The Elements of Reasoning by David A. Conway and Ronald Munson, 2/5
This book provides an introduction to informal logic, focusing mostly on valid and invalid ways arguments can be formed, along with a brief look at common fallacies and errors in reasoning. The argument forms seem contrived and the analysis methods limited–it is hard to imagine a use for these concepts outside of a classroom and the book is certainly not written in a way meant to smooth the transition from academic thought exercise to real life. In fact, the whole tone of the book is very dry and dead, which is a pity because the topic is fascinating and I have seen it treated in much more interesting and lively ways. A good teacher could bring it to life, perhaps, and also provide insight on the numerous thought exercises that the authors leave unanswered.
Why I read it: I wanted to learn about the symbols used in formal logic (only a few of which are covered in this book) and the title caught my eye at the thrift store.
This haphazard collection of vernacularisms is fun, though not at all up to the standards of a proper dictionary. I especially enjoyed the words spelled to reflect regional pronunciation, such as “PSDS” (pierced ears), “sssta” (sister), “dreckly” (soon. “We’ll be at the store dreckly.”), and “tamar” (the day after today).
[Why I read it: came across it in the thrift store and thought it looked interesting.]
This strange little compilation of miscellaneous writings by the late Graham Chapman (of Monty Python notoriety) is entertaining and provides some welcome insight into the inner workings of one of England’s funniest groups of writers.
[Why I read it: I found it in the thrift store.]