Philosophic Thought in France and the United States: Essays Representing Major Trends in Contemporary French and American Philosophy

By Marvin Farber | Go to book overview

LOGIC IN FRANCE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Marcel Boll* and Jacques Reinhart**

French-speaking philosophers are fortunate in the possession of an exceptionally rich and reliable reference book: The Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie1 published by AndrU+0E9 Lalande and constantly kept up to date since it was started ( July, 1902). In it the article on Logic testifies to the fact that there is a constant tendency in France to take this word in a wider meaning than anywhere else. Thus, under this same heading, comes formal logic as well as general logic. This is probably characteristic of the French way of thinking: never to have lost sight--even while studying (in formal logic) the abstract processes of reasoning, and however reminiscent of algebra the way of formulating them might be--of the fact that this reasoning must, in the end, contribute to the further development of science; it being admitted that the analysis (by general logic) of the methods peculiar to each science opens the way for new emendations of and a more searching inquiry into the formal structure of reasoning. It must be understood that it is out of the question to limit the scope of general logic to this kind of analysis, as it has at the same time the purpose of forming a general estimate of the value and aims of science, an estimate which in its turn will not fail to influence all views on the further development of formal logic.

Consequently, in France, formal logic has hardly ever escaped the effects of a critical point of view which has probably hampered the conception of great systematizations comparable to those of Russell and Hilbert--the weaknesses or shortcomings of which did not escape the notice

____________________
*
Born in 1886. Early in life, devoted himself to teaching and research. Author of numerous works on natural science, mathematics, psychology, epistemology, and logic ( Manuel de logique scientifique, second edition, 1948). Editor of the French translations of the manifestos and declarations of the Viennese school of thinkers (Hermann).
**
Born in 1918. Found his attention especially attracted toward the axiomatization of mathematics and has published in collaboration: La conquête de la vU+0E9ritU+0E9 ( 1947), Les U+0E9tapes de la logique ( second edition, 1948), the chapter dealing with logic in Les grands courants de la pensພ mathU+0E9matique ( 1948), and is now preparing a comprehensive treatise on logic.
1.

Presses Universitaires, fifth edition, Paris, 1947.

-181-

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