Thursday, 12 January 2017

An Introduction to Logic by H.W.B. Joseph

An Introduction to Logic
H.W.B. Joseph

I recently listened to Leonard Peikoff’s lecture on Aristotelian logic: "Introduction to Logic" (available on Ayn Rand eStore). In his course, Peikoff covers several standard topics in the logical theory, such as the Informal Fallacies, Deductive Reasoning, Aristotelian Syllogism, Definitions, and Inductive Generalization.

In the course, Peikoff recommends two books for further information on the Aristotelian logical theory: Lionel Ruby’s Logic: An Introduction and H.W.B. Joseph’s An Introduction to Logic.

The second book, Joseph’s An Introduction to Logic, was first published in 1906, and is said to have a detailed treatment of the logical theory. Today I purchased this book. From the table of contents, I can clearly make out that Joseph has conduced a very advanced treatment of the philosophy of logic.

In his Preface, Joseph indicates his devotion to Aristotelian logic in these lines: "In the course of centuries, the tradition [of logic] has become divergent, and often corrupt. In this difficulty, I have ventured, like one or two other modern writers to go back largely to its source in Aristotle."

In the first chapter, “Of the General Character of the Enquiry,” Joseph gives a detailed description of what the concept of logic means. Here’s an excerpt from his discussion of the subject: “Logic, then, is the science which studies the general principles in accordance with which we think about things, whatever things they may be; and so it presupposes that we have thought about things.”

This is one of those books that demand a careful study and I will have more to say on Joseph's treatment of the subject of logic when I finish reading his book.

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