A NEW TECHNIQUE OF THINKING 1
The prevailing theory is that men who make important decisions in politics can be trained to use their minds wisely by disciplinary training in the practices of logical thought. Legal training is supposed to mold the mind to ways of dealing with the world which subordinate whim to principle. Formal instruction in the social sciences is intended to equip the mind for the detached consideration of social consequences, and everyone agrees that this implies a large measure of self-awareness for the sake of reducing the play of prejudice.
The nature of logical thought has been carefully examined by an array of able writers. Their conclusions may be provisionally reported by saying that logic is a guided form of mental operation. It is not something marked off from impulse, but a progressive elaboration and differentiation of impulse. It proceeds by the affirmation of a starting-point, which is in fact a vague indication of the goal to be reached, and develops by the criticism of the material which appears in consciousness according to its relevance to the end in view. If the judge begins by wanting to settle a controversy consistently with precedents, he has indicated in advance the shadowy outline of the desired termination of his efforts. If an administrator wants to reduce complaints against his handling of the postal service, he starts with a different mental set from the judge, but, like the mental set of the latter, his first____________________