The Function and Forms of Thought: An Elementary Text in Methodology and Logic Based upon Symbolic Principles

The Function and Forms of Thought: An Elementary Text in Methodology and Logic Based upon Symbolic Principles

The Function and Forms of Thought: An Elementary Text in Methodology and Logic Based upon Symbolic Principles

The Function and Forms of Thought: An Elementary Text in Methodology and Logic Based upon Symbolic Principles

Excerpt

Justification may be demanded for the production of yet another text in elementary logic, of the making of many of which there seems to be no end, and whose perusal is perhaps beginning to be a weariness to the flesh. But books, including texts in logic, represent points of view. And among the numerous products of recent years no one expresses quite satisfactorily the point of view and interpretation of the present writer.

Recent texts fall into three general groups. There is the group of those which restate the traditional doctrine in a form whose only novelty is the literary style of the writer, plus perhaps an attempt to make it more acceptable by omitting a good deal of tradition. The second group tries to vitalize the subject by a pragmatic emphasis upon applications and results, submerging the formal aspects of thinking. The third is represented by the few writers who have tried to take account of the developments of symbolic logic, and to bring elementary logic into fine with these developments.

With the first group the present work sympathizes in so far as it recognizes that there is some good in the tradition. But the attempt to simplify by omission is wholly unconvincing. Continued study has increased the detail of the science, and has shown that the traditional formulas presented only a partial view of the processes of thought. The second group is right in demanding a vitalizing of the subject. But its tendency to minimize the formal aspect of reflection has made it impossible for it to do justice to mathematical science. The third, in remaining true to form, has overdone the mathematical aspect and tended to dry bones, forbidding in their barrenness of substance. Even those who have tried to put . . .

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