10-second review: Defines inductive and deductive reasoning, syllogism, enthymeme, valid and true, and types of syllogisms—categorical, conditional and alternative.
Title: “The Three R’s of Teaching Logic: Revelation, Relevance and Reinforcement.” RC Covel. English Journal (July 2010), 47-50.
Definitions Related to Logic
.Inductive reasoning. Begins with particular facts and draws generalizations or conclusions from them.
.Deductive reasoning begins with a generalization
.Syllogism: Major premise—all men are mortal. Minor premise—Socrates is a man. Conclusion—Socrates is mortal.
.Enthymeme: A compressed syllogism expressing a syllogism in a single sentence.
Syllogism: Authors who use too much detail ruin their stories. Orwell does not go into too much detail in his Animal Farm. Therefore, Orwell doesn’t ruin Animal Farm. Enthymeme: George Orwell didn’t ruin Animal Farm by going into too much detail.
.A syllogism may be true without being valid. Truth has to do with the accuracy of the conclusion. Validity has to do with the method used to arrive at the conclusion.
.Test of syllogism validity: Major premise must be expressed in universal terms. If one premise is expressed in negative terms, the conclusion must be negative. If both premises are negative,, no conclusion is possible.
Types of syllogisms: Categorical begins with words such as “all” or “None.” Conditional syllogism is “if-then.” Alternative is “either-or.”
Comment: I find that sweeping generalizations like major premises in syllogisms have exceptions and therefore can’t be true. Furthermore “either-or” syllogisms are the syllogisms used by the NCTE in taking issue with the way to do things in the English classroom. Either phonics or whole word; either basals or whole language; either writing process or writing product; either grammar or writing. In almost every case the solutions to these phony “dilemmas” are the words “both-and.” Both phonics and whole word; both basals and whole language; both writing process and product; both grammar and writing, etc . RayS.