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Socratic Logic: A Logic Text using Socratic Method, Platonic Questions, and Aristotelian Principles, Edition 3.1 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1587318085 ISBN-10: 1587318083 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 410 pages
  • Publisher: St. Augustines Press; 3rd edition (September 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587318083
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587318085
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

An excerpt from chapter 1:

Section 3. The two logics (P)

(This section can be omitted without losing anything you will need later on in the book. It’s here both to satisfy the advanced student’s curiosity and to sell the approach of this book to prospective teachers who may question its emphasis on Aristotelian rather than symbolic logic, by justifying this choice philosophically.)
     Almost four hundred years before Christ, Aristotle wrote the world’s first logic textbook. Actually it was six short books, which collectively came to be known as the Organon, or “instrument.” From then until 1913, when Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead published Principia Mathematica, the first classic of mathematical or symbolic logic, all students learned Aristotelian logic, the logic taught in this book.
     The only other “new logic” for twenty-four centuries was an improvement on the principles of inductive logic by Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum (“New Or-ganon”), in the 17th century, and another by John Stuart Mill, in the 19th century.
     (Inductive reasoning could be very roughly and inadequately defined as reasoning from concrete particular instances, known by experience, while deduction reasons from general principles. Induction yields only probability, while deduction yields certainty. “Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are mortal, therefore probably all men are mortal” is an example of inductive reasoning; “All men are mortal, and Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal” is an example of deductive reasoning.)
     Today nearly all logic textbooks use the new mathematical, or symbolic, logic as a kind of new language system for deductive logic. (It is not a new logic; logical principles are unchangeable, like the principles of algebra. It is more like changing from Roman numerals to Arabic numerals.) There are at least three reasons for this change:

     (1) The first and most important one is that the new logic really is superior to the old in efficiency for expressing many long and complex arguments, as Arabic numerals are to Roman numerals, or a digital computer to an analog computer, or writing in shorthand to writing in longhand.
     However, longhand is superior to shorthand in other ways: e.g. it has more beauty and elegance, it is intelligible to more people, and it gives a more personal touch. That is why most people prefer longhand most of the time – as most beginners prefer simpler computers (or even pens). It is somewhat similar in logic: most people “argue in longhand,” i.e. ordinary language; and Aristotelian logic stays close to ordinary language. That is why Aristotelian logic is more practical for beginners.
     Even though symbolic language is superior in sophistication, it depends on commonsense logic as its foundation and root. Thus you will have a firmer foundation for all advanced logics if you first master this most basic logic. Strong roots are the key to healthy branches and leaves for any tree. Any farmer knows that the way to get better fruit is to tend the roots, not the fruits. (This is only an analogy. Analogies do not prove anything – that is a common fallacy – they only illuminate and illustrate. But it is an illuminating analogy.)
     Modern symbolic logic is mathematical logic. “Modern symbolic logic has been developed primarily by mathematicians with mathematical applications in mind.” This from one of its defenders, not one of its critics (Henry C. Bayerly, in A Primer of Logic. N.Y.: Harper & Row, 1973, p.4).
     Mathematics is a wonderful invention for saving time and empowering science, but it is not very useful in most ordinary conversations, especially philosophical conversations. The more important the subject matter, the less relevant mathematics seems. Its forte is quantity, not quality. Mathematics is the only totally clear, utterly unambiguous language in the world; yet it cannot say anything very interesting about anything very important. Compare the exercises in a symbolic logic text with those in this text. How many are taken from the Great Books? How many are from conversations you could have had in real life?

     (2) A second reason for the popularity of symbolic logic is probably its more scientific and exact form. The very artificiality of its language is a plus for its defenders. But it is a minus for ordinary people. In fact, Ludwig Wittgenstein, probably the most influential philosophical logician of the 20th century, admitted, in Philosophical Investigations, that “because of the basic differences between natural and artificial languages, often such translations [between natural-language sentences and artificial symbolic language] are not even possible in principle.” “Many logicians now agree that the methods of symbolic logic are of little practical usefulness in dealing with much reasoning encountered in real-life situations” (Stephen N. Thomas, Practical Reasoning in Natural Language, Prentice-Hall, 1973).
     – And in philosophy! “However helpful symbolic logic may be as a tool of the . . . sciences, it is [relatively] useless as a tool of philosophy. Philosophy aims at insight into principles and into the relationship of conclusions to the principles from which they are derived. Symbolic logic, however, does not aim at giving such insight” (Andrew Bachhuber, Introduction to Logic (New York: Appleton-Century Crofts, 1957), p. 318).

     (3) But there is a third reason for the popularity of symbolic logic among philosophers, which is more substantial, for it involves a very important difference in philosophical belief. The old, Aristotelian logic was often scorned by 20th century philosophers because it rests on two commonsensical but unfashionable philosophical presuppositions. The technical names for them are “epistemological realism” and “metaphysical realism.” These two positions were held by the vast majority of all philosophers for over 2000 years (roughly, from Socrates to the 18th century) and are still held by most ordinary people today, since they seem so commonsensical, but they were not held by many of the influential philosophers of the past three centuries.
      (The following summary should not scare off beginners; it is much more abstract and theoretical than most of the rest of this book.)
     The first of these two presuppositions, “epistemological realism,” is the belief that the object of human reason, when reason is working naturally and rightly, is objective reality as it really is; that human reason can know objective reality, and can sometimes know it with certainty; that when we say “two apples plus two apples must always be four apples,” or that “apples grow on trees,” we are saying something true about the universe, not just about how we think or about how we choose to use symbols and words. Today many philosophers are skeptical of this belief, and call it naïve, largely because of two 18th century “Enlightenment” philosophers, Hume and Kant.
     Hume inherited from his predecessor Locke the fatal assumption that the immediate object of human knowledge is our own ideas rather than objective reality. Locke naïvely assumed that we could know that these ideas “corresponded” to objective reality, somewhat like photographs; but it is difficult to see how we can be sure any photograph accurately corresponds to the real object of which it is a photograph if the only things we can ever know directly are photographs and not real objects. Hume drew the logical conclusion of skepticism from Locke’s premise.
     Once he limited the objects of knowledge to our own ideas, Hume then distinguished two kinds of propositions expressing these ideas: what he called “matters of fact” and “relations of ideas.”
     What Hume called “relations of ideas” are essentially what Kant later called “analytic propositions” and what logicians now call “tautologies”: propositions that are true by definition, true only because their predicate merely repeats all or part of their subject (e.g. “Trees are trees” or “Unicorns are not non-unicorns” or “Unmarried men are men”).
     What Hume called “matters of fact” are essentially what Kant called “synthetic propositions,” propositions whose predicate adds some new information to the subject (like “No Englishman is 25 feet tall” or “Some trees never shed their leaves”); and these “matters of fact,” according to Hume, could be known only by sense observation. Thus they were always particular (e.g. “These two men are bald”) rather than universal (e.g. “All men are mortal”), for we do not sense universals (like “all men”), only particulars (like “these two men”).
     Common sense says that we can be certain of some universal truths, e.g., that all men are mortal, and therefore that Socrates is mortal because he is a man. But according to Hume we cannot be certain of universal truths like “all men are mortal” because the only way we can come to know them is by generalizing from particular sense experiences (this man is mortal, and that man is mortal, etc.); and we cannot sense all men, only some, so our generalization can only be probable. Hume argued that particular facts deduced from these only-probable general principles could never be known or predicted with certainty. If it is only pr...


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--- NEW! -- Charisms: Visions, Tongues, Healing, etc. (feat. Dave Nevins)

---"Beauty" -- The branch of philosophy dealing with aesthetics.
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Customer Reviews

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Kreeft tackles some difficult notions yet writes in a very accessible manner.
Mike Robinson
This version corrects them all; an overly zealous fan of this book (let him go unnamed) spent a lot of time documenting each one.
Thomas L. Cook
If this is not the text book required in your logic class then buy it anyway and use it as a reference!
Joseph Kraft

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Mike Robinson on April 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Peter Kreeft, author of over 40 books, writes: "We can't avoid reasoning; we can only avoid doing it well." And in "Socratic Logic" the good professor discusses the different applications of modern symbolic logic (Kreeft names as "mathematical logic") in relation to "Old Logic." Kreeft tackles some difficult notions yet writes in a very accessible manner.

The reader will discover how to:

- use old logic to rightly think, argue, and write
- utilize the classical Aristotelian logic
- recognize the right benefit of modern logic
- apply logic in apologetic encounters.

Kreeft states: "An argument in apologetics, when actually used in dialogue, is an extension of the arguer. The arguer's tone, sincerity, care, concern, listening, and respect matter as much as his or her logic - probably more. The world was won for Christ not by arguments but by sanctity: "What you are speaks so loud, I can hardly hear what you say."
This volume is straightforward and not too difficult. It makes a fine basic volume for beginners because it is practical and thought-provoking. It will help the reader construct logical and philosophically powerful arguments to advance the truth using the Socratic approach in an assortment of situations.

The author adds: "Argumentation is a human enterprise that is embedded in a larger social and psychological context. This context includes (1) the total psyches of the two persons engaged in dialogue, (2) the relationship between the two persons, (3) the immediate situation in which they find themselves and (4) the larger social, cultural and historical situation surrounding them."

The Dr. Kreeft offers a high-quality analysis and application of old logic for today's use.
Read more ›
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Thomas L. Cook on September 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Socratic Logic version 3e may very well be the best logic text ever written, but it had many typos. This version corrects them all; an overly zealous fan of this book (let him go unnamed) spent a lot of time documenting each one. Please see my review of version 3e below for details on this amazingly clear, spring-cleaning-for-the-mind sort of book.

3e review:
Decades may pass before this book is recognized for what it is: the most straightforward, honest, and philosophically illuminating logic text in print. It is hard to fathom how rare and useful it is for a man as well-read as Kreeft, and as orthodox, to sift through most historical and modern logic texts for us, and to present all the classic features of logic, and the salient departures from the classic approach to logic. Moreover he does this in one highly accessible, lively, readable volume. This book is even clear (and fun) enough to avoid intimidating an interested middle or high school student. It takes a uniquely dedicated and selfless teacher to 'condescend' as charitably as Kreeft does here- this book is bursting with palpable, intellectual energy on even simple topics, and overflowing with helpful examples on more difficult ones.

This book ought to be also a standard, near-required text for Catholic and Christian colleges. It may be some time before that happens, but it will happen, because it needs to.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Kraft on July 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have taken logic multiple times at the college level and this is my go-to book. I reference it constantly, even when out of class. If this is not the text book required in your logic class then buy it anyway and use it as a reference!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By vincent capuano on January 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is simply the best book available for teaching an introduction to logic class. It is much better then Copi's Introduction to Logic. I use it as the base text for my class of introduction to philosophy here in Argentina. That means I have to pay the price and translate chunks of it.

I also recommend it to the DIY-er (Do It Yourselfer) who wants to develop his mind. Every incoming freshman should read it before taking their first college course.

Dr Kreeft is a great personal trainer if you want to get a strong mind.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Catherine C. Thompson on December 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was very readable, easily understood, and the exercises at the end of the chapters were very helpful. Highly recommended
for any beginner or anyone who is studying on their own.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By McC on November 2, 2012
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If learning is important to you then this is a book that will not only give you important knowledge but help teach you how to learn and think more clearly. It will make you think and teach you to think at the same time. Well done, Dr Kreeft!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ben Bilyeu on April 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have 250 logic texts spanning 5 centuries and without a doubt Socratic Logic by Kreeft is the best of them all!! The book is a gem!! ...Ben Bilyeu
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Samantha Pottenger on April 6, 2013
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If you are looking for an introductory text which is at the same time in-depth, and gives you a good grounding in classical logic as well as enables you to spread your wings a little and have fun with the content, this is the book for you. I am a high school teacher at a school founded on a Classical model, and I use some of the material in this book to inform and enrich my curriculum.
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