Grammar + Logic + Rhetoric = Critical Thinking
When reading, listening or watching anything in English, through any of the forms of communication media that exist in our contemporary world, whether it be through a real life experience or through instruments such as an ebook; an emagazine; an enewsletter or an email newsletter; an Internet podcast; a TV show or TV program; a film; a movie; a radio broadcast; or, virtually, anything or anyone that communicates to you in English, it would be useful, if you so desire, to learn how to think critically and observe carefully.
Language and the experience you will have while you are learning, will, eventually, become much deeper and much more personal in your understanding of the language you want to learn, if you want to learn how to think.
To begin, when learning a language, you need to become more aware as you progress through the stages of development in acquiring the vocabulary, the pronunciation and the basic grammar rules of the language you are learning as I spoke of in the previous handouts.
As you begin to think, and to speak in another language, more and more, begin to notice differences, not only in your first language, but, especially, in your second language, or third language, or however many you speak.
Noticing details, from observation, is not something learned or acquired immediately, when you begin any new venture. It takes time, practice and experience. It is a skill that you progressively attain as you follow the steps listed, in this short explanation, about how you can become a language learner and, then, acquire the language you have chosen to master. Eventually, you will acquire a language, but, first, you must learn it.
To start, we begin at the beginning, like we do in any endeavor in life.
The first steps are the most difficult because it means changing or transforming something in yourself in order to adapt to new knowledge.
Begin first to notice the language, in all its forms, both spoken and written.
Make observations with your five senses when involved in the language you are learning whether it be in real life or not. When you are not in a real, live situation, use, at least, visual means of being in touch with the language!
Use your mind in a three-step fashion to:
Decide what you know or what you want to know, by making observations.
Decide how thoroughly or to what degree you understand a portion of knowledge.
Decide how you can explain succinctly what you know, to yourself and others. You can store a number of these integrated observations which are made over time into a coherent and methodical way so as to build this new knowledge.
Make six observations about the reality you are learning in another language by asking yourself questions about the information you are processing.
Now, let’s look at the Trivium.
Let’s begin with the first four questions:
What is the identity of the person involved?
What is the identity of the subject, concept, or topic involved?
What is the identity of the location or place?
What is the identity of the time?
The first four of the six observations needed when learning to think critically which is the first stage of The Trivium is called, grammar, where you need to use your 5 senses to organize your data.
The three related ideas, called the Trivium are Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric.
Simply defined, the Trivium is knowledge obtained from the results of answering questions.
This input, or knowledge, is referred to as the general grammar of a concept or idea. Remember, also, that the word ‘grammar’, also means, the ordered principles of any form of knowledge that you are studying.
General grammar in language is not only about the order of words in the spoken and written language, but, also, the connecting of human word concepts that connect you to objective reality.
What is the identity of the cause?
This is the second stage, the art of non-contradictory identification.
This means that one thing cannot be another at the same time and respect. It is the art of thinking without contradiction, or non-contradictory identification.
This processing, or thinking, is referred to as logic.
In essence, any agreed upon definition, acts as common ground for successful communication. If you are attempting to communicate with someone, and cannot agree on common definitions, communication cannot take place.
If identities cannot be defined, logic is not present, and the conversation then is apparently about nothing.
If there is a failure to communicate, it is likely that there is a contradiction in identification; whereby, re-affirming mutual agreement on definitions or identification will most likely remedy the situation.
Once concepts are mutually defined, communication becomes much more efficient and effective.
Proof is the process of deriving a conclusion, step-by-step, from the directly given evidence of the senses, each step in accordance with the law of identity; which is logic.
A fallacy is an error in our logical thinking process. The word fallacy derives from the Latin, fallere, to deceive.
What is the identity of the means or process?
The third stage is how to communicate.
This is simply the communication of knowledge and understanding, or wisdom, which precipitates from answering the question: How?
It is in taking the grammar and applying logic, which creates what is referred to as rhetoric, or the expression of wisdom. However, if an audience lacks intellectual self-defense, and does not question the rhetoric they consume, they can soon be misled.
The three-step process, known as The Trivium, is referred to in many different ways, but, it is always three processes. In the following examples you can see the Trivium Method at work using different words but the same idea.
Grammar | Logic | Rhetoric
Input | Processing | Output
Observation | Thinking | Communication
Knowledge | Understanding | Wisdom
All the above refer to the three identical, implicit and natural processes we all have as human beings.
This is why it’s removed from the public education system and preserved within the elite universities, mystery schools, and secret societies. It is the single secret which allows the elite, the mystery schools, and the secret societies to create and maintain power in the first place, by:
Removing our ability to learn for ourselves.
Making us dependent on teachers.
In general, students, in most schools, are subject to Pavlovian classrooms using Wundtian implementations of experimental psychology to condition them like Skinner’s pigeons where we can read just enough to be efficiently and effectively controlled.
For example: B.F. Skinner deprived his pigeons of food, and then used food to corrupt the actions of the birds.
In the vast majority of countries, even democratic nations, non-elected rulers deprive the population of information and money, and, then, use these deficiencies to corrupt actions in their favor. This is the root cause of why the status quo is in direct conflict with human needs of survival.
This is why, in the 15,000 hours students spend in public schooling and, even in many private schools, students are not taught what you you are learning here. It is the most important thing which can be taught, and yet, it is conspicuously absent from our status quo.
It is called: critical thinking and critical thinking cannot be effectively taught in a curriculum.
It is a skill which results from the process of thinking and learning. It is driven by the grammar, logic, and rhetoric cycle of observation, thought, and action.
The purpose of grammar is to bring initial and consistent order to a body of knowledge.
The purpose of logic is to extract understanding from the body of knowledge.
The purpose of rhetoric is the cogent explanation of that body of knowledge.
If done effectively by a teacher, this is known as teaching.
In critical thinking, we use our five senses, processed by the Trivium:
Grammar [basic principles of any area of knowledge]
Then we integrate our comprehension via the Quadrivium:
Arithmetic [number in itself]
Geometry [number in space]
Astronomy [number in space and time]
The Trivium is the invisible world of mind and thought.
The Quadrivium is the visible, physical world of matter and quantity.
If we are one with these two worlds, we begin to be a critical thinker. The Trivium, the
Quadrivium and your five senses are all embodied in the famous 5-3-4 triangle of Pythagoras.
One of the requirements to enter Plato’s Academy was knowledge of geometry, which refers to Pythagoras, and the fact that: If you don’t know how to learn anything for yourself, by asking substantial questions, and obtaining valid answers, you cannot possibly contribute or be of benefit to a school which operates on the pre-requisite of autonomy or self-governance.
In ancient times, students were taught the Trivium at home, by their parents, as a pre-requisite for admission into universities.
What happened to real education in our current world? Why was the Trivium removed from the vast majority of the people? Why?
“What use is it to pile task on task and prolong the days of labor, if at the close, the chief object is left unattained? It is not the fault of the teachers–they work only too hard already. The combined folly of a civilization that has forgotten its own roots is forcing them to shore up the tottering weight of an educational structure that is built upon sand.
They are doing for their pupils the work which the pupils themselves ought to do. For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.”
-- The Lost Tools Of Learning by Dorothy L. Sayers 
All of the above information was adapted, rearranged, edited, and organized by the writer of this material, the tutor of English.
©2019 Farley Leite de Akers | Tutor of English | All Rights Reserved