on May 28, 2013
Traditional Logic is a very good intro course to logic for those of us who have never studied it. If possible, purchase or borrow the DVD set to go with this text. The teacher is not exciting and your child may not want to watch it, but having the instructor on DVD was huge help to me! My child is 8th grade and she uses DVD's for other subjects so she liked to watch this one as well.
The text is written so you can read the chapter and then have 5 days of worksheets that reinforce what you learned. Those 5 days are necessary to absorb and reiterate all the new concepts. You do not need the "Teacher's" book to go with this program. Put that money towards the DVD's. However, be sure to buy the answer key.
If you have studied logic (not fallacies, but traditional logic) then this course may be easy for you to teach. But if you are like so many of us who never took logic classes, then all the new grammar and vocabulary of logic is quite overwhelming. However, this book is set up as simply as possible. Be prepared for a learning curve and some real brain work for the first several chapters. But you will see the benefit of it after about 3 weeks.
If you have been teaching classical education to your child, then he/she already understands the frustration with learning the grammar stage of a new subject, but also the satisfaction of having stuck with it. Therefore, I recommend this course for kids over 12 years old so that the logic part of the their brain has developed and they have already struggled with some subjects and have seen the benefits of hard work.
If possible, join/start a weekly class with other kids also studying this same book. A group of us moms got together once a week to discuss this book before we started the class with the kids. None of us had ever studied logic. It was fun to watch each other struggle with understanding things in a new way. We were able to share how we started to think and see things around us differently. You start to see poor logic show up in the news, in your conversations, etc. If kids know they will be getting together to discuss the concepts, they will put more effort in during the week and not feel to isolated with the difficulties of learning how to think.
Studying logic is difficult. This book makes it as simple as possible.
on July 10, 2015
This book was my first introduction to logic. I decided to get into classical education, and used it to homeschool myself while a middle-aged professor.
There are two criticisms that I have. One is that, typical of Memoria Press materials, it is built on memorization. I understand the theory behind the trivium, based probably as much on Dorothy Sayers' essay, where she admits that she isn’t even sure if she’s right, as much as on what classical education was really like in its heyday. (Memoria Press’s Latin books with all their memorization were so boring that I threw them out, although I still have their music books and CD.) I used Wilson and Nance’s texts while teaching later a classical Christian school. Wilson and Nance base their learning more on practice and less on that painful memorization typical of Memoria Press, and I thought it was much better than Memoria Press’s method. Nance was an engineer with Boeing for 19 years, later teaching subjects like calculus and I assume logic at the New Saint Andrews College (NSA), so it would figure that I, a PhD chemist with lots of math on my college transcript, would learn better from him than from a system based on memorization more than practice. This is a problem that I have with classical education anyway. There’s too much memorization before practice, and languages are too often taught deductively rather than inductively. As someone with much foreign language background who has gotten around in Europe and Israel and had to learn their languages, including a year of four hour a day, six day a week Hebrew, I am convinced that inductive learning is the way to go. Practice sentences, hold conversations, and worry about memorizing charts after that. I’ve tried both ways, and inductive learning is more fun and for me, works better.
The other criticism is that there were one or more errors in my book that had to be corrected by going online with Memoria Press. I say “were” because I got rid of my Memoria Press books during a move in which I had to get rid of well over half my library. Maybe these mistakes been corrected by now. The chief one that I remember is an Euler diagram that was just plain wrong in the book but corrected online. One reviewer gave a one-star review for this book, and after having to correct the mistakes in my copy of Traditional Logic I, I understand.
Traditional Logic I and II teach categorical logic. Wilson and Nance use one book for categorical logic, while Memoria Press uses two, so all in all Memoria Press teaches more categorical logic, such as Aristotelian sorites. However, Nance’s second book is on symbolic logic, which Memoria Press doesn’t treat in either of their books. So the choice is two books covering Aristotelian or categorical logic (Memoria Press) or one book on categorical logic (less thorough than Memoria Press’s two books) and one book on symbolic logic (Nance). The best bet for a real logic fanatic would be to use both systems, realizing that there is enough overlap to make it less work than each system used separately and added together would take, in other words, just making up numbers here, 75 “hours” for both sets of books verses 50 “hours” for each set separately. And yes, I have a college text that I bought used that treats areas that neither Memoria Press nor Nance and Wilson treat, such as strong, weak, and cogent arguments. Certain other logical teachings I found online. But this book is a good start.
on November 2, 2013
I was browsing in Mardel's store when I noticed this book. I not only look for book for my Homeschooled grandchildren, but also look for books for my own study in Mardels. Logic is a particular study of mine, and I am always curious when I see a book about it. I have never heard of Martin Cothran's "Traditional Logic" before.
The first notable feature is that it is not a thick tome, which is often the case with books on Logic like that of
"Introduction to Logic" (14th Edition) by Irving M. Copi Late, Carl Cohen and Kenneth McMahon. Many colleges use this; but I do not really like to get my instruction from authors who may be skeptics. I own Copi's book and have used it from time over the years, but I think it is hardly the best book for a Self-Studied Logic.
Even if I were in a college class, I would not enjoy studying Logic as Copi teaches it. Still, it should be recognized for what it is, as an authoritative but secular text.
The Martin Cothran book is paperbound, with larger print, published in an outline format, with Bold Print and Colored Print to highlight important words and principles
I have a certain Rule--of---Thumb that I have found serves me in good stead when buying books.
If an author does not believe in God, I find that it greatly alters their knowledge of a subject, and this is particularly true concerning books written by Philosophers and Logicians. The thinking of a Skeptic shows up as a distorted understanding of their subjects. Skeptics write of logic in a twisted and distorted manner which makes it confusing, and leaves the reader wondering why they even considered it as an interest in the first place. Their presentation of a subject always leads to a kind of Nihilism in thought, which makes all knowledge superfluous and meaningless.
So I was very pleased to see that Martin Cothran based his researches into logic upon the work of Jacques Maritain
(18 November 1882 - 28 April 1973) a prominent Thomist Scholar. I have read a little of Maritain's essays on the Internet, so that I was confident of his philosophy. So Martin Cothran has a solid foundation for his research into the subject.
My reading began slowly, because Logic at first, is a bit of a slog.
The new terms and concepts at first, are a little daunting. However, what is surprising is that the book begins to repeat and reaffirm in the subsequent Chapters, what they taught in the Introduction and Chapter 1. This pattern repeats. So don't be surprised if you turn to a later Chapter, and find a nice comprehensive review and affirmation of the terms and definitions you have already studied.
If a reader wants a more formal instruction in Logic, there is another new book which should also be considered, and it is almost the definitive text on the subject and particularly so for the modern Christian. That book is:
"Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview" Hardcover,
by J. P. Moreland (Author) and William Lane Craig (Author)
(Now that is a thick tome also, but author's William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland have obtained to such a reputation
as authors who stand in opposition to "The New Atheism" that anything they publish is a must have book for the modern
What one learns when taking up the study of Logic, is that different authors present the material in a slightly different way and in a different sequence. Their articulation of the basics will vary slightly.
For example, until I read this book by Martin Cothran, and even though I have an operating knowledge of many Logical Fallacies, and so forth, I have never before seen an enumeration of the
FOUR PRINCIPLES OF ALL LOGICAL THOUGHT that Martin Cothran gives. I know logical fallacies
(about 20 of them as a working toolkit) and I know about the three LAWS OF LOGIC articulated by Aristotle;
(1) The Law of Identity (2) The Law of Non-Contradiction and (3) The Law of the Excluded Middle.
But I had never read anywhere about the FOUR PRINCIPLES as the Foundation of all Logical Thought.
Author Cothran gives them as follows:
(1) The Principle of Reciprocal Identity
(2) The Principle of Reciprocal Non-Identity
(3) The Principle of Dictum de Omni
(4) The Principle of Dictum de Nullo
I found these by flipping through one of the later chapters last week, but rather than leave the reader's curiosity piqued or leaving the reader baffled, let me explain that these are reduce in a basic way, to the idea that
Things---Equal--To--The---Same--Thing---Are---Equal---To---Each---Other, or vice versa.
I hope it is clear to the reader that I recommend multiple books for a study of Logic. Some books will be so detailed as to the technical understanding of the Science of Logic, that it can be discouraging, while other texts, briefer in their pages, might seem lacking in detailed in their explanations. Frankly, I recommend having more than just one book on the subject, and I will share my recommendations for those. Each of them has something good to offer.
This is not to show that Martin Cothran's book is insufficient, because for its exposition of the subject, it is one of the best I have ever seen, and it is well worth the price. When the presentation of the subject of Logic in the Martin Cothran book is compared afterward, to some of the writings of skeptics and professors of logic with a Materialist Worldview, I think the student of logic will deeply appreciate the value of Martin Cothran's instructional method.
I also purchased an Answer Key, but I have never used it, because, after all, the answers are basically, in the book's instruction.
One of the first distinctions to be made in studying logic, is whether or not one wants to study
SYMBOLIC LOGIC (If P, then Q....etc.), or the logic which employs everyday language. Some books will teach both, but Martin Cothran's book is the logic which employs ordinary language. William Lane Craig's book,
"Philosophical Foundation for a Christian Worldview" begins with Symbolic Logic. It is important to have this for a basic resource.
Here is a list of books that may also be considered:
(for children): "The Fallacy Detective" by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn
"Socratic Logic: A Logic Text using Socratic Method, Platonic Questions, and Aristotelian Principles, Edition 3.1 [Hardcover] Peter Kreeft (Author)
>(Author), Trent Dougherty (Editor)
"nonsense: Red Herrings, Straw Men and Sacred Cows: How We Abuse Logic in Our Everyday Language"
by Robert J. Gula
"Being Logical" by D. Q. McInerny
"Logic Made Easy: How To Know When Language Deceives You" by Deborah J. Bennett
"Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric" by Howard Kahane (a text used in colleges, also published in many editions)
"INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC AND TO THE METHODOLOGY OF DEDUCTIVE SCIENCES" by Alfred Tarski
"Elementary Lessons in Logic; Deductive and Inductive" by W. Stanley Jevons (1 September 1835 - 13 August 1882,
Jevons book was published in 1870, so the language is a little "archaic" but still, it is an important work)
"A Rulebook for Arguments" Paperback by Anthony Weston (a great little book!)
I could cite as many other books, but I think this will help guide the reader's exploration into texts which teach the Science of Logic.