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The effectiveness of logical reasoning on the solution of value problems Schactman, Chuck Seymour

Abstract

Certain values education programs have been recently developed which emphasize teaching students to gain ability in critical, deductive reasoning. The major contention of this paper was that this type of reasoning is not entirely adequate for the solution of certain value loaded problems. In order to empirically test this hypothesis, a group of university students trained in formal logic was selected. Then three tests of logic were devised — one symbolic, one verbal and neutral, and the third verbal and value loaded. On three different sessions these tests were administered so that each subject attempted each test. Every item across the three tests was exactly the same in terms of logical content. The results were then tabulated and the analyses performed. The results showed support for the major hypothesis, that subjects perform significantly different on tests incorporating the same logic, but whose content differs. These results were then viewed in relation to values education programs stressing deductive reasoning and to the educational implications that may arise. Finally it was concluded that if transfer of learning to real life situations is a goal of education, then the programs mentioned are insufficient for the realization of these goals, and that the inclusion of educational procedures in the affective and perceptual, as well as the cognitive domains, is necessary for the successful transfer of learned strategies to everyday life situations.

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