Introducing students to philosophy will require spending much time analyzing philosophical reasoning. Students will be expected to write analyses of philosophical reasoning in essays on tests. Thus it is useful to have an understanding of logic.
A basic vocbulary of logical terms which mnay be reached by clicking on the buttons appearing in the text below.
In virtually every aspect of philosophy we are concerned with the reasons given for holding any particular view. Insofar as we are concerned with asking if the reasons given really do support the view in question, we are concerned with a logical inquiry. Some, but surely not all, mental processes are rational processes; logic is concerned with the evaluation of only those that are regarded as rational.
"Inference" is the name given to the reasoning process by which we are led to assert or deny the truth of a conclusion on the basis of other beliefs assumed to be true.
Corresponding to every inference, insofar as the beliefs in question can be expressed in language, one can formulate a group of statements as an argument leading to the conclusion in question.
Since logic concerns itself with the analysis of arguments, and arguments are constructed of "statements" or "propositions," a study of logic must begin with defining what is meant by statements or propositions, (which for introductory purposes may be considered to be synonymous).
From the fact that logic is concerned with evaluating arguments, it follows that we must consider the types of relationships which can hold between the premises of an argument and its conclusion, the relationship of "...provides reasons for...". Many different relationships are possible, but the most fundamental distinction is between deductive arguments and inductive arguments.
Deductive arguments in which the conclusion follows from the premisses are called valid; those which are considered to prove their conclusions are true are called "sound."