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Do Culture And Individual Beliefs Affect Logical Thinking? If So, How Do They Influence The Conclusions We Reach?

1641 words - 7 pages

The first question that must be asked before answering this question is: What exactly is logical thinking? Logical thinking is the process in which one uses reasoning consistently to come to a conclusion. If this definition is strictly followed, logical thinking cannot be affected by any outside influences as long as the premises are truly valid. For example the syllogism:All mammals are warm blooded.Whales are mammals.Whales are warm blooded.is truly logical because the major premise is true. In a more 'general world' however, we refer to logical thinking as simply deducing a reasonable explanation or conclusion from what is already and personally known. What is personally known is often ...view middle of the document...

)It is very often that these individual beliefs and culture affect a person's reasoning. In reasoning, the conclusion is the statement one is trying to prove; the premises are those statements which provide evidence for the conclusion. Arguments are traditionally broken into two types; inductive and deductive. It is only the deductive argument which provides conclusive evidence since it deduces from the general to the particular. For example:All mammals nurse their young.All whales are mammals.Whales nurse their young.This syllogism is deductive because the premises provide evidence for the truth of its conclusion. Inductive, on the other hand, argues from the particular to the general and the evidence is not sufficient to guarantee the conclusion except by chance. For example:All mammals nurse their young.Whales nurse their young.Whales are mammals.In this example the premises do not provide sufficient evidence for the conclusion because it does not say if other types of animals nurse their young. Once a conclusion has been reached through deductive reasoning it then has to be determined if it is valid or invalid. This is where the culture and individual beliefs can affect the conclusions which are reached. Often the argument is not true because the premise used is an assumption, biased, or fallacious. For example:All Muslims are terrorists.He is Muslim.He is a terrorist.This example does follow deductive reasoning, and is valid, but the major premise is false. If the 'arguer' truly believes that all Muslims are terrorists, they have used logical thinking correctly but have come to a wrong conclusion because of their 'false knowledge' or prejudice of Muslims. Most likely this occurs because the 'arguer' is basing his/her reasoning on personal knowledge/opinions. Culture's affect on logic usually occurs unintentionally and goes unnoticed. Because of the nature of humans and the different way our cultures have developed, these fallacies which occur are stronger for some cultures.Culture and individual beliefs are capable of affecting the premise and reasoning in every 'area' of thinking. Because all cultures are different, some are more likely to commit certain fallacies than others. A person's culture is based on many things as mentioned earlier; language, history, geography, religion, and race. All of these things play a different part in cultures, and affect reasoning in a variety of ways and areas. For example, I know a woman who taught math in a village in Sierra Leone (Africa). She had a very difficult time teaching geometry with three dimensional right angles because everyone lived in round houses. It was difficult for them to envision the shape because they were not faced with it frequently. This thinking in math would not have been affected as greatly by another culture because of the environment and culture which developed dwellings with three dimensional right angles.The main aspect of culture which affects logical thinking, I believe,...

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