When talking about ‘logic’ or ‘something logical’, many people actually mean ‘it makes sense’. However, something logical is not merely something that ‘feels’ right to us. The ability to think logically helps us make correct decisions when needed. Yet, something considered perfectly logical to someone might be viewed as total nonsense to the other. So, what exactly is logic and how can we train ourselves to become a better logical thinker?
One quality that makes humans considered to be superior to animals is that we are rational. Simply put, rationality is the ability to use reasoning to back up our beliefs or actions. When we come up with a reason why we or other people might be right (or wrong), we assume that we are using logical reasoning and everything should be just fine.
Unfortunately, most people are not likely to always use all the information they know when judging a situation or making a decision. And the quality of our decision-making determines success or failure, happiness or haplessness in our life.
It’s important to learn to think logically and determine the best ways to interact with people in any situation.
What is Logical Reasoning?
The word ‘logic’ comes from ancient Greek and originally meant ‘the word’, but later became ‘thought’ or ‘reason’. So, when someone says, “I don’t follow your logic.”, it generally means they don’t follow the person’s reasoning. Or they don’t understand the way the person thinks.
But strictly speaking, not all reasoning is actually correct reasoning. That’s why logical reasoning comes in handy when we need to distinguish truth from falsehood and facts from opinions.
A logical thinker knows how to evaluate facts in order to get the most accurate predictions or draw the best conclusions. It’s about truth and validity.
Let’s say someone saw an unappealing-looking burger sitting on a paper plate in a park. They don’t like its look and smell. They then assume that the burger is not tasty and probably made from cheap, old ingredients.
Of course, we don’t follow their logic because this conclusion is not logical!
Logical reasoning is not a matter of opinion, and is free of emotion.
Logic from the Olden Days
We are not born with logical reasoning. Rather, it is developed later with experience throughout life. Since the olden days, in order to hunt, harvest, cultivate crops, keep livestock, construct, move around, trade and almost every activity under the sun, humans have almost always depended on logical reasoning.
Aristotle – a great Greek philosopher – may be credited as the founder of logic as an academic subject. However, Chinese and Indian scholars had actually worked on logic long before Aristotle’s time. Even with the great distance, their logic principles are amazingly close.
Nevertheless, it’s Aristotle’s principles which later had an enormous impact on Western philosophy and throughout the world.
2 Types of Logical Reasoning Skills
There are 4 types of logical reasoning but the following are the two important ones that we should be familiar with.
Deductive reasoning is the way we think from something more general to specific. With this, we draw a conclusion based on original assumptions or preconceived ideas. When the proposed principles are correct, this should eventually lead to implicitly validated conclusions or predictions.
For example, when a room is dark, we know that either the switch is turned off or the light bulb has burned out. In this case, the switch is still on. Therefore, the light bulb has burned out.
Inductive reasoning is the opposite. We think from something more specific to general. With this, we look for specific cases, analyse the behaviours until we see possible patterns. This should eventually lead to correct generalisations and broader principles.
For example, in the Summer, there are daisies in my garden and my neighbours’ gardens. Therefore, daisies grow in the Summer.
Become a Better Logical Thinker and Problem Solver
Problem-solving may sound daunting but many of us may have been developing this skill since early childhood. We all somehow learn to make the best decisions for ourselves and solve problems throughout our lives.
That’s why everybody can (and should) learn to be a better logical thinker and problem solver.
Logical reasoning helps children and grown-ups alike. When confronting problems, instead of jumping to believe what ‘seems to be’ obvious and following the crowd, a logical thinker takes some time to question. Facts are valued, not opinions.
A logical thinker, a good decision maker.
How to Improve Our Logical Thinking in Daily Life
We all face logical challenges on a daily basis without realising it.
We calculate our shopping bills in the supermarket. We compare offers in local stores. We figure out the best route that takes us home in the shortest time. We receive some pieces of advice and consider which one to follow. Without the ability to think straight, life could be confusing.
Logical thinking is a skill. We all are born with some degree of it and it can be developed over time. Here are three things you can do today to become a better logical thinker.
1. Read a Lot
Deductive reasoning is based on theory. In order to understand general principles of how things work around us, we need to gain knowledge. One of the best ways to do this is to read a lot. In seeking true knowledge, you need to focus on facts, not people’s opinions.
As the world (and our screens) is flooded with information, make sure you read from different sources to get a better picture of the subject matter and avoid unsubstantiated claims.
2. Observe a Lot
Inductive reasoning is based on observations. Work on your focus and attention to detail. You make observations to reach the best conclusions or predictions. When you go shopping next time, do not sleepwalk along supermarket aisles, but observe (and compare) products; i.e. prices, ingredients. When looking out of the window, observe passers by, cars, weather, etc . Try to identify their patterns.
Your conclusions may not always be true but this brain training should help you make reasonable decisions with the best possible outcomes.
3. Question and Discuss a Lot
A smart person is a great questioner by nature. Curiosity not only leads them to satisfying answers, but also trains them to become an even smarter and more effective thinker.
When you stay curious and constantly ask questions, it makes you feel engaged with the world around you. When your discussion is based on facts and evidence, you get a deeper understanding of the subject.
Ask good questions.
A good answer normally comes from a good question.Gamma High IQ Society
Logic is not about ‘feeling right’, but ‘thinking right’. Training our brain to think rationally and become a better logical thinker comes down to practice. With constant reading, observing and questioning things around us, we will be able to think straight and make the fewest possible errors.
Logical thinking is a valuable skill which not only helps us live in uncertain times more confidently, but also wisely.
All rights reserved. Used by Permission of Gamma High IQ Society and Superbrain Code.