Dr Tom Kerns


Reflections About Logic


Interwoven amongst our study of logic we will now and then read an essay about the enterprise of doing logic, what its value is or isn't, and what exactly it is, as an enterprise. For example, here are two opposite evaluations of Logic from two different authors:

  1. A definition of Logic, by Charles Kettering:

    “Logic is a definite and organized way of going wrong with certainty and conviction.”

  2. From the Discourses of Epictetus:

    When one of his  audience said, “Convince me that logic is useful,” he said,

    “Would you have me prove it?”
    “Well, then, must I not use a demonstrative argument?”
    And when the other agreed, he said, How then shall you know if I impose upon you?  And when the man had no answer, he said, You see how you yourself admit that logic is necessary, if without it you are not even able to learn  this much — whether it is necessary or not.

Two very different estimations of the value of logic, yes?

You will read four short essays this quarter, write out answers to Study Questions for each essay, post your answers into the classroom and then discuss each other's answers to those questions.

Essays we will read

  1. Francis Bacon assignment
  2. C S Peirce assignment
  3. Alfred North Whitehead assignment
  4. Lewis Carroll assignment