” In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science. It examines general forms which arguments may take, which forms are valid, and which are fallacies. In philosophy, the study of logic is applied in most major areas: ontology, epistemology, ethics, metaphysics. In mathematics, it is the study of valid inferences within some formal language. Logic is also studied in argumentation theory.
Logic was studied in several ancient civilizations, including the Indian subcontinent, China and Greece. Logic was established as a discipline by Aristotle, who gave it a fundamental place in philosophy. The study of logic was part of the classical trivium, which also included grammar and rhetoric.
The Study of Logic
The concept of logical form is central to logic, it being held that the validity of an argument is determined by its logical form, not by its content. Traditional Aristotelian syllogistic logic and modern symbolic logic are examples of formal logics.
- Informal logic is the study of natural language arguments. The study of fallacies is an especially important branch of informal logic. The dialogues of Plato are good examples of informal logic.
- Formal logic is the study of inference with purely formal content. An inference possesses a purely formal content if it can be expressed as a particular application of a wholly abstract rule, that is, a rule that is not about any particular thing or property. The works of Aristotle contain the earliest known formal study of logic. Modern formal logic follows and expands on Aristotle. In many definitions of logic, logical inference and inference with purely formal content are the same. This does not render the notion of informal logic vacuous, because no formal logic captures all of the nuance of natural language.
- Symbolic logic is the study of symbolic abstractions that capture the formal features of logical inference. Symbolic logic is often divided into two branches: propositional logic and predicate logic.
- Mathematical logic is an extension of symbolic logic into other areas, in particular to the study of model theory, proof theory, set theory, and recursion theory.
Logic is generally accepted to be formal, in that it aims to analyze and represent the form (or logical form) of any valid argument type. The form of an argument is displayed by representing its sentences in the formal grammar and symbolism of a logical language to make its content usable in formal inference. If one considers the notion of form to be too philosophically loaded, one could say that formalizing is nothing else than translating English sentences into the language of logic.
This is known as showing the logical form of the argument. It is necessary because indicative sentences of ordinary language show a considerable variety of form and complexity that makes their use in inference impractical. It requires, first, ignoring those grammatical features which are irrelevant to logic (such as gender and declension if the argument is in Latin), replacing conjunctions which are not relevant to logic (such as ‘but’) with logical conjunctions like ‘and’ and replacing ambiguous or alternative logical expressions (‘any’, ‘every’, etc.) with expressions of a standard type (such as ‘all’, or the universal quantifier ∀).
Second, certain parts of the sentence must be replaced with schematic letters. Thus, for example, the expression ‘all As are Bs’ shows the logical form which is common to the sentences ‘all men are mortals’, ‘all cats are carnivores’, ‘all Greeks are philosophers’ and so on.
That the concept of form is fundamental to logic was already recognized in ancient times. Aristotle uses variable letters to represent valid inferences in Prior Analytics, leading Jan Łukasiewicz to say that the introduction of variables was ‘one of Aristotle’s greatest inventions’. According to the followers of Aristotle (such as Ammonius), only the logical principles stated in schematic terms belong to logic, and not those given in concrete terms. The concrete terms ‘man’, ‘mortal’, etc., are analogous to the substitution values of the schematic placeholders ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, which were called the ‘matter’ (Greek ‘hyle’) of the inference.
The fundamental difference between modern formal logic and traditional or Aristotelian logic lies in their differing analysis of the logical form of the sentences they treat.
- In the traditional view, the form of the sentence consists of (1) a subject (e.g. ‘man’) plus a sign of quantity (‘all’ or ‘some’ or ‘no’); (2) the copula which is of the form ‘is’ or ‘is not’; (3) a predicate (e.g. ‘mortal’). Thus: all men are mortal. The logical constants such as ‘all’, ‘no’ and so on, plus sentential connectives such as ‘and’ and ‘or’ were called ‘syncategorematic’ terms (from the Greek ‘kategorei’ – to predicate, and ‘syn’ – together with). This is a fixed scheme, where each judgement has an identified quantity and copula, determining the logical form of the sentence.
- According to the modern view, the fundamental form of a simple sentence is given by a recursive schema, involving logical connectives, such as a quantifier with its bound variable, which are joined to by juxtaposition to other sentences, which in turn may have logical structure.
- The modern view is more complex, since a single judgement of Aristotle’s system will involve two or more logical connectives. For example, the sentence “All men are mortal” involves in term logic two non-logical terms “is a man” (here M) and “is mortal” (here D): the sentence is given by the judgement A(M,D). In predicate logic the sentence involves the same two non-logical concepts, here analyzed as m(x) and d(x), and the sentence is given by , involving the logical connectives for universal quantification and implication.
- But equally, the modern view is more powerful: medieval logicians recognized the problem of multiple generality, where Aristotelean logic is unable to satisfactorily render such sentences as “Some guys have all the luck”, because both quantities “all” and “some” may be relevant in an inference, but the fixed scheme that Aristotle used allows only one to govern the inference. Just as linguists recognize recursive structure in natural languages, it appears that logic needs recursive structure.”