The Dissection Lab & Logic

Logic may be considered as a symbolic language which represents the reasoning inherent in other languages. It does so by reducing the language of statements and arguments down into symbolic form, simplifying them such that the arrangement of the language, and thus the reasoning within it, becomes apparent. The extraneous parts of statements are removed like a biology student in the dissection lab removes the skin, muscles and organs of a frog, revealing the skeleton of bare reasoning inside.

To be sure, something is lost in both the lab specimen and the statement, but something else is gained. We lose some of the grammar and poetics of the statement, but we reveal the logical structure within that gives it form. Thus revealed, the structure of the statement can be examined, judged and (if need be) corrected, using the rules of logic.

Vern Poythress says something similar in his recently published Logic (page 73), where he explains that “logic is a kind of reduction. It selects one aspect from the whole of human thought. It focuses on that aspect, in the hope of understanding it more deeply and more precisely through careful concentration.”

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