Logic Made Easy: How to Know When Language Deceives You by Deborah J. Bennett

Despite the title of the book, in the end logic is still not easy, at least not formal logic. The last few chapters of the book are about how difficult formal logic seems to be for the mere mortal (I count myself among those). There are a number of reasons for this, like the sheer complexity of logical arguments, or the tendency of people to add other knowledge to the equation, for example. As a result, conditional statements like “If it rains, you will not go to the party” are perceived as bi-conditional statements: “If it rains, you will not go to the party and if you did not go to the party, it rained”. Bennett explains that there may be other reasons why you did not go to the party (It was being thrown by geeks). But people naturally assume the bi-conditional, because this is what we do in daily conversation, but should not be done in formal logic. I found many of the explanations and examples challenging but I suppose that is the purpose of the book – if logic were that easy, maybe the book would not have been written. There is also a lot of interesting material about the history of logic and how it was applied ultimately for uses like transistors and computer chips. Indeed, formal logic is the foundation of today’s computer technology. This is one of those books that will require a re-read to get the most out of it.

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