Logic and Good Writing

To write well a writer must possess skills in logical analysis. Perplexing or ambiguous writing frequently results from a writer’s failure to notice that the most literal meanings or most plausible interpretations of his phrases or statements involve subtle contradictions. Although they may be implicit, these contradictions can easily confuse readers, especially—and ironically—those readers who are most discerning. Such contradictions may not be intrinsic to the message written. They might arise in the writing because of the way that the message is written. So, good writing requires two levels of logical analysis: (1) the search for contradictions in the writing’s underlying message, and (2) the search for contradictions in the written words as they are written.

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