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A Logic Of Facts Or, Every-day Reasoning   By:

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Every day Reasoning

By G. J. Holyoake

"Call him wise whose thoughts and words are a clear because to a clear why." Lavater.





The Logic of the Schools, however indispensable in its place, fails to meet half the common want in daily life. The Logic of the Schools begins with the management of the premises of an argument; there is, however, a more practical lesson to be learned in beginning with the premises themselves. A thousand errors arise through the assumption of premises for one arising in the misplacement of terms. The Logic of the Schools is an elaborate attack upon the lesser evil.

Sir James Mackintosh has remarked that 'Popular reason can alone correct popular sophistry' and it is in vain that we expect amendment in the reasoning of the multitude, unless we make reasoning intelligible to the multitude. As to my object, could I, like Gridiron Cobbett, adopt a symbol of it, I would have engraved Æsop's 'Old Man and his Ass,' who, in a vain attempt to please everybody, failed (like his disciples for even he has disciples) to please anybody. The folly of that superfluously philanthropic old gentleman should teach us proportion of purpose. To be of real service; to some is in the compass of individual capacity, and consequently, the true way of serving, if not of pleasing all . The republic of literature, like society, has its aristocratic, its middle, and its lower classes. No one has combined, in one performance, the refinement applauded in the universities, with the practical purpose, popular among those who toil to live, and live to toil. The populace are my choice of them I am one, and, like a recent premier, Earl Grey, am disposed 'to stand by my order.' I write for this class both from affection and taste. If I can benefit any, I can them. I know their difficulties, for I have encountered them their wants, for they have been mine. This will account for the liberties taken with the subjects upon which I treat. There is more than one kind of hunger that will break through barriers, and I have taken with an unlicensed hand, wherever it was to be found, what I wanted for myself, and what I know to be wanted by those who stand at the anvil and the loom, and who never had the benefits of scholastic education, and who never will.

Many of the arts and sciences, which formerly resided exclusively in the colleges, and ministered only to the sons of opulence and leisure, have escaped from their retreat, and have become the hand maids of the populace. But as respects logic, there still remains between the learned and the illiterate an impassable gulf. The uninformed look on the recondite structure of logic, and they are repelled by the difficulty of comprehending it, and wrap themselves up in absolute and obstinate ignorance, which they believe to be their destiny. The populace, in our manufactories, have to choose between subsistence and intelligence. For study, after protracted toil, they have not the strength and to abridge their labour is to abridge their subsistence, and this they cannot afford. But because they are precluded by the destiny of civilisation from knowing much, they need not remain utterly unskilled in reasoning. Their natural good sense may be systematized, their natural logic may be reduced to some rule and order though it may not be refined it may be practical, it may give power, and develop capacity now dormant.

The hints, general rules, and elementary remarks dispersed throughout this work, will probably be of service to the uninitiated, perhaps put them on the road to higher acquirements, give them a confidence in their own powers, perhaps inspire them with a love of these essential studies, and impart a taste for the refinements which lie beyond. My hope is that many will be induced to consult scholastic treatises, and acquire that accurate knowledge which makes the society of educated people so interesting... Continue reading book >>

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