A Guide to Lean Logic, by David Fleming

Welcome to the Dictionary of Lean Logic. You might think that a good place to start reading it is at the beginning. Well, that isn’t necessarily so. For one thing, the first word in the Dictionary is Abstraction, and knowing what that is all about probably isn’t a burning priority for most people. One better idea might be to read the Introduction, for some context and guidance on how to approach the book.

Or simply dive in with one of the questions that occupy, or preoccupy, many of us, and then explore from there. Here are a few to start with, and some of the principal entries which think about them:

1. Is there a problem?
Climacteric, Energy Prospects, Climate Change, Food Prospects, Population; Gaia, Wheel of Life; Economics, Delocalisation, Demoralisation, Tactile Deprivation; Growth, Intensification Paradox, Intermediate Economy, Regrettable Necessities; Genetic Modification, Nanotechnology, Nuclear Energy; Rationalism, Reductionism; Wicked Problems; Success.

2. What is “Lean”?
Lean Thinking; Intention, Lean Means, Flow, Pull, Feedback; Five Whys, Kaikaku, Kaizen; Muda, Empowerment, Incentives Fallacy; Scale, Travelling Light.

3. What solutions does Lean Logic explore?
Lean Economy; Slack and Taut, Intentional Waste, Lean Education, Lean Law and Order, Lean Energy, TEQs (Tradable Energy Quotas), Transition, Lean Food, Lean Health, Lean Materials, Lean Transport.

4. What is there about community building?
Community, Reciprocity and Cooperation; Carnival, Common Purpose, Commons, Courtesy, Democracy, Eroticism, Freedom, Groups and Group Sizes, Home, Humour, Informal Economy, Narrative Truth, Place, Play, Public Sphere and Private Sphere, Social Capital, Religion, Ritual, Tradition, Transition, Trust.

5. Are there practical suggestions?
Lean Economy; Manual Skills, Appropriate Technology, Lean Household, Lean Building, Lean Energy, Lean Food, Lean Materials, Lean Health, Lean Transport, Social City, Sorting Problem, Water; Local Currency, Gifts, Larders, Sleep.

6. How does Lean Logic fit in with other lines of argument?
Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Needs and Wants, Money Fallacy, Ecology: The Scholars; Economics, Growth, Population, Unlean; Genetic Modification, Nanotechnology; Paradigm, Wheel of Life; Utopia.

7. How does the principle of “small is beautiful” stack up with Lean Logic?
Scale, Place, Needs and Wants, Community, Resilience; Appropriate Technology, Boundaries and Frontiers, Nation, Closed-Loop Systems, Complexity, Connectedness, Dollar-a-Day Fallacy, Economics, Growth, Intentional Waste, Manual Skills, Systems Thinking, Protection.

8. Can I have some context, please, given the super-giant society we are living in now?
Market Economy, Regrettable Necessities; Scale, System Scale Rule, Land, Ingenuity Gap; Complexity, Competitiveness, Climacteric, Gaia, Leisure, Multiculturalism, Myth; Groups and Group Sizes, Small Group, Neighbourhood, Parish, County, Nation.

9. Does the spirit get a mention?
Spirit; Ironic Space, Carnival, Religion; Culture, Eroticism, Imagination, Implicit Truth, Invisible Goods, Liturgy, Narrative Truth, Performative Truth, Ritual, Script, Second Nature, Tao, Truth.

10. What guiding principles are there, in addition to lean thinking?
Local Wisdom, Conversation, Culture, Leisure, Reciprocity and Cooperation, Resilience, Social Capital, Truth; Abstraction, Anarchism, Closed-Loop Systems, Cohesion, Commons, Harmless Lunatic, Harmonic Order, Holism, Informal Logic, Localisation, Metamorphosis, Practice, Presence.

11. What about manners and ethics?
Manners, Ethics; Blame, Caritas, Casuistry, Character, Compassion, Courtesy, Dialogue, Dirty Hands, Ecology: The Scholars, Encounter, Gifts, Good Faith, Humility, Innocence, Insult, Interest, Presence, Promiscuous Ethics, Public Sphere and Private Sphere, Reflection, Responsibility, Trust, Virtues, Violence.

12. And guidance on logical thinking?
Informal Logic, Fallacies, Manners; Ad hominem, Begging the Question, Big Stick, Cant, Causes, Composition, Deceptions, Distraction, Expertise, F-Word Fallacy, False Analogy, False Consistency, False Inference, False Opposite, Grammar, Hyperbole, Hypocrisy, Identity, Ideology, Irrelevance, No Alternative, Self-Evident, Straw Man, Time Fallacies, Unfalsifiability, Wolf Fallacy Fallacy.
(See also “How to Cheat in an Argument”)

13. Doesn’t all this call for a fresh perspective on economics?
Economism, Economics, Regrettable Necessities; Green Economics, Lean Economics, Planned Economy; Capital, Growth, Intentional Waste; Competitiveness, Protection, Slack and Taut, Informal Economy, Gifts, Usury, Lean Household, Reciprocity and Cooperation, Well-Being.

14. And where is nature in all this?
Encounter; Ecology: Farmers and Hunters, Ecology: The Scholars, Gaia, Ecological System, Wheel of Life, Resilience; Lean Food; Home, Play, Relevance, Spirit, Hippopotamus.

Alternatively, here’s a full list of all the entries in the Dictionary to pique your curiosity,
or simply enter a topic through the search icon that you’ll find at the top-right of every page.


Note on links between entries

Underlined words in the text indicate words which have their own entries, but not always in the same form of the word.

For example, Elegant links to the entry Elegance.

Reciprocity and Cooperation > Balance refers to the section on “Balance” within the entry Reciprocity and Cooperation.