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by Celestine N. Bittle

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Download The Science of Correct Thinking: Logic epub
ISBN: 1436711150
ISBN13: 978-1436711159
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Literary
Author: Celestine N. Bittle
Language: English
Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC (June 13, 2008)
Pages: 400 pages
ePUB size: 1823 kb
FB2 size: 1898 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 213
Other Formats: lrf lit txt rtf

The Science of Correct Thinking: Logic
Revised and Enlarged
Celestine N. Bittle, O.M.Cap (Order of Capuchin Friars Minor)
Bruce Publishing Company, 1937 386 p

Fr. Celestine Nicholas Bittle (1897-1962) was a noted author, philosopher, military chaplain, and the first principal of Messmer High School in Milwaukee, WI. His other philosophical works include "The Domain Of Being: Ontology", "Reality and the Mind: Epistemology" and "Man And Morals: Ethics".

In the preface to this work on logic, Fr. Bittle comments, "Far too many errors in the solution of problems are due to loose reasoning and to an ignorance of the laws which govern our mental operations." He wrote this during the time between the two world wars when the great 20th century battle of "-isms" - including the most insidious, "Modernism" - was raging. Seventy-six years after publication, the errors about which Fr. Bittle warned us have encircled our society; those who deplore right reason have succeeded in sinking Western culture into mindlessness. Divorce between thought and reality is everywhere one looks: in our discourse, our politics, our science, in how we define humanity, and in our sustaining institutions, including, sadly, the Faith. A pre-lunacy-era work like "The Science of Correct Thinking" is needed now more than ever if we are to have any hope for a return to sanity.

Written to be used as a textbook for college students, this work is absolutely joyful to read cover-to-cover, as Fr. Bittle's style is lyrical and quite beautiful. The organization of topics is coherent and easy to follow. Although a pure beginner will need to employ just a bit of elbow grease to gain ground, understanding of even the most complex concepts is there for the taking, thanks to Fr. Bittle's stepwise approach to the material.

The book is divided into four parts: Ideas and Terms, Judgment and Propositions, Deduction, and Induction. Each chapter builds upon the definitions and concepts presented in the preceding chapters; within a chapter, concepts are introduced to the mind, precisely defined, and then demonstrated through examples, often using symbolic equations and real world situations together, but mostly the latter. When equations are used, they truly aid in understanding and never confuse it. A reader coming out the other side of this work will without question have a firm foundation on how to think correctly. Chapter 6, "Judgment and Proposition", is perhaps one of the most crucial sections and deserves an especially careful reading:

"Truth and falsity, then, lie in the judgment not in the ideas taken alone for themselves... judgment is an act of the mind pronouncing the agreement or disagreement of ideas among themselves... it is an act of the intellect affirming or denying one idea of another... no other act of the mind has this peculiarity that it claims to be true [or false]."

The answer to the question of how the mind judges is, in my opinion, fundamental. Is the mind internally compelled to judge as it does, whereby it is the mind itself that makes the judgment true? Or does the mind accept truth because it recognizes it as truth? This goes straight to the nature of reality: is it something we create (subjective relativism) or is it something we apprehend (objective reality)? Fr. Bittle comes down unabashedly on the side of Thomism: the world is real, and not a creation of our minds.

It's a shame that the discipline of logic, as classically taught here by Fr. Bittle, has been slowly adulterated with relativism and skepticism, and then finally pushed aside as superfluous. I think it was done by design so that those who would fundamentally transform society would have a docile, mush-minded populace that could be easily led astray by even the most obvious falsehoods.

Below is the table of contents showing the topics and organization of this work. I highly recommend this book, and Fr. Bittle in particular as a very able instructor in the science of correct thinking.

Introduction - Philosophy and Logic

I. Nature of the Idea
II. Kinds of Ideas
III. Universals
IV. Terms
V. Definition and Division

VI. Nature of Judgment and Proposition
VII. General Types of Propositions
VIII. Special Types of Propositions
IX. Opposition of Propositions
X. Eductions

XI. Nature of Reasoning
XII. Categorical Syllogism
XIII. Syllogistic Figures and Moods
XIV. Varieties of Categorical Syllogisms
XV. Hypothetical Syllogisms
XVI. Variations of the Syllogism

XVII. Nature of Induction
XVIII. The Logical Foundation of Induction
XIX. Inductive Method
XX. Probability
XXI. Fallacies
A book that finally makes sense of philosophy. Reality is made clear in an organized way and truth is defined as the conformity of the mind to reality. After mastering this book you're clear of the subject of philosophy. It is as clear as Paul Glenn's book AN INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY.
This is the only text on traditional logic anyone in their right mind (i.e., anyone who is not a symbolic logician) will ever need. If you've read D.Q. McInerny's BEING LOGICAL, you've had an appropriate introduction to logic, and you will discover that Bittle is the advanced course, so to speak. This is the only suitable book on logic I've found of those which may be associated with it by content. Intelligible, thorough, and--most importantly--very organized, you will learn from Bittle all the elements of right reasoning.
Simple fellow
'The Science of Correct Thinking: Logic' by Celestine N. Bittle
Book review by William Springer

"Logic, therefore, as the science of thought, or the science of the process of pure reason, should be capable of being constructed a priori."
-Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Controversy
("A priori" is defined as deduced from self-evident premises.)

In order to make clear the importance of what this book has suppressed, I should first offer you the three a priori conditions of cogent (logical) reasoning.

"Fallacious reasoning is just the opposite of what can be called cogent reasoning. We reason cogently when we reason (1) validly; (2) from premises well supported by evidence; and (3) using all relevant evidence we know of. The purpose of avoiding fallacious reasoning is, of course, to increase our chances of reasoning cogently."
-Howard Kahane, Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric, 1976, second edition

(1) This book never explains that deductively sound or inductively cogent (logical) arguments MUST be well supported by evidence.

(2) This book never defines the logical fallacy of suppressed evidence, or explains how the suppression of relevant evidence causes an argument to be unsound or uncogent.

This book has failed to explain two of the three conditions of cogent reasoning. Consequently, I do not consider this book to be an honest attempt to instruct the reader in the science of logic.

Here's a relevant (and erroneous) passage from 'The Science of Correct Thinking: Logic' by Celestine N. Bittle, as well as some other quotes from noted logicians that contradict Bittle, that directly support the argument that sound or cogent arguments must be well supported by evidence; as well as the inherent danger of suppressing relevant evidence.

"Logic does not concern itself with the truth or error of facts; that belongs to the province of the sciences and the special departments of philosophy. Logic is the science of correct thinking, and it therefore devolves upon logic to analyze the different types of inferences and lay down the rules which govern each type, so as to guard itself against a violation of the laws of correct thinking and thereby guarantee the consistency of the argument." -'The Science of Correct Thinking: Logic' by Celestine N. Bittle, Kindle location 2797

That's what Bittle wrote. Here are some more cogent explainations.

"We ought in fairness to fight our case with no help beyond the bare facts: nothing, therefore, should matter except the proof of those facts."
-Aristotle, Rhetoric

"We suppose ourselves to posses unqualified scientific knowledge of a thing, as opposed to knowing it in the accidental way in which the sophist knows, when we think that we know the cause on which the fact depends, as the cause of that fact and of no other, and further, that the fact could not be other than it is".
-Aristotle, Posterior Analytics

"The province of Logic must be restricted to that portion of our knowledge which consists of inferences from truths previously known; whether those antecedent data be general propositions, or particular observations and perceptions. Logic is not the science of Belief, but the science of Proof, or Evidence. In so far as belief professes to be founded on proof, the office of Logic is to supply a test for ascertaining whether or not the belief is well grounded."
-John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic

"Without the presentation of solid evidence no argument can be a good one"
-Patrick Hurley, A Concise Introduction to Logic, 1985

"The fallacy of suppressed evidence is committed when an arguer ignores evidence that would tend to undermine the premises of an otherwise good argument, causing it to be unsound or uncogent. Suppressed evidence is a fallacy of presumption and is closely related to begging the question. As such, it's occurrence does not affect the relationship between premises and conclusion but rather the alleged truth of premises. The fallacy consists in passing off what are at best half-truths as if they were whole truths, thus making what is actually a defective argument appear to be good. The fallacy is especially common among arguers who have a vested interest in the situation to which the argument pertains."
-Patrick Hurley, A Concise Introduction to Logic, 1985

"In practice our arguments are often very much abbreviated; we omit premisses because they are self-evident or are regarded as accepted by everyone. This procedure is good enough for most of our purposes and is further necessary in order to avoid intolerably long and prolix statements. It is not, however, free from danger, for it may be that the validity of the argument depends upon an unstated, or implicit, premiss which would not be accepted had it been made explicit what the required premiss is. The omission of premisses is, as we shall see later, a common cause of fallacious arguments. -'A Modern Elementary Logic' by L. Susan Stebbing, Kindle Location 427

"A sound argument is a deductive argument that is valid and has true premises. Both conditions must be met for an argument to be sound, and if either is missing the argument is unsound. The qualification that the premises must be true means that all premises must be true. Because a valid argument is one such that if the premises are true it necessarily follows that the conclusion is true, and because a sound argument does in fact have true premises, it follows that every sound argument, by definition, will have a true conclusions as well. A sound argument, therefore, is what is meant by a "good" deductive argument in the fullest sense of the term."
-Patrick Hurley, A Concise Introduction to Logic, 1985

"A cogent argument is an inductive argument that is strong and has true premises, and if either condition is missing the argument is uncogent. A cogent argument is the inductive analogue of a sound deductive argument and is what is meant by a " good" inductive argument without qualification. Because the conclusion of a cogent argument is genuinely supported by true premises, it follows that the conclusion of every cogent argument is probably true."
-Patrick Hurley, A Concise Introduction to Logic, 1985
I have seen another reviewer on Amazon say that this was a good book for an introduction to logic. All I can suggest to anyone interested in purchasing this book is that you use the Amazon "Look Inside" feature to scan the table of contents and a few paragraphs of the text to see if you can stand to read a book written in the 1930s using language from Catholic moral theology from the 1800s. This book might be a good historical reference, but is a total disaster as an intro book today even for seminaries.