The Philosophical Apprentice

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” Albert Einstein

Playing catch-up with logic

One of the ways to make studying philosophy even more challenging than it already is to undertake the subject with a shaky foundation in logic.

I’ve started a couple of logic courses but I have never made it all the way through. A while back I got a taste of traditional syllogistic logic in one of my classes and I found that I enjoyed it very much. And since studying philosophy without really being able to tell a good argument from a bad argument is rather pointless, I’ve decided to remedy my shortcomings.

Right now I’m using Martin Cothran’s course in Traditional Logic which is a gentle if effective introduction to the art. I’m on the first book right now which has 14 lessons. The great thing about the Cothran approach is that he gives you an introduction in each lesson and then he gives you four days of exercises to consolidate the material.  If i do one exercise per day I calculate I could have the 1st book done by 25 November. Since I’m making this public I guess I’ll have to hold myself to it.

I’m also using logicola which is a free software developed by Harry Gensler, a Jesuit philosophy professor at John Carroll University. I’ve used the software before to translate sentences into logical form and I found it a wonderful tool. You can find the link for the software here.

My plan is to complete Cothran’s second book on traditional logic and then work his book on material logic about which I know little. I would like to fit Peter Kreeft’s book Socratic Logic in here somewhere. I would like to go ahead and do it but I’m strapped for time. It looks like I am going to have to start getting up earlier to get all this done and getting up earlier is something I really really hate. So much in fact that I am going to devote my next entry to that matter.


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