By Patricia C. Frank….
To think is to contemplate ponder and reason. It is to mull over and arrive at a conclusion. It has been humorously said, “That some people think that they are thinking when all they are doing is rearranging their prejudices.” To see clearly and to be able to follow the thread and chain of thought is very important. There are many types and styles of thinking. Some are more beneficial and accurate than others.
A syllogism is an example of faulty and illogical thinking. It is circular thinking that comes to an erroneous conclusion. It is very tricky because it is a type of logic that draws inaccurate conclusions based on basic truths. It is a mental formulation in which you have a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion based on the agreement or correlation between these two premises. An example would be Major premise- Aristotle is a man. Minor premise – All men have facial hair. Conclusion- Aristotle has facial hair. Stated another way, Aristotle has facial hair. All men have facial hair. Therefore, Aristotle is a man. So, round and round it goes in ever expanding silly circles.
It is not unusual for illogical thinking to masquerade as logical thinking. People do it every day and cannot see how illogical it is. It prevents you from having a meaningful or productive conversation with them. One technique that may reduce your frustration is to keep repeating the truly logical statement like a broken record. Some people may not be able to ever see the error in their thinking. They lack the intelligence and intellectual ability to follow the precise trend of thought. You may have to just give up on them.
But, don’t give up on yourself. In your own life you may be prone to make the same syllogism mistakes in your thinking. Hopefully, you will become aware of it when you use it. Ideally you will be able to retrain yourself and learn to think logically. Patricia Frank is a Licensed Psychotherapist. She can be reached