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saint's avatar

Why isn't logic taught in schools?

Asked by saint (3972points) November 5th, 2011

The Greeks, between 500–200 BCE created art and literature that inspires even today. They also invented a method of argument and inquiry that is so universally used that I figure most people don’t know it was invented. They just sort of figure it is the natural way of doing things.
It is clearly very useful and very effective at mitigating human fallibility, but it is in fact a method. Why not universally teach it in schools?

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17 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I don’t know why. No one ever taught me to think like that.

laureth's avatar

I thought logic was cleverly disguised as other subjects, including the step-by-step thinking you learn in Algebra, the cause-and-effect you learn in History, the argument and inquiry you learn in Debate, the Scientific Method from chem/bio/physics, and the way one must document the sources in just about any paper you write.

You know, all those classes people whine about having to take because they’ll “never use ‘em in Real Life.” ;)

HungryGuy's avatar

I don’t know why either, but I agree that it should be. It’s taught at the college level, but not in high school. The scientific method, recognizing fallacies, boolean algebra. I think if more people were trained in logic, we’d have fewer problems. There’d still be a disconnect between right-wingers and left-wingers, but both sides would be able to defend their side better and point out fallacies in the others’ better, and so better solutions would come about.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It is taught, in college (way too late) and it is taught to younger kids in other countries (Russia) as a separate subject. I say it’s because parents have no clue to ask for it to be taught.

gasman's avatar

They taught classical Greek logic in my 12th grade honors English class (LBJ was president…)—syllogisms and fallacies, etc. Around that time I also learned some symbolic logic, where you apply Boolean algebra to analyze the validity of propositions though I can’t remember if this was taught in math class or learned extracurricularly.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I was taught some basic symbolic logic in one of my high school math classes, but that’s not really the same. Unfortunately, we lost a lot when we stopped teaching logic, oratory, and rhetoric separately from literature and combined them all into English class. The literature part overtook the rest, and now I get class after class of first year college students who can’t figure out how to write a halfway decent philosophy paper even with my coaching.

Wow… not even 30 years old and complaining about the kids these days…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SavoirFaire “we lost a lot when we stopped teaching logic, oratory, and rhetoric separately from literature and combined them all into English class.” – Yes, completely agree. If only people were taught rhetoric, they can recognize its evil twin in our politicians.

cazzie's avatar

BRILLIANT question. Also… not applicable where I live, because they DO teach reason and logic in our schools. big wide smile

TheIntern55's avatar

I don’t know. I wis I had a logic class. It seems it would be much more useful in life than Algebra and the Periodic Table.
But in would be interesting to see who teaches a class like that.

DominicX's avatar

@SavoirFaire Thankfully I was taught rhetoric in my junior year English class, but that was it. I spent most of my time in English classes overanalyzing literature. Big waste of time, in my mind, discussing various literary devices and their effects—effects which the author probably never even intended in the first place…

amujinx's avatar

Logic isn’t taught because it would be logical to do so, and no one was taught logic. It’s a vicious cycle.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@DominicX Some schools still do it. I’m glad to hear yours is one of them. If I may ask, was it a public school or a private school? Private schools, as I understand it, are much more likely to teach rhetoric (and philosophy) than public schools. I won’t say anything against literature. I think it can be a great thing to study, so long as it is not the only source of a student’s education in matters pertaining to language. Still, it is a mistake to focus on it as much as we typically do.

@TheIntern55 Classes like this would typically be taught by people who studied philosophy.

DominicX's avatar

@SavoirFaire It was actually just a public school. A good public school, but a public school nonetheless. And I definitely think literature is important, but I do believe it is overemphasized.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@DominicX Good to hear. This kind of class might be one of the best ways to close the gap between private and public schools.

Teacher pay would be another one, of course, but that’s a whole other issue.

fizzbanger's avatar

@SavoirFaire My little brother-in-law takes it at a private school as a required subject (7th grade).

wundayatta's avatar

Do you mean “why isn’t logic taught in some schools?” Because clearly it is taught in schools. Why not all schools? Simple. Not all schools are interested in teaching scientific methods. Not all schools are the same. There’s room for variation and for people to choose what kind of school to go to.

Mariah's avatar

At my (public) high school, some formal logic was taught in 9th grade math, and those wishing to delve more deeply could take a 12th grade elective called Finite Math.

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