Atheist Society of Nigeria

We seek a Nigeria where public policies are based on rational reasoning and critical thinking and not influenced by religious beliefs

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Friday, 8 December 2017


Logical thinking
Logical Thinking
How hard can thinking be? This question is put to you by Atheist Society of Nigeria via this blog post, which is the third in the series with this title.

This particular piece refers to Logical Thinking which is a process of clearly moving from one related thought to another.

It entails the ability to infer the right conclusion from a set of true premises.  An individual thus endowed with the ability to put the facts together in a way the right conclusion is drawn is said to have valid reasoning.

Logical thinking is devoid of emotion i.e. not clouded by emotionality.  This shows a well-differentiated person will be a logical thinker.

What are the benefits of logical thinking?
  •  Logical thinking helps you make more persuasive and convincing arguments, which prove important in marketing and sales.  This is because outside of religious parlance, most people aren’t swayed by emotionality but by logic.
  •  Logical thinking helps you be a more pleasant person to be around as people find it easy to follow your trains of thought in conversation.
  •  Logical thinking prevents you from acting out as it has a calming influence on the human being. It also helps prevent deterioration in thinking processes that can earn you a psychiatric diagnosis.
If logical thinking is so beneficial, why is it not common?

In my opinion, logical thinking is not common due to these factors:
  • Lack of training in logical thinking and logical reasoning in educational institutions. Most of my readers have had no formal training in logical thinking, with the exception of those who complete Law School here in Nigeria and graduates of Philosophy.
  •  A good number of people out there suffer from Formal Thought Disorders which are defined as disorganized thinking as evidenced by disorganized speech.  Formal thought disorders make logical communication nearly impossible.
  •  Self-differentiation is a foreign concept to many people out there.  

How do I set out on the path to logical thinking?

Logical thinking is not as hard to achieve as one thinks. 
First of all, it requires the humility to recognize the problem is most likely from you when people do not understand what you’re telling them or when they read the wrong meaning into your speech and writing.
This is because logical thinking requires a mindful awareness of intentionality fallacy which occurs when an audience infers a meaning contrary to what the author intended. 
The audience does this as they rely on the actual words said by the author but can’t see into the author’s mind to know what he actually intended to say.
Intentionality fallacy occurs as the author is not mindful of a pivotal fact of logic: inference of (the right) conclusion from a set of true premises.
This makes the author’s thinking, speech and writing rather concrete as he wrongly assumes people will stick to the actual words written, blissfully unaware of the fact that human reasoning relies on how the author arranges his premises to infer a conclusion.
The wrong arrangement of premises by the author will invariably lead to his committing Intentionality Fallacy whereby his audience infers a conclusion other than what he intended to convey.

The next step is for a person interested in practicing logical thinking to be mindful of his own formal thought disorders and take care to not commit them in conversations with others.
A lack of mindful awareness of formal thought disorders gives rise to illogical speech whereby the listeners go away aware of the fact the speaker used words from a mutually understood language but the way in which the words were strung together to form sentences were incomprehensible, incoherent, even plain nonsensical.
Logical thinking
Logical thinking is not the puzzle most people imagine it is.
After this follows a disciplined and dedicated practice of logical thinking every day.  
The individual so dedicated will endeavor to read up on Fallacies in Logic and practice Clear Thinking in a bid to clear up any muddled thinking processes.
The last in line is Logical Communication which entails the use of logic to express your thoughts and emotions in such a way your listener gets your intended meaning, provides constructive feedback which shows a clear understanding of your intended meaning, and acts upon what you want him to do.
Logical communication occurs when:
  1. You use only words the definition of which you know (the Dictionary is your friend in this);
  2. You use only words the meaning of which you know (words that have a personal significance to you, which aren’t just empty sound and are little more than muddled concepts in your mind);
  3. You keep your facts straight (honesty is key);
  4. You ensure that your writing and speech doesn’t sound disjointed like this:

Waiter: “Do you want fries or croissants?”
You: “Fries, unless everyone else is having croissants… In that case, I’ll have croissants.”

A logically sequential speech would be:
I’d rather have fries if everyone else is having them.

Logical communication is made easy for you when you take a timeout to consciously reflect on the flow of your writing prior to sending it out.  This is especially valuable on Social Media.
Daily scrutiny and practice of Logical Communication via writing in a journal or diary every day will go a long way.
If I were to reduce the requirements for logical thinking and communication to a single rule, it would be the practice of empathy!
Cognitive empathy and emotional empathy enable you to phrase your speech in such a way it makes sense to your listener (as we human beings operate from different levels of cognitive functioning) and connects with the listener in a convincing manner.

Which other methods of logical thinking do you know of?  Remember to like, share across your social media platforms, leave your insightful comments and bookmark for future reading.

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