the scope and limit of logicLogic can do a great deal in helping us understand our arguments. Explain what advantages we obtain by studying logic in terms of improving our reasoning. Consider a...

the scope and limit of logic

Logic can do a great deal in helping us understand our arguments. Explain what advantages we obtain by studying logic in terms of improving our reasoning. Consider a debate over whether prayer should be allowed in public schools. Explain what logic can and cannot do. In other words, what kinds of questions and topics are not decided by logical analysis?

Asked on by cjones0333

6 Answers

lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Because religious matters are a question of belief, logic plays absolutely no part in our attitudes about them.  That does not mean that prayer in school cannot be discussed intelligently, though.  The First Amendment is our guide to that issue, and legal reasoning can be applied.  For example, there are many court cases that discuss various ways in which the First Amendment allows or bars some action, and legal reasoning means arguing by analogy.  How does prayer or no prayer in school fit in with the decisions of the courts?  Argument by analogy is certainly a form of logic.  Similarly, the First Amendment creates a tension between the requirement that the government let people worship freely and the requirement that the government not impose any particular religion on us.  Finding a balance in that tension could be accomplished through logic as well, assessing the needs of those who seek to worship freely against then need to not establish a government requirement for a religious practice.  This is what is so wonderful about our Constitution: It is a living document that requires us to apply the reasoning and needs of the times in which we live. 

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Logic cannot compete with emotion. This is my first reaction to your choice of topic. People will have a strong emotional belief about a topic like prayer in school. Logic really does not enter into it. You can try to explain something using logic, but a person's religious belief is emotional. Consider the logical position of compromise. It is hard to compromise when it comes to school prayer, because some people will feel it is a kid's right to pray, and some people will be offended just by praying. Here's a web site for more information:
tiburtius's profile pic

tiburtius | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

For me, since I am a mathematician, logic is of great importance. Also logic has great deal of application in law or ethics, but when it comes to things like prayer in public school the only important answer comes from constitution which gives us right to choose our religion or no religion meaning no obligatory prayer can be imposed in public schools.

It looks like there is no logic in my answer, only law, but keep in mind that law should actualy be set of logicaly consistent rules. So it seems to me that scope of logic is quite great but not limitless.

wordprof's profile pic

wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Logical thinking is just one of the capabilities of the human mind.  John Keats as part of his explanation of Romantic poetry, coined the phrase "negative capabilities" to describe the mind's acceptance of non-logical connection (of course it's more sophisticated than that.). Yes, a scientist or mathematician gives high priority to logic in a taxonomy of "things the mind can do" but an artist gives a higher priority to other things, perhaps imagination or sensitivity to beauty, or appreciation of universal harmonies, or something.

shake99's profile pic

shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Logical analysis cannot determine what people value in an intuitive sense. Logic cannot answer the question of why someone would be in favor of school prayer. You can talk logically about whether or not we should have school prayer, however.

User Comments

discussion1984's profile pic

discussion1984 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

Logic can help ensure that we do not make errors in reasoning, something innate in human nature. But it can't ensure that our arguments are in fact true, an error many a philosopher has made throughout history. Just because an argument is valid, that doesn't mean it's factually true.


  • Our understanding of God is a being than which no greater can be conceived.
  • The idea of God exists in the mind.
  • A being which exists both in the mind and in reality is greater than a being that exists only in the mind.
  • If God only exists in the mind, then we can conceive of a greater being—that which exists in reality.
  • We cannot be imagining something that is greater than God.
  • Therefore, God exists

Valid, but not sound!!!!!!!