Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Logique a la Francaise

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Logique a la Francaise

Article excerpt

The excerpt on French logic that follows comes from Polly Platt's French or Foe? Getting the Most out of Visiting, Living and Working in France, 2nd ed. (Cincinnati. Krehbiel, 1998), pp. 204-20S. The editors recognize, please understand, that [Frenchman.sub.1] is not [Frenchman.sub.2]. Nevertheless, we wonder whether the French on average, or French engineers, as Platt's comments suggest, display more theory-to-event identification (projection of theory to events) than, say, the average American or Briton. Has anyone studied this? Do the French (or other) readers of this journal have any inside information they can share with us? What about other semantic habits and other national groups (Germans, Dutch, etc.)? If you have any reliable information on such matters, or even strong opinions backed by good anecdotal information, let us hear from you.

LOGIC is one of the key words in French. Newspapers drag it into headlines about almost anything. During the Gulf War, there was constant mention of la logique de guerre (the logic of war) and la logique de paix (the logic of peace). French people, if they want to disagree with you politely, will often say, "Ce n'est pas logique." ("It's not logical.")

Their logic, the mode of reasoning of the French mind, is known as deductive. From a given principle, or a theory, they proceed to its illustration in the "real world" with facts. I put quotes around "real" and "world" because for English speakers, "facts" make up the real world, and they can't imagine any other. Americans and Britons are inductive reasoners. Get the facts and then we'll talk. Thus, their logic is to work from the facts (concrete) to the theory (abstract). …

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