The Art of Logical Thinking or The Laws of Reasoning William W. Atkinson

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The Art of Logical Thinking or The Laws of Reasoning  by  William W. Atkinson

The Art of Logical Thinking or The Laws of Reasoning by William W. Atkinson
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CHAPTER II. THE PROCESS OF REASONINGThe processes of Reasoning may be said to comprise four general stages or steps, as follows: I. Abstraction, by wMcb is meant the process of drawing off and setting aside from an object, person or thing, a qualityMoreCHAPTER II. THE PROCESS OF REASONINGThe processes of Reasoning may be said to comprise four general stages or steps, as follows: I. Abstraction, by wMcb is meant the process of drawing off and setting aside from an object, person or thing, a quality or attribute, and making of it a distinct object of thought. For instance, if I perceive in a lion the quality of strength, and am able to think of this quality abstractly and independently of the animal —if the term strength has an actual mental meaning to me, independent of the lion—then I have abstracted that quality- the thinking thereof is an act of abstraction- and the thought-idea itself is an abstract idea.

Some writers hold that these abstract ideas are realities, and “not mere figments of fancy. As Brooks says: “The rose dies, but my idea of its color and fragrance remains.” Other authorities regard Abstraction as but an act of attention concentrated upon but the particular quality to the exclusion of others, and that the abstract idea has no existence apart from the general idea of the object in which it is included. Sir William Hamilton says: “We can rivet our attention on some particular mode of a thing, as its smell, its color, its figure, its size, etc., and abstract it from the others.

This may be called Modal Abstraction. The abstraction we have now been considering is performed on individual objects, and is consequently particular. There is nothing necessarily connected with generalization in abstraction- generalization is indeed dependent on abstraction, which it supposes- but abstraction does not involve generalization.

II. Generalization, by which is meant the process of forming Concepts or General Idea. It acts in the direction of apprehending the common qualities of objects, persons and things, and combining and uniting them into a single notion or conception which will comprehend and include them all. A General Idea or Concept differs from a particular idea in that it includes within itself the qualities of the particular and other particulars, and accordingly may be applied to any one of these particulars as well as to the general class.

For instance, one may have a particular idea of some particular horse, which applies only to that particular horse.He may also have a General Idea of horse, in the generic or class sense, which idea applies not only to the general class of horse but also to each and every horse which is included in that class. The expression of Generalization or Conception is called a Concept.

III. Judgment, by which is meant the process of comparing two objects, persons or things, one with another, and thus perceiving their agreement or disagreement. Thus we may compare the two concepts horse and animal, and perceiving a certain agreement between them we form the judgment that: “A horse is an animal-” or comparing horse and cow, and perceiving their disagreement, we form the judgment: “A horse is not a cow” The expression of a judgment is called a Proposition.

IV. Reasoning, by which is meant the process of comparing two objects, persons or things, through their relation to a third object, person or thing. Thus we may reason (a) that all mammals are animals- (b) that a horse is a mammal- (c) that, therefore, a horse is an animal- the result of the reasoning being the statement that: “A horse is an animal. The most fundamental principle of reasoning, therefore, consists in the comparing of two objects of thought through and by means of their relation to a third object. The natural form, of expression of this process of Reasoning is called a Syllogism.



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