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Logic & Perception

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Logic can be defined as the subject that teaches the rules for correct and proper reasoning or in simpler terms, it can be best described as common sense. Some refer to the "science" of logic but logic is really more than just a science. The science part "is the knowledge of the principles, laws, and methods of logic itself." (Dolhenty, J; 2002). Logic must be put into action or else the knowledge provided within the science of logic is of little use. "We can, therefore, also speak of the "art" of logic, that is, the practical application of the science of logic to our everyday affairs." (Dolhenty, J; 2002). Logic is not only intended to inform or instruct; it is also meant to assist in the proper use of our power of reasoning. As such, we can speak of logic as both a science and an art, a practical art meant to be applied in our everyday interactions.

Critical thinking is the method used when deciding rationally what or what not to believe. It can simply be described as the process for the use of reason in the pursuit of the truth. When thinking critically one must assess all assumptions for validity and appropriateness using our logic as a basis. Although the two concepts are closely tied, it is possible for a person to be logical but not be thinking critically. In this paper we will discuss the nature of logic and how it relates to critical thinking.

Logic and Critical Thinking

Critical thinking involves knowledge of the science of logic, including how to analyze information and using corrective reasoning. To think critically one must understand the source and nature of knowledge and the nature of truth. Critical thinking is the basis of the science of logic and logic is that branch of knowledge which reflects upon the nature of thinking itself. The key to thinking critically is applying logic in the process. This can often become hard to do as we find it difficult to separate out perception from reality.


Perception is "the process by which people select, organize, interpret, retrieve and respond to the information from the world around them." (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2003; p.2). Perceptions are our way of forming opinions about ourselves, others and everyday experiences. They serve as a filter through which information passes before it has an effect. Since perceptions are created based on everyday experience or interactions, it is feasible to deduct that we create numerous perceptions about various subjects everyday. As perceptions skewer our opinions, reactions or ideas in many ways, the quality of a person's perceptions is very important and can determine how we respond in a given situation. In many cases, perception and reality is not the same thing.

Perceptual vs. Reality

"Through perception, people process information inputs into responses involving feelings and action." (Schermerhorn, et al; p.3). A person's personality, values or past experience all influence the perceptual process and because of this ones perception can have no basis in reality. A specific, yet simplified example of this very scenario is in the perception that was formulated about a new acquaintance. Upon meeting this person, almost instantaneously a stereotype is created based on the way he was dressed, his general appearance and the way in which he carried himself. This person was a boxer trade but had no job. He lived a hard life, raised in a rough section of Philadelphia and lived his life looking very much like a thug. The



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