The Father of Logic Aristotilian Logic
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The main credited “father of logic” is widely considered to be the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Interested in every area of human knowledge about the world, Aristotle aimed to unify all of them in a coherent system of thought by developing a common methodology that would serve equally well as the procedure for learning about any discipline.(Hurley 5)
For Aristotle, then, logic is the instrument (the “organon”) by means of which we come to know anything. He proposed as formal rules for correct reasoning the basic principles of the categorical logic that was universally accepted by Western philosophers until the nineteenth century. This system of thought regards assertions of the subject-predicate form as the primary expressions of truth, in which features or properties are shown to inhere in individual substances. In every discipline of human knowledge,then, we seek to establish the things of some sort have features of a certain kind.
Aristotle further supposed that this logical scheme accurately represents the true nature of reality. Thought, language, and reality are all alike in form, so careful consideration of what we say can help us to understand the way things really are. Beginning with simple descriptions of particular things, we can eventually assemble our information in order to achieve a comprehensive view of the world.(2)
The initial book in Aristotle’s collected logical works is the Categories. It begins with a distinction among three ways in which the meaning of different uses of a predicate may be related to each other: homonymy, synonymy, and paronymy.
Another of Aristotle’s logical works, On Interpretation, considers the use of predicates in combination with subjects to form propositions or assertions, each of which is either true or false. We usually determine the truth of a proposition by reference to our experience of the reality it conveys, but Aristotle recognized that special difficulties arise in certain circumstances.(3)
Although we grant the truth or falsity of propositions about past and present events, propositions about the future seem problematic. If a proposition about tomorrow is true (or false) today, then the future event it describes will happen (or not happen) necessarily; but if such a proposition is neither true nor false, then there is no future at all. Aristotle’s solution was to maintain that the divison is necessarily true today even though neither of its divisions is. Thus, it is necessary that either tomorrow’s event will occur or it will not, but it is neither necessary that it will occur nor necessary that it will not occur.(2)
Finally, in the Prior Analytics and Posterior Analytics, Aristotle offered a detailed account of the demonstrative reasoning required to affirm theoretical knowledge. Using mathematics as a model, Aristotle presumed that all such knowledge must be derived from what is already known. Thus, the process of reasoning by syllogism employs a formal definition of validity that permits the deduction of new truths from established principles. The goal is to provide an account of why things happen the way they do, based solely upon what we already know.
Aristotle is not claimed to be the “father of logic” due to the fact that he was the first to discuss logic, rather, it is due to the fact that he was the first to devise systematic criteria for analyzing and evaluating arguments. (Hurley 5)
1.)A Concise Introduction to Logic; Hurley, Patrick J.