The art of logical thinking; (1909) - PDF book by William Walker Atkinson

The art of logical thinking; (1909) or, The laws of reasoning



The art of logical thinking




'* Reasoning" is defined as *^The act, process or art of exercising the faculty of reason; the act or activity of employing reason in argument; argumentation, ratiocination; reasoning power; disputation, discussion, argumentation. Stewart says: ^"The word reason itself is far from being precise in its meaning."


In common and popular discourse it de- notes that power by which we distinguish truth from falsehood, and right from wrong, and by which we are enabled to combine means for the attainment of particular ends. ' * By the employment of the reasoning faculties of the mind we compare objects presented to the mind as percepts or concepts, taking up the **raw materials'' of thought and weaving them into more complex and elaborate mental fabrics which we call abstract and general ideas of truth, Brooks says: ^ ' It is the thinking power of the mind; the faculty which gives us what has been called thought-knowledge, in distinctions from sense-knowledge

. It may be regarded as the mental architect among the faculties; it transforms the material furnished by the senses . . . into new products, and thus builds up the temples of science and philosophy. '^ The last-mentioned authority adds: ^^Its products are twofold, ideas and thoughts. An idea is a mental product which when expressed in words does not give a proposition; a thought is a mental product that embraces the relation of two or more ideas. 

The ideas of the understanding are of two general classes; abstract ideas and general ideas. The thoughts are also of two general classes; those pertaining to contingent truth and those pertaining to necessary truth. In contingent truth, we have facts or immediate judgments, and general truths including laws and causes, derived from particular facts; in necessary truth, we have axioms, or self-evident truths, and the truths derived from them by reasoning, called theorems/'.

Contents of the book:


I. Reasoning 9
II. The Process of Reasoning 17
III. The Concept 25
IV, The Use of Concepts 37
V. Concepts and Images 48
VL Terms 56
VII. The Meaning of Terms 73
VIIL Judgments 82
IX. Propositions 90
X. Immediate Reasoning 99
XI. Inductive Reasoning 107
XII. Reasoning by Induction 116
XIII. Theory and Hypotheses 125
XIV. Making and Testing Hypotheses 132
XV. Deductive Reasoning 144
XVL The Syllogism 156
XVII. Varieties of Syllogisms 167
XVIII. Reasoning by Analogy 179
XIX. FaUacies 186


Author: William Walker Atkinson 
Publication Date:1909 


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