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After discovering this site and spending some time going through questions, I'm amazed by the answers and comments on Is 'guns don't kill people people kill people' a good argument?. Even though I'm familiar with certain logical fallacies, I couldn't figure out fallacy in the 'guns argument'.

I never formally studied (informal) logic. I want to study now and I want to thoroughly master logical fallacies. I learn quickly through videos and it also motivates me for further reading. Is there a course on logic and logical fallacies? Especially, I'm looking for the one that deals with as many practical fallacy arguments as possible.

EDIT:

A less likable thing, I find, about courses and books on logic is that their examples are abstract and impractical.

Example 1: All x are z. All y are z. Therefore, some x are y. -- I understand the purpose of generalizing but it also takes away the interesting and motivating aspect of it. I'm looking for something which has real examples.

Example 2: All Toyotas are cars. Some cars are made in America.Therefore, some Toyotas are made in America. -- Problem with this example is, it is impractical. I mean who cares about Toyotas, cars, or where they are made?

The "Guns argument" is practical, it is in real word, it matters! In fact that is what has motivated me to ask this course and study logic.

I'm looking for a course, which deals with such practical things.

  • 2
    I have heard good things about this coursera course. – user2953 Aug 5 '15 at 8:09
  • @Keelan: Thanks a lot! I'll surely take this course. Going through its course notes, I find that it quite mathematical in nature. Not that I'm complaining about it. But a non mathematical one would be preferable. – claws Aug 5 '15 at 12:52
  • That's a little bit like asking for a non mathematical linear algebra course. Be aware that every logic course will have a fair share of math. However, you are right that this course doesn't talk about logical fallacies for example. I don't know of any online course that does though... – user2953 Aug 5 '15 at 12:58
  • Modern logic studies logical consequence in idealized formal languages. Partly, so it doesn't have to bother with all the ambiguities and blatant fallacies expressible in natural language. You won't find much on fallacies there. Rather, your keyword should be 'logical fallacies'. Googling reveals e.g. this and this. That being said, formal logic is more interesting ;) – lodrik Aug 6 '15 at 13:21
  • @lodrik: I see. Formal logic might be more interesting but the question really for me is, how far is it useful in day to day lives? I am an active civilian studying, questioning, debating, public policies. I'm really doubtful about the utility of formal logic in my work. – claws Aug 6 '15 at 22:20
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I have not taken this course, but considering your requirements, you might enjoy "A Clear Logical Argument Guaranteed" offered by Udemy.com and taught by Joseph A. Laronge. It's $50US.

In addition to Michael Genesereth's Coursera Course mentioned in the comments to your question, Stanford also offers an introduction to logic course through EdX: http://online.stanford.edu/course/language-proof-and-logic-self-paced. The course is $55US. They use Jon Barwise & John Etchemendy's "Language, Proof and Logic" as a textbook and John Etchemendy is one of the course instructors.

As for free resources, Keith Devlin's MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) through Coursera, "Introduction to Mathematical Thinking" is a great transitional course from high school mathematics (algebra, arithmetic) to university and college-level mathematics and logic. It covers things like truth tables and quantifiers and is a lot of fun. Devlin - a mathematics professor at Stanford University - is a really good lecturer (you might also enjoy his lectures on the history of math) and the course is very well designed (one of the best online courses I've taken).

As for your stated dislike of abstract and impractical examples, you might really enjoy Harry J Gensler's book, "Introduction To Logic" and in particular his accompanying software, "LogiCola" which is a fun way to practice analyzing statements in a logical form.

As for logical fallacies, you might enjoy these sites:
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com and
https://bookofbadarguments.com

...and it would be good to start with a basic distinction of formal and informal fallacies.

Lastly, a practical example of a philosopher contending with a Bad Argument.

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The Great Courses advertises "An Introduction to Formal Logic" and "Tools of Thinking: Understanding the World Through Experience and Reason". Search YouTube for "great courses logic" for brief introductory videos.

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