How to Use Logic to Test Your Paper's Deep Structure

Rule #7: A paper based on a logically fallacious argument may contain entirely correct "information" but it will be completely unpersuasive.  Truth and validity are two different, equally important qualities in scholarly prose.

        Remember that thinking logically does not come "naturally" to most human minds.  We usually think by processes of association, making sloppy leaps from one similar idea to another, letting momentum carry our minds until we arrive at conclusions which satisfy our (largely unconscious) prejudices.  That satisfaction is what logic was designed to fight, as it exposes thinking which cannot be valid because it is produced by methods which break certain widely agreed-upon rules.  Use logical tests of validity as a separate test of the main steps in your argument.  Have you committed any fallacies?  If so, fix the argument or change your conclusions.  You may save the conclusions if you can find a logical way to show your reader how to reach them, but do not forget that it might be better to persuade yourself of a different conclusion if your initial thinking was fallacious.