Re: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?

From: James Hong (
Date: Thu May 03 2001 - 16:10:53 PDT

when people can't understand basic concepts, it's usually because the terms in which the concepts are being presented is foreign and perhaps intimidating to them.. put it into a context that the student can understand.

For example, if teaching a 12 y.o. adolescent girl,

Given: Backstreet Boys Fan => Adolescent Girl

she'll likely realize that not all girls are backstreet boy fans. and if she concludes that, just ask her "does EVERY adolescent girl love the backstreet boys?", and she'll get it right away.

Alternatively, use pictures (circle and a subset circle)..


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: John Hall
  To: FoRK
  Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2001 3:31 PM
  Subject: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?

  I was presented with this problem from a lady that taught logic at the college level.

  About the simplest thing in logic is:
  Given: A => B
  Given: A
  Conclude: ?

  What do you do with a student that can't answer that question?

  My reactions boiled down to:
  a) dumbfounded that someone over the age of 12 who can dress themselves considers that a hard problem.
  b) anyone who can't get that will never get that and can't be taught logic. Hand them a shovel.

  On the other hand, I have seen people that had trouble with:
  Given: A => B
  Given: B
  Conclude: ?

  That seemed to be harder to understand, and for someone that misses such questions I can think of ways to teach them, provided they could get the first problem right.

  Any thoughts?

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