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"Logic Made Easy" by Deborah J. Bennett
Possibly the friendliest introduction to a subject that we recommend everyone learns and masters.
When someone asks you what makes you different from the others, what answer do you give? While it could be the way you dress, or the hobbies you pursue, my answer would be being logical. Sounds like something coming from an arrogant smartass (you're welcome to judge me, if you want), but if you look around you, or read daily news on the internet, lack of logic plagues everyone everywhere. It's no wonder us folks sit around, look at the world and have the audacity to ask why people are stupid and/or why common sense isn't common anymore. It's sad, it's painful and it's reality. At the rate our country is going, and perhaps the world, it's best to be different—logical, that is.
Author Bennett did a fantastic job introducing a bit of a tricky subject for the layperson to understand. When it comes to learning logic, previous knowledge is almost not needed. That means this book is about as gentle as you can get.
All throughout, Bennett provides the terminologies, brief histories dating back to the time of Aristotle, up to the modern way of logical thinking. She gives a ton of examples breaking down the structural arguments said everyday, from socio-political statements to statements uttered from our own parents/guardians. Interspersed with techniques in valid deductions and proving truth and falsities of conclusions, even with the most basic declaratives can make one think deeper, and think twice, the next time you say such statement(s) or when someone else gives you such a claim. Because I personally am a HUGE fan of Logic, here's an example:
If you finish your homework, you can play video games.
What if you don't finish your homework, will you find that you won't have the chance to play video games? This implication often trips kids up knowing that perhaps maybe they could make exceptions if their game has a few levels left before defeating the entire game, before ultimately investing their concentration on homework. Then again, and depending on the parents/guardian, one cannot be fulfilled without the other. Must homework really be done just to play video games? (Let's not include the liklihood of the kid's entitlement to be spoiled every which way, kind of like how it is today. Shame on parents doing that to their kids....YEAH YOU.)
Some statements, when applying logic, also require serious thinking as they can be very controversial, requiring a chunk of proof to solidify the validity of their claims/conclusions. Depending on the topic, it'll trigger reactions from others, such as:
Not all Americans support our president.
LeBron James is the greatest athlete in NBA history.
Some southern people are not racist.
While there exist some statements/claims that are too strange but still make you think (if you have time to figure it out), like:
Most serial killers are nice people.
All this means that everywhere you go and everywhere you are, and who you interact with, logic is used all the time even without you knowing it. How to deduce them is another story and not everyone can do that as well. That's where this book comes in and Bennett could not have written a gentle introduction. Again, the terms and vocabulary may be a bit much but you'll get the hang of them.
While this book is marked under the Science/Mathematics genre, I find this more on the Philosophy section. I say so because there wasn't too much emphasis on the Mathematical Logic side, besides the introduction of Truth Tables. I feel Mathematical Logic may be overwhelming for the average person, so perhaps I can see why there wasn't too much talking about that discipline of Logic. (Fun fact: Logic is the foundation of all Mathematics, so learning the art of reasoning could make you a better learner of Math—a subject a lot of people proudly dislike.)
Me personally, I've had numerous exposures to Logic so this book was basic to me, even though I learned ones I may have missed. Nevertheless, this is wonderful introduction to those wanting to learn the beauty of reasoning and deducing arguments and their conclusions. In other words, if you're favorite topics of discussions and/or talks involve politics, sports or even parenting, I strongly recommend this book.
Want to be different from everyone else? Be logical. Call (email) me when you are.
- Excellent companion to those new to the beauty of Logic.
- Gentle writing without overwhelming the reader with big vocabulary.
- Good choice for Logic professors in high school and college level.
- Some parts drag on.
|Title||Logic Made Easy
How To Know When Language Deceives You
|Author(s)||Deborah J. Bennett|
|Description||Complete with puzzles you can try yourself and questions you can use to raise your test scores, Logic Made Easy reveals that logic, though usually seen as one of the most challenging subjects in everyday life, does not have to be impossible.
HOW LOGICAL ARE YOU?
CAN YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS?
1, The instructions on your income tax form read: "All thoses who reside in New Jersey must fill out Form 203." You are not from New Jersey. Do you have to fill out Form 203?
2. At your local voting booth, you encounter a referendum on the repeal of term limits. If you vote "yes," do you favor term limits?
3. Does a parent's admonition "If you eat your dinner, you may have dessert" really mean kids have to eat their dinner in order to eat dessert?
The answer to these and countless other questions can be found in Deborah J. Bennett's Logic Made Easy.
|ISBN||978-0-393-32692-5 // 0-393-05748-8|
|Book Dimensions||Width: 3.0″|
|Depth: 0.25″ (¼″)|
|Contents||Introduction: Logic Is Rare, 1 Proof, 2 ALL, 3 A NOT Tangles Everything Up, 4 SOME Is Part or All of ALL, 5 Syllogisms, 6 When Things Are IFfy, 7 Syllogisms Involving IF AND and OR, 8 Series Syllogisms, 9 Symbols That Express Our Thoughts, 10 Logic Machines and Truth Tables, 11 Fuzzy Logic Fallacies and Paradoxes, 12 Common Logic and Language, 13 Thinking Well—Together, Notes, References, Acknowledgments, Index|
|Manufacturing by||The Haddon Craftsmen, Inc.|
|Book Design||Margaret M. Wagner|
|Production Manager||Julia Druskin|
|Published||July 17, 2005|
|Publisher||W.W. Norton New York • London (www.wwnorton.com)|
|Copyright||© 2004 by Deborah J. Bennett|
|Printed in||United States of America|
|Book Format||Hardcover, Kindle|
"The best and the most lucid introduction to logic you will find." — Martin Gardner
"Bennett's text . . . is like a café conversation between likable cognoscenti . . . nothing could more provoke and excite the reader." — Simon Ings, New Scientist
"In this case, you CAN judge a book by its cover—or at least its title: the author makes a promise right at the start and then follows through by making logic easy for readers to understand." — Manya Chylinski, Library Journal
|Best Seller's List||--|
|Other||Deborah J. Bennett is the author of Randomness and teaches mathematics at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, New Jersey.|
|Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data||1. Reasoning.|
|2. Language and Logic.|
|LC Control Number||2003026910|
|LC Call Number||BC177 .B42 2004|
|DDC Call Number||160—dc22|