If it’s attempt is to be a cheap collegiate text for those of us whom are autodidactic than it would be fantastic, but it was meant for the normal reader as an introductory text to formal logic and it fails miserably in that respect.
INTRODUCTION: I first read Being Logical when I was in my early 20’s. I absolutely loved it then, because it was a short and concise introduction to formal logic, which is sadly, no longer taught at the college level and hadn’t been for years by the time I was old enough to attend. This is the exact book that I thought was going to be a huge game changer if you could get enough people to read it. Sadly, I was unaware back then, that a majority of the United States was highly illiterate. So sadly, upon further inspection recently, I do not think as highly of this book, given this new data, as it would be closer to a collegiate textbook for the average American than I would hope, even though it was hugely inspired by Strunk&White Elements of Style, falls way short of that book and even invokes errors that the book would of warned against. So lets look at this book through a modern lens and see who the audience is and if it is worthwhile.
PROSE: The prose is fine, albeit a tad bit too complex for the average American reader. You can tell it is also heavily influenced by Aristole’s Oragaon, as McInerny’s expression of a quantification of a thing is nearly identical to Aristole’s. In fact, it was nearly verbatim. This is extremely confusing to the most readers who wouldn’t be able to discern such and why would they? If it was an attempt is to be a cheap collegiate text for those of us whom are autodidactic than it would be fantastic, but it was meant for the normal reader as an introductory text to formal logic and it fails miserably in that respect.
FORM: Book form is fantastic! It has a section on the formal fallacies, including their original Latin names and makes for a fantastic glossary. I’ve been using it for years, along with The Philosopher’s Toolkit as glossaries to look things up, should something slip my mind. I think the average reader is going to roll their eyes at the Latin and think of this as boring though and that is a negative for the book. Albeit, I and others of my ilk will find this to be a fantastic aspect, the intended audience would not concur with us.
This book, which should be for everyone, falls short of the mark. I’ve been pitching it for years and well, few seem to care about formal logic and thinking correctly. Typical human hubris that makes them think they’re thinking correctly, because as well all know with stupid people, they’re always correct and perfect. So, even though the audience this was intended for, would have very little use for it, it makes one hell of an introduction to Logic for everyone else. I would highly recommend this book to someone creating a high school or adult ed course on Logic and if Universities ever bring formal logic courses back, this would be a great 101 text. The average American is most likely not going to put much thought into this and probably toss it before they finished chapter one and that is a downright crime. On the textbook merits, I give it 5 out of 5 stars, even if it is a tad bit stuffy for some people. For the average American, though, I have to give it a paltry 3 out of 5. At least he tried to bring logic to Americans, and that would be commended. Thank you for such a fantastic book, even if it isn’t as appreciated as it could be.