Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking

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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.”
—Charles Osgood
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About the author

D. Q. MCINERNY has taught logic to college students for decades at Notre Dame, the University of Kentucky, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Lincoln, Nebraska. A scholar of Thomas Merton and the recipient of two Ph.D.’s, Professor McInerny lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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3.8
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Aug 3, 2004
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Pages
160
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ISBN
9781588363770
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Reference
Philosophy / Logic
Reference / Personal & Practical Guides
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

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The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking presents practical, lively, and inspiring ways for you to become more successful through better thinking. The idea is simple: You can learn how to think far better by adopting specific strategies. Brilliant people aren't a special breed--they just use their minds differently. By using the straightforward and thought-provoking techniques in The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking, you will regularly find imaginative solutions to difficult challenges, and you will discover new ways of looking at your world and yourself--revealing previously hidden opportunities.

The book offers real-life stories, explicit action items, and concrete methods that allow you to attain a deeper understanding of any issue, exploit the power of failure as a step toward success, develop a habit of creating probing questions, see the world of ideas as an ever-flowing stream of thought, and embrace the uplifting reality that we are all capable of change. No matter who you are, the practical mind-sets introduced in the book will empower you to realize any goal in a more creative, intelligent, and effective manner. Filled with engaging examples that unlock truths about thinking in every walk of life, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking is written for all who want to reach their fullest potential--including students, parents, teachers, businesspeople, professionals, athletes, artists, leaders, and lifelong learners.


Whenever you are stuck, need a new idea, or want to learn and grow, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking will inspire and guide you on your way.


To share thinking stories, go to: http://5elementsofthinking.wordpress.com

The Freakonomics of math—a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands

The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it.

Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer?

How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God.

Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.
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