A few years ago I had an Epiphany that I shouldn’t have had to have. When you use logic in an argument (or debate) you are using and incredibly brutal blunt object. I have always been highly logical, as anyone who knows me will attest, and I should have been aware of how brutal logic is at a much younger age. That I haven’t been I am profoundly sorry, I should have used my gift of logic with more care.
I would like to plead mitigating facts. Mostly that the use of logic is not shown in our Medea in any case like it actually is. I think this is because most actors, screenwriters, and directors are not naturally gifted with logic. It is something they learn, if they learn it at all, in a few short class’. What I mean is most people think logic is Sherlock Holmes or Mr. Spock an while these characters do use some logic the characterizations don’t bring home just how brutal logic is to most people.
Let me be very clear here. Most people rarely if ever use true logic and when they do attempt to they usually commit a logical fallacy. This is no fault of theirs! To expect an average person to use logic correctly would be like expecting that same average person to play a church organ. It is just not going to happen. Even those of us who are gifted with an inborn proclivity for the use of logic need to study it’s correct use before we can be expected to master it. We also use the word ‘logic’ in the wrong context. When you here someone say ‘That sounds logical.’ What they really mean is ‘That sounds reasonable.’
Logic and Reason are not the same thing. Let me say that again, Reason and Logic are not identical. Something that is reasonable can be illogical and something logical can be unreasonable. If you don’t believe me, just read ‘Alice in Wonderland’ everything in it is logical, but totally unreasonable. This is not to say that things can not be both logical and reasonable, they can. They can also be illogical and unreasonable. Nor should things also need not be always logical and reasonable, but making something that is logical also reasonable is one way to make logic less brutal. Therefor I recommend checking the reasonableness of your logic.
I also would like to recommend remembering that with logic when your fundamental postulates are accepted you will always end up where you intended to go. This feature of logic will often make whoever your arguing with feel like you have trapped or tricked them somehow. Remmember that they will often say “that’s not logical.” When they mean it’s not reasonable and remember that their idea of what is reasonable my not match. Also it is very very easy to become harsh or hard when using logic because you will be using hard, demonstratable facts (this is because it is next to impossible to use soft facts or opinions in logic). This is one area I have to watch myself because I keep asking for ‘citations’ in political debates that I can ‘fact check’. This leads to being accused of not being willing to ‘listen’ to the othersides position.
So remember when using logic “Gently, gently”.