NU Ideas

NU Ideas Volume 2, Number 2


Nagoya University Multidisciplinary Journal

Proceedings of the Symposium on
Academic Writing and Critical Thinking

On the Limitations of Language and Logic

Tom Gally
The University of Tokyo

While most types of writing are expected to be clear and logical, these properties are demanded especially of academic writing. As a result, the teaching of writing for scholarship and research often emphasizes precise language and critical thinking. However, as this paper endeavors to show, language is inherently complex and difficult to tame and traditional logic fails to encompass the actual reasoning methods used in academic discourse. Pedagogies that emphasize the teaching and application of specific principles and rules of language and logic are therefore insufficient for making young scholars adequate writers of research papers. Better results might be obtained, this paper suggests, by focusing on methods that embrace the social aspects of language and logic.

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