We are taught to think logically at school. In a multiple choice exam, we are presented with a question and four possible answers. We work our way through each answer and try to find fault with them, and the answer which is without fault is then chosen as the right answer. We are taught to think like this continuously throughout our school years.
Although we are taught to think logically, we are not actually taught how logic works. We learn grammar by learning how to spell, by knowing the difference between a noun and a verb, and by knowing how to punctuate a sentence. We learn mathematics in the same way; we learn how to add, subtract, multiply and divide and then combine the functions to arrive at a solution. But there are no lessons in logic.
To think logically we have to convert an experience into a word or a term. Once we have converted an experience into a term, we can then decide whether the term can or cannot be included in a statement or a premise. So a dog is an animal and a dog is not a vegetable. Then we connect one premise together with another to form an argument. A dog is an animal, animals feel pain, and so therefore a dog feels pain.
In many respects logic simplifies everyday thinking. We want to know whether a mushroom is edible or not, whether an object is heavy or not, or whether a person is an enemy or not. Logic allows us to organise our thoughts into a clear and precise manner according to its rules.
The problem with logic is that, in order to convert the experience into a term, we have to reduce the experience down to a single feature. So a dolphin is an mammal and a shark is a fish, even though they swim in the same water. Life is rarely black and white. A person can go from being a friend to an enemy and then back to being a friend, and an object can be heavy for one person and not to another.
The dominance of logic means we assume there is only one correct view, usually our own, and when we are presented with an alternative view, we are convinced we must attack it. We have never really challenged this assumption. This limits knowledge to what is already known. Logic can deal with the known – we can label and define what we know – but it cannot deal with the unknown; for that we need intuition.
Intuition in the West has a chapter on logic, outlining its basic principles, its history and development. It is better to be capable of both logic and intuition and then to be able to employ them when necessary.