Monthly Archives: May 2016

Relating Terms from Birmingham Jail

One practical method of organizing arguments is to identify relationships between terms. Terms may be related as different parts of a whole (including different steps in a process) or as different species of a genus. In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Martin Luther King Jr. uses both methods of relating terms to organize and clarify his arguments. Continue reading Relating Terms from Birmingham Jail

Defining Terms from Birmingham Jail

A good introductory logic course will discuss the importance of defining terms in any argument. One clear demonstration of using definition in argument is Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” a letter which King directed at Christian pastors in Alabama in 1963 defending his campaign of nonviolent direct action. Continue reading Defining Terms from Birmingham Jail

Limitations of Logic

Limitations of Logic

“Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism… In battle is is not syllogisms that will keep the reluctant nerves and muscles to their post in the third hour of bombardment. The crudest sentimentalism (such as  Gaius and Titius would wince at) about a flag or a country or a regiment will be of more use. We were told it all long ago by Plato. As the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule the mere appetites by means of the ‘spirited element.’ The head rules the belly through the chest.” — C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man