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?

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Logical thinking is the ability for a person to make calculations, reasoned arguments, and operations which can be applied to a number of practices and phenomena in everyday experience. The applications of logical thinking are many and these extend from basic thinking skills to more complex analyses in many disciplines. Logic begins with cause and effect thinking as well as syllogisms. For example: I am human; All humans breathe oxygen; Therefore, I breathe oxygen. Logic is used in these basic and complex ways of making sense of the world. It is a science based on empirical phenomena and reasoned (thinking) calculations.

One could easily make the case that political discourse has become less and less logical (policies based less and less on factual observations of society and the economy). That political discourse therefore has become more ideological (policies based more on preconceived notions of the function of government). If one accepts this as fact, then a political debate on prayer in schools is necessarily illogical. And until this problem with political discourse is fixed, any decision on prayer in schools, or any other policy put into practice, will be based on illogical analysis. This is not a failure or limitation of logical analysis. It is a failure in discourse. Many political arguments have been guided too much by ideology and therefore have not been solved by logical analysis.

But such an argument could be solved if the discussions were logical. For example, arguments for either side would need to provide empirical and logical evidence that prayer in schools is practically, personally, and sociological beneficial. An argument for either position would be complicated, but there must be a reason beyond the ideological or religious argument to support or oppose prayer in schools. Simply instituted as an ideological policy is not a logical enough argument. So, to answer your question, a lot of hotly contested political debates are often not settled by logical analysis because ideology unfortunately conditions the arguments.

Since the debate is basically split (black and white) these days, common ground is repelled by both sides. Prayer in schools has become an ideological debate. Until that changes, it will not be solved by logical analysis.

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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 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?

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.

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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 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?

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.

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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 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?

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. 

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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 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?

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.

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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 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?

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: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCS_80.htm

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