April 4, 2012

Regents Daily News:
April 4, 2012

“What is logic and what is it good for?”: Reasons to Study Logic—Part 3

3. Reading. Logic will help you to read any book more clearly and effectively. And you are always going to be reading books; books are the single most effective technological invention in the history of education. On the basis of over 40 years of full time college teaching of almost 20,000 students at 20 different schools, I [Kreeft] am convinced that one of the reasons for the steep decline in students’ reading ability is the decline in the teaching of traditional logic.

Mortimer Adler’s classic How to Read a Book is based on the traditional common-sense logic of Aristotle’s “three acts of the mind” that provide the framework for a study of traditional logic. If I [Kreeft] were a college president, I would require every incoming freshman to read Adler’s book and pass a test on it before taking other courses. [Adapted from Peter Kreeft, Socratic Logic]

I [Bradley] think it is very important to note what Kreeft says here about the connection between a person’s ability to read well and the study of traditional logic. Personal experience has proven this true (in my case, at least). The study of logic has transformed my reading skills. In fact, I have a different intellectual life altogether because of my exposure to logic. I’m convinced that it has the potential to do the same for you and your children.

I find it odd that there is such an emphasis placed on reading skills and many resources given to the task of helping students read well without a proportionate emphasis on and devotion of resources to the study of logic as the foundation for good reading. This should spark some discussion. Any thoughts?

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