Logic, Reason, and Rhetoric

I am starting to think that everyone should take a course in logic.  This is not just because I teach logic, but because I am amazed at how commonly fallacious arguments, and weak arguments, are used to convince people to accept certain positions.   

People like to think that they have  good reasons to hold their positions.   They have listened, maybe, to what others have had to say, and are persuaded to believe in something that sounded good, or right,  to them.

Rhetoric, as I am using the term, means using persuasive language or techniques to get people to agree with your position.  Effective rhetoric may use logical reasoning, but it often involves fallacious reasoning, and emotive language.  People are persuaded to believe that something is true, using manipulative tactics.  Sometimes this is unintentional, and sometimes, the individual employing the tactics knows exactly what they are doing. 

If people were trained to recognize good arguments they would be less likely to be persuaded by manipulative tactics, and we would have more rational debates, less shouting matches,  and maybe come to better decisions.

I’m not going to hold my breathe.  I suspect that many people won’t even read this article, after they look at the title.

Sigh…

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6 Responses to “Logic, Reason, and Rhetoric”

  1. Duane Moraine Says:

    Curt: Thank you for provoking worthwile thoughts. Whose logic and reason? Paul confronted the logic and reason of the Pharisees, Romans and Greeks. Three pretty substantial stronghollds of reason. By worldly standards of reason, Paul was considered a fool, and so were the uneducated Apostles. Nothing like the pride of the logic and reason of this world. The church might call it rhetoric. Perhaps our rhetoric is actually reason, according to God’s logic? Manipulators exist both in and out of the church. Look at our scientific minds using manipulated observations to convince the scientific, educational, and governmental worlds in order to tax and control the masses. I know of no one that I trust completely, but I do trust the Word of God and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Rhetoric? Probably, to others. Duane

    • Pastor Curt Says:

      Duane, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Logic and reasoning will not bring us to faith in Christ, but it can be helpful in evaluating plans, ideas, and circumstances. It also provides a means of comparing the support of conflicting arguments.

      As Christians, there is no substitute for the ongoing work of the Word and the Soirit in our lives. They supply what is missing in our lives.

  2. Cherie Bell Says:

    Logos.

    Rational discourse.

    Wouldn’t THOSE be nice to hear from the floor of the Senate once in awhile?

  3. Travis Gluesing Says:

    I found this blog entry to be very straight forward and people should read this. I like the part where you mention the shouting matches. Sometimes I am notorius for that but I have to say studying ethics/philosphey has shown me some good ways to argue and even feel some power. I like how you talk about rehtoric and how it can trick people also. I did not know logic was so people oriented I have never studied logic and thought it had to do alot with more statistical information but now that I am more informed I may have to take a logic course down the road.

    • Pastor Curt Says:

      Statistical intepretation is also a part of logic. A book was published years ago, “How to Lie With Statistics”. I think that it is required reading for advertisers and politicians.

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