Everyday logic is something we didn't think about a generation ago when Logic was required Senior Major.' Today we are...



Everyday logic is something we didn't think about a generation ago when Logic was required Senior Major.' Today we are challenged in our responsibility as citizens of a democracy to do some straight thinking, to avoid the mental mantraps of the propagandists, to read the news intelligently, to resist the bland ments of advertising and campaign oratory, as well as to converse with intent to exchange ideas. To these ends, Stuart Chase has brought the fruit of years of study of semantics, group dynamics, practical economics and so on, and he has made today's logic an exciting process of sharpening our mental tools. Against a succinct summary of the historical steps, from Aristotle to Galileo and Bacon and on to modern scientists and professional propagandists, he develops an analysis of the barriers, in what he terms the thirteen fallacies,- lapses not so much in logic as in fact finding through accepting unwarranted assumptions. Overgeneralizing, use of the thin entering wedge, turning to personalities, use of countercharge (""you're another""), erroneous application of cause and effect, drawing of false analogies, dependence on unproved authority, on undemonstrated figures, appeal to the crowd, glib use of ""self evident truths"", breakdown into black and white, acceptance of guilt by association -- these he as the main traps into which we all fall. He develops them through anecdote and example, and summarizes through local town meeting application. The chapter In The Courtroom indicates examples of how we are losing some of the safeguards of our freedoms through these very fallacies deliberately applied in the legal no man's land of loyalty hearings, investigatory committees, legislative-trials, as well as in the professional use by trial lawyers. He then goes on to the Masters of Propaganda, who have developed techniques to shift the opponents' attitudes:- Moscow, Hitler, Peron- and home product campaign oratory, advertising and publicity campaigns. The anatomy of propaganda adds to the list of fallacies through special propaganda procedures and the playing on fears.... It's a fascinating process through which Stuart Chase takes his readers. Everyone who will honestly appraise his own reasoning apparatus and recognize the need of strengthening it will find this an immensely valuable book.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 1956


Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1956