The Pursuit of Truth: Using Deductive Logic to Weigh Arguments

False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. - Socrates (in Phaedo)
The importance of truth is not something that should be understated. Truth is so paramount that the Biblical book of Proverbs instructs Christians to buy it and not sell it, and to strive to obtain wisdom and understanding.
Buy truth, and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding. - Proverbs 23:23 (New American Standard Bible)
This is where the slippery mental adventure begins, however, as there is an ideology for every thinker, and for every thinker an ideology. With so bountiful a selection of ideologies to choose from, it would certainly seem nonsensical to state that the truth is easy to find. It could be for this reason the Book of Proverbs urges its readers to find the truth. The truth is something worth searching for because, as Socrates so aptly explained, falsehoods lead to evil.

But how can one find the truth? It could be that one would need the right tools. A Carpenter, for instance is nothing without his saw, and a Construction Worker is nothing without his hammer. Therefore, it can be argued that a truthful person is nothing without proper Deductive Logic and wisdom.

While wisdom is much harder to obtain, Deductive Logic is certainly something that is readily applicable and acquirable. There is, however, another reason to learn Deductive Logic: the answer obtained from the premises will always be the only possible answer obtained from those premises. This means that there is no reason to worry about different answers arising from the same premises. This can make the process of thinking more expeditious. Therefore, it could be said that Deductive Logic relieves much of the stress of whether a solution is the only possible one from the premises, which can then lead a thinker to determine which premises are in error to more quickly arrive at the correct solution.

What Is Deductive Logic and Does It Work?

Deductive Logic, in a more understandable explanation, works as follows: if all "A" is "B" and all "B" is "C," then all "A" is "C." This may seem somewhat confusing, but if written out in equation form, then it seems a little clearer: A=B, B=C, therefore A=C. This form of logic does not fact check the premises, it only helps a person draw conclusions based on the premises one has readily available to them. Now, you may have noticed that I have written a word called "premises" quite a few times. A premise is much simpler than how many people explain it. At its core, a premise is a piece of information. An example of a premise would be noticing a crutch on a table, or seeing a punch land in a fight, or seeing a traffic light change from red to green. In other words, a premise is any piece of information, be it an emotion, an observation, or even an idea.

In deductive logic, premises are arranged in such a way to form the equation (A=B, B=C, therefore: A=C). For instance, what if it can be observed that all dogs constantly bark, and that all constant barks constantly annoy neighbors, then it can be concluded, using Deductive Logic, that if you owned a dog, it would constantly annoy the neighbors. The equation would be written as followed:

All Dogs=Constant Barking, Constant Barking=Constant Annoyance in Neighbors, Constant Annoyance in Neighbors=Constantly Annoyed Neighbors Therefore: All Dogs=Constantly Annoyed Neighbors.
A=All Dogs
B=Constant Barking
C= Constantly Annoyance in Neighbors
D=Constantly Annoyed For Neighbors
A=B, B=C, C=D Therefore: A=D

In the example world above, if one does not want to annoy their neighbors, then they should certainly never buy a dog.

Deductive Logic is excellent for cause-effect analysis, as shown in the example. However, logic is also useful for determining which causes can lead to desired effects. For instance, is someone stated that all communism leads to prosperity for a group (or, quite simply put, Communism=Prosperity), then they could try to prove that using Deductive Logic (beware, this equation is going to be complex):

Firstly, this person's final conclusion rests on a series of conclusions from other premises: Communism=Collectivism, Collectivism=Community Charity, Community Charity=Community Prosperity, Therefore: Communism=Community Prosperity.

C=Community Charity
D=Community Prosperity
A=B, B=C, C=D, Therefore: A=D

Now, this argument does not prove that communism is practical; it only argues whether communism leads to group prosperity given a collectivist society. The practicality of communism would have to rest on another premise: People=Collectivism. This premise is most assuredly inaccurate given the obvious wealth discrepancies between the top 10% and the bottom 10%. Most people would rather keep the work of their hands than give it to someone else. Their rationale would be this: "Why should someone else receive what I worked for? It is my work, therefore it should be my profit." This is a fundamental premise that undermines the practicality of communism.

Why is Deductive Logic Important?

Deductive Logic is important because all the premises must lead to the conclusion. This means that an entire argument can fall apart over the nature of one premise. For instance, if one were to argue in favor of a conclusion that guns are dangerous, their argument would fall apart once they realize that guns cannot be dangerous unless a force causes the gun to fire. However, another reason their argument would fall apart is that a gun that is sealed off from the outside world cannot harm anyone, meaning it cannot be dangerous. Therefore, a gun can indeed exist with being dangerous. Examples like this show that Deductive Logic is very expedient and efficient.

Further, using Deductive Logic can help someone determine whether an argument is actually valid. This is especially useful when reading opinion pieces or listening to speeches about issues. Do the premises really lead to that conclusion or outcome? Is that outcome a valid premise for other arguments? Deductive Logic can validate or invalidate such premises in a definite manner, making it a useful tool for the truth seeker.

In sum, Deductive Logic can help people find truth. By evaluating arguments and opinions through using Deductive Logic, one can come to realize false conclusions more easily, and can more quickly realize truthful ones. Therefore, one can find what is necessarily untrue, and they can also find something that is necessarily true when the premises are true.