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Posts Tagged ‘logic’

I read a very good book on how to form arguments and how to spot illogical ones. Anthony Weston is the author and the books is called A Rulebook For Arguments. It was well written and so easy to understand and to follow.

It talks about some common fallacies (errors in logic) used by people when arguing. It talks about how to spot such fallacies and how to structure an essay in the best way, logically and coherently. Talk about a book I needed to read! Now, all I need to do is practice.

A great read.

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“a thought once thought cannot be unthought”. Unless you want to keep your world view intact at all costs – don’t read this book!

Okay, not sure if it’s quite that dramatic. But it is controversial – still! After 18 years we still abide by what Edward de Bono call “Rock Logic” in most of our activities. In I am Right You are Wrong de Bono sets out to make us see that perception rather than judgement is what is needed, are we to change the way we live and the world we live in.

One of my favorite sections is the one where he declares the problem with problem-solving. In problem solving we say “this is the problem” and then we go about removing the problem. “In design we say: ‘Here’s the situation. How can we move forward’? If you want to build a new town on a swamp you might say: ‘Let’s remove the swamp.’ But if you want to build a new town in the desert you do not set out to remove all the sand but instead you say: ‘This is a desert. How do we design houses that can stand on the sand?'” Design more often than not lets us improve situations, rather than problems that needs to be fixed in order to sustain the current system. Design, in many cases, creates new systems.

It’s a healther way of looking at anything, really, as new generations have new ideas and new designs that might very well improve the way we behave and live on this planet. Though, it has always taken quite a lot of effort to bring about any new change that lies outside of the old established way of thinking, but it’s needed. After all, if new ideas never had managed to penetrate old ways of thinking, we would still be sitting in some cave ranting on about how safe it is and how dangerous the outside might be.

We still abide by the old industrial rule of “if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it”. Well, if we take a real hard look, it is broke. But we shouldn’t tweak the current system as much as we should replace it entirely.

New concepts that I liked from the book is “po”. It’s a word used to stop us from emotionally reacting to a situation and just let it be “not knowing” for a while. It’s a pattern-breaker, because our reactions always flow into certain patterns, po will stop us from falling into these patterns and rather let us be in the unknown for awhile. “As a signal po is much stronger than ‘maybe’ or the Japanese device of ‘mu’. Po is not ‘don’t know’ but more ‘don’t yet want to know'”.

Additionally, de Bono mentions the Six Thinking Hats. It’s a tool for thinking that works well in groups that want to think well together. They are basically hats that you metaphorically put on your head and each hat has an attribute, or way of thinking. “There is the white hat for attention to pure and neutral data. There is the red hat to allow the input of intution and feeling without any need for justification. There is the black hat of the logical negative, which is caution and points out why something cannot be done. There is the yellow hat of the logical positive, which focuses on the benefits and feasibility. For creative thinking there is the green hat, which calls for new ideas and further alternatives. Finally there is the blue hat for process control, which looks not at the subject but at the thinking about the subject (meta-cognition)”.

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