logic, …

How to Teach Logic

Every subject that is systematic has a certain inherent order to it that dictates how it should be approached. In some subjects this order is more explicit than in others. In mathematics, for example, there is a widely acknowledged sequence of what should be learned and when it should be taught. In other subjects, however, …

The Three Modes of Persuasion

The United States is in the midst of a presidential election. Like all such elections, it involves two, sometimes three, major candidates, each of whom tries to persuade the voters to vote for him or her. Some candidates do this well and others don’t. But they could all do it better if they knew Aristotle’s principles of rhetoric. Classical rhetoric is …

The 5 Canons of Rhetoric

  Rhetoric. To most modern minds, the word smacks of cunning—the empty polemic or self-aggrandizement of a political figure, or perhaps the crafty prose of a present-day sophist selling overpriced or unnecessary products to the unlearned. To those who have delved a bit into classical education, rhetoric is the third liberal art, the top of the trivium, the noble art of persuasion, a …

Go Socratic

The oracle at Delphi stated that no man was wiser than Socrates. Socrates was so shocked by that claim that he went around questioning everyone in Athens, hoping to find someone who was wiser than he. He was such a nuisance, such a “doubter,” that he was put on trial. Like the Athenians Socrates questioned, …