PS 092: Thinking Well

George Orwell said:  ‘In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act’.

So how do you find the truth in a post-truth world?  What is a fact? What makes a sound argument?

Aristotle is commonly and justly regarded as the founder of logic, which is the study of the principles of correct reasoning.  Logic is the methodology of philosophy and can be applied to any subject area at all, because logic is topic neutral.

When we are told something that is shocking, unbelievable or unpleasant we naturally ask, ‘Why do you think that?’ or ‘How do you know that?’  The response will usually include evidence. Thinking well requires an examination of the link between the actual evidence and the conclusions drawn from it.  An understanding of philosophical logic provides some thinking tools for establishing how tightly the evidence and the conclusion are connected.  Through concepts such as moral reasoning, analogy, induction, deduction and abduction we can learn to recognise fuzzy logic and invalid argument and try to find the truth.