Seminar in Logic


Thinking is your birthright as a conceptual beingójust as seeing, hearing, feeling, emoting, and desiring are yours as a sentient being. In fact, you already do think; you already plan, decide, organize, discover, solve, predict. The ability to think comes with your abilities to walk, eat, breathe, digest, sneeze; it is prepackaged in your human nature.

But just because thinking is natural does not mean it is easy. While sentient activities are automatic, conceptual activities are volitional and never become automatized. You have to choose to think. It is why thinking can be difficult; it is why thinking can fail; it is why thinking can be erroneous. It is why you need logic, the art of reasoning.

Logic can be studied in three ways: as a science, as an art, as a habit. As a science, logic is a system of principles dealing with the nature of deductive and inductive inferences. As an art, logic is a set of rules and strategies for non-contradictory identification of the facts. As a habit, logic is an acquired mental disposition to process and integrate the evidence objectively.

In this course, you will learn enough of the science to understand and practice the art of reasoning, and then it is up to you to make logic habitual; you choose. As structured, the course presents three possible outcomes:

You choose the outcome.

As with every how-to course, the primary determiner of success is you, the student. It depends on your values, desires, and goals. It depends on where you presently think logical thinking is in your personal code of values, how much of your capability you want to become your ability, and what actions you plan to take to gain your goal. In other words, how worthwhile is logic to you, how urgent do you want it, and what are you going to do about it? Prescriptively, if you decide to 

Because effort is the currency to purchase one's chosen goal, to succeed in whichever outcome you do choose, pay for it. The ambition is yours. 

A Preview of what is possible to learn, practice, and habituate in this course:

For everyday thinking
1. The two rules of classification
2. The six rules of definition
3. The two criteria of evaluating arguments
4. The fifteen fallacies of relevance
5. The diagramming rules for arguments and debates
6. The technical definitions of definition, genus, differentia, classification, concept, proposition, argument, explanation, syllogism, enthymeme, differentiation, integration

For classical deductive reasoning
1. The four logical forms of categorical proposition
2. The two characteristics of term distribution
3. The four relations of opposition (assuming existential import)
4. The three rules of equivalence and their legitimate forms
5. The eight Venn diagrams
6. The schematic argument form of the categorical syllogism
7. The relation between validity and truth
8. The four rules for testing validity (categorical syllogism)
9. The one valid form for disjunctive syllogism
10. The three valid forms for hypothetical syllogism
11. The technique of regimentation from nonstandard forms for all types of proposition

For modern deductive reasoning
1. The truth functions for the logical connectives
2. The truth-table technique (long version) for testing invalidity
3. The truth-table technique (short version) for testing invalidity
4. The natural deduction method of proof for testing validity
5. The techniques of conditional proof and of reduction to absurdity
6. The ten equivalence rules for compound propositions
7. The nine inference rules for compound arguments
8. The five additional rules for predicate propositions and arguments
9. The three additional rules for identity propositions and arguments
10. The technique of translation from English to predicate notation 

For Aristotelian deductive reasoning
1. The five dimensions of logical form
2. The two rules of equivalence for categorical propositions
3. The two rules of validity for categorical arguments
4. The transcription rules for singular, relational, and compound propositions
5. The proof method and the method of reduction to absurdity
6. The five equivalence rules for relational propositions
7. The three additional equivalence rules for compound propositions
8. The two inference rules for general arguments 

For inductive reasoning
1. The basic differences between deduction and induction
2. The two modes or standards of induction
3. The assumption and justification of general induction
4. The three basic rules for generalizing from a representative sample
5. The eight concepts in causal reasoning
6. The eight possible ways of stating a causal claim
7. The five methods of induction
8. The four responsibilities for the contextual nature of induction
9. The six concepts in analogical reasoning
10. The seven queries to analyze an argument by analogy [3, 2, 2]
11. The three queries to evaluate the implicit inductive generalization
12. The two queries to find similarity
13. The three points of similarity that statistics have with classification
14. The three groups of statistics and their usage issues
15. The three implications in using random samples to make statistical generalizations
16. The two questions to evaluate a statistical generalization
17. The four questions to evaluate the statistical evidence of causality
18. The two criteria for evaluating an explanation
19. The three dimensions of adequacy
20. The methods of testability
21. The three dimensions of plausibility

San Diego Objectivist Study Group is for and by students and self-learners interested in understanding the philosophy of Ayn Rand: Objectivism.

(c) 2006-2020