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Editorial Reviews

The pursuit of logic has long been an innate human obsession, and in Graham Priest’s contribution to Oxford University Press’ Very Short Introductions series, he attempts to comprehensively and concisely review what logic is, how it relates to the broader field of philosophy, and what questions it attempts to answer. He also outlines the most basic tenets of this fascinating field of thought.

Skilled voice actor Craig Jessen tackles the difficult task of guiding listeners through the circuitous maze of puzzles and ponderings that is Logic: A Very Short Introduction, deftly navigating, with his wry, sly voice, the intellectual tongue twisters contained in this gripping exploration of what logic means and how on earth it works.

Publisher's Summary

Logic is often perceived as having little to do with the rest of philosophy, and even less to do with real life. In this lively and accessible introduction, Graham Priest shows how wrong this conception is. He explores the philosophical roots of the subject, explaining how modern formal logic deals with issues ranging from the existence of God and the reality of time to paradoxes of probability and decision theory. Along the way, the basics of formal logic are explained in simple, non-technical terms, showing that logic is a powerful and exciting part of modern philosophy.

©2000 Graham Priest (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 10-06-18

This book = short. This book = introduction ∴ ...

"...with vagueness, nothing is straighforward."
Graham Priest, VSI Logic

I was going to try to write a VSR (Very Short Review) of this book using symbolic logic, but abandoned that idea about 1/3 of the way through this book as I began to remember that while I enjoy logic in theory, the practice of formal logic and its symbols sometimes drives me batty. I think it stems not from my computing power, just my weak will power and general lack of interest. Some people love symbolic logic with its ability to dodge some of the difficulties of vagueness, equivocation, and confusion from emotive significance that comes from thinking carefully using languages that are, by nature, all a little fudgy. But, like any language, symbolic logic requires practice, discipline, and time. I guess I lack all three. I could write that in symbolic logic too, I guess, but like I said earlier. Nah, not really interested.

The book is, however, a nice overview of logic. Going through the basics of: validity, truth functions, names and quantifiers, descriptions, self-reference, necessity and possibility, conditionals, the future and the past, identity and change, vagueness, probability, inverse probability, decision theory, and a quick survey of logic from the Greeks to Bertrand Russell (and a bit beyond).

Probably, my favorite parts were probability and decision theory. But that goes back to my days doing economic analysis and econometrics. I felt like I was partially on terra firma. Partially. I should also disclose I read this in the bath. That is neither here nor there, but I think part of my difficulties with this book might have come from the lack of an oak table, green lamp, and chewed-up pencil.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Marcus
  • Brasília, Brazil
  • 07-21-16

Reflection and Logic

The basic features of logic aren't easy to grasp. This introductory book gives the reader the indispensables tools to make the first steps in the field. The author explains the main questions in logic by reference to ordinary reasoning. The logic's operators are presented and the most important logicians are refered. In the final of each (short) chapter the main ideas are recapitulated. The author gives reading suggestions and a glossary of logic's symbols in the end of the book allows the beginers more familiarity with the technicalities of the field. Also in the end one finds questions to fix the informations presented in the book.

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Not an easy listen

Pull out a pen & paper and when they start talking algebra, start scratching otherwise you'll become lost in the argument. As an introduction, it is okay, but it will not necessarily make you smarter, just open your mind. Prepare to do more.

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Very sloppy reasoning

This book doesn't translate well to an audiobook. It's mainly spoken algebraic style formulations of logic structure.

The author seems to get sidetracked with an agenda to disprove the existence of God throughout the entire book. When addressing the cosmological argument he denies modern cosmology that the universe had a beginning and equivocates on the word "nothing" to disprove God.

They're much better books on logic Don't waste your money on this one.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful