Question: What use is Aristotle's logic?


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Are Aristotle's deductive logic and logical fallacies primarily useful to people who are already basically logical, or is it also useful to those who are illogical, in making them more logical? Can an illogical person be redeemed by studying logic?

I have an answer but I'm curious what others think.

Shayne

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That issue was raised and dealt with in H.W.B. Joseph's Introduction to Logic in which he pointed out that the study of logic informs the logical person what thinking logically consists of (explicitly).

Thanks David. Did he specify he purpose of informing the logical person explicitly?

Shayne

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Are Aristotle's deductive logic and logical fallacies primarily useful to people who are already basically logical, or is it also useful to those who are illogical, in making them more logical? Can an illogical person be redeemed by studying logic?

I have an answer but I'm curious what others think.

Imo examining the premises is more important than the logical conclusions drawn from them.

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Are Aristotle's deductive logic and logical fallacies primarily useful to people who are already basically logical, or is it also useful to those who are illogical, in making them more logical? Can an illogical person be redeemed by studying logic?

I have an answer but I'm curious what others think.

Shayne

The logic of categorical syllogisms can function as a discipline to help the untutored neaten up and sharpen up their thinking. It is one component of what Aristotle called the -organon- which is essentially an intellectual tool kit. It consists of more than rules of deduction. It clarifies language and usage. Aristotle's prior and posterior analytics along with -categories- is a first rate linguistic analysis. Aristotle did for logic what Euclid did for geometry and Archimedes for mechanics. They did not say the last word, but they laid an excellent basis for their disciplines and set a high standard for subsequent work. They laid out the groundwork and identified the boundaries.

Aristotle's work on logic was not equaled or exceeded until the 19th century by Boole and Frege. Archimedes work on mechanics was not equaled or exceeded until Galileo in the 17th century. Euclid's geometry was not surpassed until the work of Descartes in the 17th century.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Are Aristotle's deductive logic and logical fallacies primarily useful to people who are already basically logical, or is it also useful to those who are illogical, in making them more logical? Can an illogical person be redeemed by studying logic?

I have an answer but I'm curious what others think.

Shayne

Hmm. If the person is illogical (in their thought processes), then it's usually pretty difficult to estimate their response to anything, let alone Aristotle's ideas. Predicting an irrational response is like solving an equation you don't know anything about!

However, for the person whose goal is a correct idea (whether they are currently logical or illogical in their thought processes), logic is very persuasive, and would generally have a positive effect. Also, the difference between logical and illogical is not one of degree. It's a totally discrete switch. There is no continuity between illogical mindsets and logical ones. If somebody is on the logical side of this "threshold" of logical-ness then Aristotle's logic would certainly be useful.

The logic of categorical syllogisms can function as a discipline to help the untutored neaten up and sharpen up their thinking. It is one component of what Aristotle called the -organon- which is essentially an intellectual tool kit. It consists of more than rules of deduction. It clarifies language and usage. Aristotle's prior and posterior analytics along with -categories- is a first rate linguistic analysis. Aristotle did for logic what Euclid did for geometry and Archimedes for mechanics. They did not say the last word, but they laid an excellent basis for their disciplines and set a high standard for subsequent work. They laid out the groundwork and identified the boundaries.

Well said.

Aristotle's work on logic was not equaled or exceeded until the 19th century by Boole and Frege. Archimedes work on mechanics was not equaled or exceeded until Galileo in the 17th century. Euclid's geometry was not surpassed until the work of Descartes in the 17th century.

Ba'al Chatzaf

So I guess that makes Aristotle the best of the three? :P

Mike

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I bought the Ruby and lost interest somewhere in the first chapter. The Joseph is a classic and Rand's more concise statement of causality as the application of the law of identity to motion comes from his chapters on causality. I even toyed with the idea that he anticipated chaos theory in the chapter on causality. I read Joseph many years ago when I was young and more abstract. I don't seem to be able to maintain that level of abstraction now-a-days but I remember how impressed I was with his level of seriousness and knowledge.

As to why you would teach a basically logical person logic..for the same reason you would teach Mozart counterpoint (when he was young) or Michael Jordan to shoot hoops..because logic is a skill that you can get better at even if you are basically oriented in that direction.

Edited by DavidMcK
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So I guess that makes Aristotle the best of the three? :P

Mike

I would vote for Archimedes. Aristotle's -Physics- sucks lemons. He was on point with his linguistic analysis in -Organon- which includes the categorical logic and the fallacies. His view on politics are coherent. His literary criticism and aesthetic views are above reproach. But when it comes to matter and motion, it is a disaster. The idea of inertial never occurred to Aristotle. Anyone who has ever hauled a heavy load or tried to stop a runaway wagon should have in intuitive idea of inertia.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I bought the Ruby and lost interest somewhere in the first chapter. The Joseph is a classic and Rand's more concise statement of causality as the application of the law of identity to motion comes from his chapters on causality. I even toyed with the idea that he anticipated chaos theory in the chapter on causality. I read Joseph many years ago when I was young and more abstract. I don't seem to be able to maintain that level of abstraction now-a-days but I remember how impressed I was with his level of seriousness and knowledge.

As to why you would teach a basically logical person logic..for the same reason you would teach Mozart counterpoint (when he was young) or Michael Jordan to shoot hoops..because logic is a skill that you can get better at even if you are basically oriented in that direction.

Thanks. I have the Ruby book but not the Joseph one, I'll pick up a copy.

Shayne

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Of course Binswanger completely ignores David Kelley's excellent The Art of Reasoning... <_<

As college text books on logic go, Kelley's -The Art of Reasoning- and Copi & Cohen's book on logic are on a par. Both are satisfactory texts and cover the ground on deduction, induction and elementary probability adequately.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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  • 3 months later...
Logic has to be learnt

Couldn't agree more. Logic doesn't come naturally and kids should be taught early (it should be on a par with the 3 Rs) like in the days of the Trivium.

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Logic has to be learnt

Couldn't agree more. Logic doesn't come naturally and kids should be taught early (it should be on a par with the 3 Rs) like in the days of the Trivium.

In addition, epistemology should be made a school subject.

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