By Bryan Hyde

COMMENTARY -- We need to argue more. Or to be precise; as a society, we need to argue more intelligently.


Once upon a time, argumentation was an exchange of evidence and ideas and persuasion by facts and reason in a quest for understanding.

Today, our understanding is too often based upon the parroting of short, carefully selected sound bites that are spoon-fed to us via the media.

When this occurs, our view of the bigger picture is often incomplete and therefore the conclusions we draw may or may not be valid. 

This is when we can use logic to help us gain a more clear view of the issue at hand.

Aristotle is generally credited with the invention of classical logic in his work “Organon” meaning tool. He taught the importance of defining one’s terms, classifying statements, syllogisms -- or argument structures -- that by design appear to be indisputably valid, and finally, proofs by which an argument could be tested.

Unhappy young couple having an argument

Logic is valuable not because it will win every argument for us, but because it causes us to better order our thinking and to instinctively test statements for their validity without simply buying into them. 

It allows us to examine our own arguments with greater precision and to express our viewpoints more effectively.

Vigorous yet civil discussion and debate are essential to expanding our intellect and understanding.

But don’t mistake desperate demonizing for the kind of debate that can actually help solve problems.

* Hyde In Plain Sight is written by KDXU personality Bryan Hyde. Catch his daily HIPS vignette at 7:50-ish every weekday morning on KDXU and listen to The Bryan Hyde Show weekends at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday nights.

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