Wednesday, September 3, 2008

With Good Reason

One of my favorite logic books is With Good Reason by S. Morris Engel. I enjoy it not only because it contains Far Side cartoons illustrating logical errors, but also because of its robust treatment of informal fallacies.

A fallacious argument is one that is unsound. While there are many ways to make such errors in reasoning, and not everyone must be a logician to spot these errors, With Good Reason does a great job of cataloging the primary logical offenders such as personal attach fallacies, appeal to pity, appeal to authority, slippery slope, the complex question, and many others.

Although I have several other logic books in my library, none has been as valuable and entertaining as With Good Reason.

Learning to think clearly and analyze arguments is not a task just for logicians, philosophers, and mathematicians. It is a biblical mandate. "Come now, let us reason together," says God to Isaiah (Isaiah 1:18), while Christ instructed his followers to love God with heart, soul, and mind.

Christianity is not anti-intellectual. Neither does it support blind faith. Rather, Christianity embraces the life of the mind, the intellect, the rational, the logical, and the pursuit of truth. Learning to think well is important, relevant, and a calling that none of us should ignore.


Adel Thalos said...

Thank you Robert. I look forward to reading it. I am putting it on order today.

david said...

As a computer science major I get the nuts and bolts of logic, but often get lost in the whirlwind of rhetoric and ambiguity that often accompanies written argumentation. As a Christian who loves apologetics, I am certainly looking forward to checking this book out!

Robert Velarde said...

Hope you find the book useful. It seems kind of pricey to me ($32 on Amazon or starting around $20 used). This is probably because it is used as a college textbook. I have the 4th edition, but it looks like it's now in the 6th edition.

The definitive logic book is Irving Copi's masterpiece Introduction to Logic, but it costs even more and is, in my assessment, pretty dry.

By the way, on logical errors in biblical interpretation, I really like Scripture Twisting by James Sire and Exegetical Fallacies by D.A. Carson.