Cover image for Logic made easy : how to know when language deceives you
Logic made easy : how to know when language deceives you
Bennett, Deborah J., 1950-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton & Co., [2004]

Physical Description:
256 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Introduction: Logic is rare -- Proof -- ALL -- A NOT tangles everything up -- SOME is part or all of ALL -- Syllogisms -- When things are iffy -- Syllogisms involving IF, AND, and OR -- Series syllogisms -- Symbols that express our thoughts -- Logic machines and truth tables -- Fuzzy logic, fallacies, and paradoxes -- Common logic and language -- Thinking well : together.
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BC177 .B42 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Penetrating and practical, Logic Made Easy is filled with anecdotal histories detailing the often muddy relationship between language and logic. Complete with puzzles you can try yourself and questions you can use to raise your test scores, Logic Made Easy invites readers to identify and ultimately remedy logical slips in everyday life. Even experienced logicians will be surprised by Deborah Bennett's ability to identify the illogical in everything from maddening street signs to tax forms that make April the cruelest month. Designed with dozens of visual examples, the book guides readers through those hair-raising times when logic is at odds with common sense. Logic Made Easy is indeed one of those rare books that will actually make you a more logical human being.

Author Notes

Deborah J. Bennett teaches mathematics at New Jersey City University in Jersey City.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this compact, fluently written survey leavened with humor, New Jersey mathematics professor Bennett (Randomness) entertains as she instructs, focusing on "the barriers we face in trying to communicate logically with each other." The author covers the ancient Greeks (the Greek word logos means "knowledge"), then such giants as Leibniz and Newton, who helped rescue the study of logic from classical languages, finally modern mathematicians and philosophers like Whitehead and Russell. In discussing topics like syllogisms, she uses tables and diagrams that shouldn't daunt anyone with a firm foundation in high school algebra and geometry. The book's most interesting chapter explains why if is perhaps the most problematical word in any verbal proposition. Everyone, including the hopelessly innumerate, will find Bennett's lessons in the tricks of speech invaluable, particularly in this election year. Agent, Ed Knappman at New England Publishing Associates. (Apr. 12) Forecast: A blurb from Martin Gardner will alert his fans that Logic Made Easy is of the same quality as his popular books on logic, math and philosophy. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this case, you can judge a book by its cover-or at least its title: the author makes a promise right at the start and then follows through by making logic easy for readers to understand. In her previous book, Randomness, Bennett proved that she had a grasp of mathematics, statistics, and the logic that surrounds them. This topic can seem daunting to those without a mathematical or scientific mind, but the author's writing style and generous use of figures and logic puzzles render it quite accessible. The book is complete with references and detailed notes for those who crave a deeper or more academic look at the subject, yet Bennett has not written an academic tome. Instead, she offers an enjoyable book for the rest of us. Reading it won't turn you into Spock, but you will surely gain an appreciation for his approach.-Manya Chylinski, Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Independent scholar Bennett offers a lively and fascinating mix of cognitive psychology, linguistic analysis, and the history and practice of basic logic. Anyone interested in reasoning will enjoy this book, and most not schooled in formal logic will learn from it. Bennett chose her topics well, with a focus on, for example, common conflations of necessary and sufficient conditions, general scope confusions (calling on Aristotle), and mistakes about the placement and scope of negations. The book is not meant to be a main logic text--there are no exercises. It would, however, make an excellent supplement in undergraduate formal or informal logic courses. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers. K. Doran Hamilton College

Table of Contents

Introduction: Logic Is Rarep. 11
The mistakes we makep. 13
Logic should be everywherep. 18
How history can helpp. 19
1 Proofp. 29
Consistency is all I askp. 29
Proof by contradictionp. 33
Disproofp. 36
2 Allp. 40
All S are Pp. 42
Vice Versap. 42
Familiarity-help or hindrance?p. 48
Clarity or brevity?p. 50
3 A Not Tangles Everything Upp. 53
The trouble with notp. 54
Scope of the negativep. 58
A and E propositionsp. 59
When no means yes-the "negative pregnant" and double negativep. 61
4 Some Is Part or All of Allp. 64
Some is existentialp. 65
Some are; some are notp. 68
A, E, I, and Op. 70
5 Syllogismsp. 73
Sorites, or heapp. 85
Atmosphere of the "sillygism"p. 88
Knowledge interferes with logicp. 89
Truth interferes with logicp. 90
Terminology made simplep. 91
6 When Things Are IFfyp. 96
The converse of the conditionalp. 108
Causationp. 112
The contrapositive conditionalp. 115
7 Syllogisms Involving IF, AND, and ORp. 118
Disjunction, an "or" statementp. 119
Conjunction, an "and" statementp. 121
Hypothetical syllogismsp. 124
Common fallaciesp. 130
Diagramming conditional syllogismsp. 134
8 Series Syllogismsp. 137
9 Symbols That Express Our Thoughtsp. 145
Leibniz's dream comes true: Boolean logicp. 151
10 Logic Machines and Truth Tablesp. 160
Reasoning machinesp. 160
Truth tablesp. 165
True, false, and maybep. 168
11 Fuzzy Logic, Fallacies, and Paradoxesp. 173
Shaggy logicp. 173
Fallaciesp. 177
Paradoxesp. 187
12 Common Logic and Languagep. 192
13 Thinking Well-Togetherp. 202
Theories of reasoningp. 210
Notesp. 219
Referencesp. 233
Acknowledgmentsp. 243