10. Recognizing contradictions. One of the things you will learn by studying logic is exactly what contradiction means, how to recognize it, and what to do with it. Logic teaches us which ideas contradict each other. If we are confused about that, we will be either too exclusive (that is, we will think beliefs logically exclude each other when they do not) or too inclusive (that is, we will believe two things that cannot both be true).
When we consider two different ideas which seem to contradict each other, we need to know three things;
- First of all, we need to know exactly what each one means. Only then can we know whether they really contradict each other or not.
- And if they do, we need to know which one is true and which is false.
- And we do this by finding reasons why one idea is true and another is false.
These are the “three acts of the mind”: understanding a meaning; judging what is true, and reasoning. These are the three parts of logic. [Adapted from Kreeft, Socratic Logic]