Reasoning: The action behind thinking

When you are trying to make sense of something you are doing reasoning. Commonly we call it thinking. One can do it in two ways: logically and emotionally. What we are concerned here is logical thinking, also called logical reasoning.

Many people, when they talk, they say things like: logically this or that, logically this is what happened. Logically this is what we should do. Most of them don’t have any idea what they are saying. Just because they said the word ‘logically’ doesn’t make it logical. Next time when you hear someone saying logically this or that, ask them what do they mean by logic. Usually, you will not get a reply. If you don’t get a reply, it means they don’t know. They are no different from a parrot that can keeps saying the word logic.

We humans are capable of thinking both logically and emotionally. We need logic because our physical world operates through plain and pure logic. The world neither understand nor care about how somebody feels. On the other hand we need emotion when we deal with other human beings. We are emotional creatures mostly driven by our emotions rather than reason. From this we know that in our daily life, we should think both logically and emotionally. One should know when to use logic and when to use emotion.

It all start with idea. An idea is a symbol that represent outside object. We can save these symbols in our memory or we can transfer it to another person. Right now I’m doing the same thing. Im transferring ideas from my mind to your mind. These letters are the symbols I’m using. Each noun represent an outside object. Each verb represents an action. So once you have done reading I successfully transferred ideas from my mind to your mind.

Statement

When we combine multiple ideas that represent an action or something as it is, we call it a statement. When we say ‘Fuvahmulah’ we are bringing a single idea. When we say ‘Fuvahmulah is below the equator’ we have combined multiple ideas. It becomes a statement. .

Statements can be further divided into two. One is statement of facts and the other is statement of opinions. In short: facts vs opinions. Many people confuse these two because it looks very similar. A fact comes from a direct observation of something that exist in the real world. An opinion is something comes from a person’s imagination. Opinions doesn‘t have any real world existence. They are mostly someone’s preferences, tastes, likes and dislikes. No one can disagree with an opinion. No one can verify it. I might say ‘Matrix is the best movie’ I see people arguing over this kind of statements. They will get nowhere. You can say ‘I disagree, The Dark Knight is the best movie’ we can argue all day but it will not lead us anywhere. These are just preferences.

There are statement of facts that are either true or false. These are called propositions. Every proposition must have this property and we should always check whether its true or false. How do we check? Every proposition represent objects. To check the validity of it, we can always check the object by ourselves or by someone we trust or from the person who is making the statement. Ask him ‘how did you know?‘ In the case of fuvahmulah, we can check it from a map created by a trusted institution. This way we can verify whether fuvahmulah is below the equator or not. If we cannot find a map then ask the person how did you know? From now on we are only interested in statements that we can use as propositions.

Until here we understand what is an idea, what is a statement, how to distinguish a fact from an opinion and how a statement becomes a proposition. Next we will combine multiple propositions to make an argument.

Argument

Ever heard of an argument? Im sure you have seen and heard a lot inside cafés and fish market. These are everyday word fight arguments. When we combine multiple statements and make a group. This group is also called an argument. So from now on we refer a group of propositions as an argument.  An argument contains three parts, each part consists of propositions.

First part is called premise. This part contain propositions that you present as facts or evidence. This part contain all the reasons why someone should accept you or believe you.

Second part is inference. This is the bridge that stand in the middle and connect the first and last part. If it connects well, then you have a strong infrence.

An example of inference is:
All men are mortal, Socrates is a man

Inference operates in the background. Inference of above two statement is if all men are mortal and if Socrates is a man, we know automatically that he must also be mortal. This movement from premise to conclusion is the inference.

last part is conclusion. This part contain statements you want others to accept.

When you have a point of view and you have evidence and facts and have a strong connection between the two, you can make a good argument. Everytime you express an idea or tell your point of view always give reasons why they should accept you. Use premise that connects well with your conclusion.

When you are thinking, always gather facts first, after that derive conclusions from it. From time to time check your conclusions and see if it is backed by facts. If not reject it. Sometimes we judge people too quickly and later realize they are different from what we thought they were. We can avoid these things if we root our judgements to solid facts. Talk inside your head as if you are trying to convince someone. Use arguments to support your views and ideas. Be willing to change, be willing to reject things you hold dear if it fails to qualify your new high standard.

I think this much is sufficient for a start. What’s remaining is types of arguments and fallacies.