My thinking has changed for the better – for a number of reasons – directly due to and thanks to the material taught in Socratic Logic AP503 at Southern Evangelical Seminary. First, I am able to identify in a conversation when a friend or a loved one is using – or not using – any three acts of the mind. I am more carefully examining terms, propositions, and a higher level of reasoning in a way I never really have done so before.
The way a person uses logic, or rather the way I have come to know a person is not using proper logic, is much more obvious to me now in a conversation – to the point of me being able to identify certain terms they are misusing or the terms they are using ambiguously, propositions they are doubting based on a lack of reason, and the mistake of rejecting valid arguments. In the fall of 2017, I was given the opportunity to engage in three live talks on YouTube hosted by a Christian apologist along with a few different guests who were skeptics. Socratic logic has helped me as a listener and a thinker. The lessons and homework have helped me learn how to analyze more effectively what has been said. I highly recommend AP503 to anyone who wants to improve his or her thinking skills. The class will also prepare you to engage more effectively in various conversations with strangers, friends, and relatives.
Second, I have come to realize – even more – that some people, believers and unbelievers alike, are highly sensitive about our use of grammar, our use of words, and our choice of words that we have selected. Bad grammar in a textbook – or in a novel for that matter – is a quick way to fail as an author. Bad grammar in speaking can also shut down our listening audience. As a believer, I cannot become so fearful of not being perfect in grammar that I lose sight of how important it is to intentionally communicate propositions and valid arguments as well as the even more important need to communicate the good news of the Gospel message. Nevertheless, good grammar can either help gain the respect of whoever is listening or not. While I am not a big fan of speaking in logical sentences such as “that which is” and “that which are,” I do see the benefit in speaking and writing more clearly so that our listeners can understand without any confusion as to what it is we are saying and why we are saying it.
In addition, I have changed my thinking about the way in which a person commits a fallacy. I have come to find out that unfortunately some people are stuck in a world of fallacies where they end up thinking everyone else is committing the fallacy. This is one of the most awkward conversations to be in when your friend or loved one attacks you of the very thing they are actually doing while they are actually denying it at the very same time. By recognizing this downward spiral in a conversation, we can actually help one another – in the most kind and gentle way possible – by pointing out the exact fallacy that was committed and why – without feeling the need to necessarily address the damage they are doing to themselves as they live in a world of destructive fallacies. It might even be necessary to say nothing at all.
Moving forward, I am even more excited to select good topics at my choosing – or based on the class I am in – and write a strong case for controversial arguments, addressing these matters effectively by following the steps of practical application for writing an effective message. This world needs more people who understand Socratic logic in order to use it to help other people take steps closer to knowing truth and experiencing the three acts of the mind in a way that our Heavenly Father has intended us to do. I am looking forward to posting my messages, engaging in productive conversations, and publishing books with topics based on apologetics and absolute truth. Instead of just giving a conclusion of what I believe as a Christian and leaving it at that, I can be taken much more seriously – even when skeptics live in a world doubt – if I give good reasons that directly support my beliefs, and in doing so, I will be giving more concise statements while demonstrating the validity of my argument by using the Socratic logic as it has been taught in AP503.
Thank you, Professor Brown, for teaching AP503 in a meaningful and memorable way. The slides, lectures, and books by Kreeft and Coffee have most certainly changed my thinking for the better – and for kingdom purposes. I am extremely grateful for all the professors and for all the classes at SES. I know now by experience how the three acts of the mind can help other people take a step closer to discovering truth. Learning about Socratic logic has opened a door in my life to engage in many more successful conversations for the sake of being a tool that our loving, caring Potter can use and for the benefit of our listening audience.
Peter Coffee, The Science of Logic: An Inquiry Into the Principles of Accurate Thought and Scientific Method, vol. 1 (New York: Forgotten Books, 1938).
Peter Coffee, The Science of Logic: An Inquiry Into the Principles of Accurate Thought and Scientific Method, vol. 2 (New York: Forgotten Books, 1938).
Peter Kreeft, Socratic Logic (South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine’s Press, 2004).