'Logically' Social (I)

Editor’s note: This article, which discusses the role played by Logic in man’s social being, is an article by a Philosophy professor in a university in Metro Manila, Philippines.  It welcomes comments and feedbacks from any reader.

THAT MAN IS A SOCIAL BEING essentially includes that he communicates with fellow humans. Being social necessarily means interacting with others, having communication as the usual forms of interaction.

Language, both the verbal and non-verbal, is the tool we humans use in communication. And focusing on verbal communication, our concern splits primarily between two things: the way we speak so that others may understand, and the way we understand what others are saying.

For communication to be effective, we as speakers must speak in a language that others understand and in a way that best conveys the information we want to transmit. As listener or reader on the other hand, we must at least be discerning and critical so as not to misinterpret the source of message.

As speakers, we are in most cases engaged in establishing the truth or acceptability of what we say or express. Hence, we are most of the times dealing with proving, creating arguments, or in short, reasoning as a way of relating to our listener.

As listeners who try to understand the message we receive, we also do reasoning as means of analyzing the intended meaning of the speaker. In times we get confused and beg to disagree with the source, we oftentimes raise our case also through arguments. Therefore, as communicators using language, either as source or receiver of information, we most of the times use and do reasoning.

But what constitutes reasoning? What academic discipline studies and teaches about reasoning? It is Logic—the special branch of Philosophy that deals with argument.

'Language is Logic'

It is Logic which distinguishes between the two basic types of reasoning: inductive and deductive, which are in many occasions both necessary for the correct understanding of a matter. The study of these forms of reasoning, including the criteria for our arguments to be deemed valid, the conditions for our statements to be considered true, the fallacies we oftentimes commit, the norms in properly defining terms, and the ways to eliminate ambiguity and vagueness in our expressions, among others, are technically inside the ‘province’ of Logic.

For this reason, we can say that language is Logic. By this, we do not in any way mean that everything in language is controlled by Logic, but that, among other reasons, Logic rightfully prescribes the proper usage of language. Having proved that relative or subjective standards do not work in authentically effective communication, objective standards like Logic must be considered to ensure the appropriate use of language.

Logic in good usage

Logic, as a criterion in having good usage of words (lexical choice), opens the option of choosing among ambiguous, vague, or definite term. There are times that a context, situation, or type of literature requires terms that are not precise. Poetry for instance often prefers, for aesthetic purposes, words that are vague or ambiguous. But if clarity of communication is the prime consideration, Logic prescribes that well defined or exact terms that fit the context be used (This will be elaborated when lexical ambiguity is discussed).

When it comes to grammatical construction of sentences, a good usage in Logic is a choice between misleading or precise sentences. Though many statements are considered vague, the more common form of misleading sentences is the ambiguous ones. (A sentence is ambiguous when it has two or more distinct meanings and it is vague when its meaning is not determined with precision.)

Ambiguous and vague sentences are deliberately employed in some literary works like drafting jokes or satires. Hence, to utilize them in those literary pieces is ‘good usage.’  Generally nonetheless, Logic dictates that precise sentences be used, for misleading ones lead to confusion and faulty reasoning ...
 © 2011 by Jensen DG. Mañebog   
(to be continued)
Click here for the continuation: 'Logically Social (II)
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Guide Questions:

1. Why does the author say that language is Logic?

2. What's the significance of Logic in good usage of terms?

3. What's the relationship between being social and being logical?

How to cite this article:

Jensen DG. Mañebog. “’Logically’ social (I)” @ www.OurHappySchool.com




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