Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

G. E. Morris

Marde 19,1885

A familiar Exposition

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]




I HAVE called this book, LOGIC FOR THE MILLION. By this title, I mean that here the Art of Reasoning is explained in such a way as to be readily understood even by those men and women who have not had the advantage of a literary education.

The imperfection of the existing works on Logic, as means of popular instruction, is thus stated by Mr. Blakey :

“There seem to be two principal causes which render modern systems of logic both tiresome and comparatively useless; and these are, first, the employment of a vast number of the old scholastic terms and phrases, derived from logicians of former times, which throw over the art such an air of difficulty and perplexity, that the reader, before he has well entered upon the study of his subjeet, is worn out by the mere pressure of uncouth words, and is glad to make his retreat from such an irksome task with all possible expedition. The second cause, and one which is by far the most important, is, that our common books of logic may be said rather to treat of metaphysical systems than to unfold those rules, precepts, and suggestions, which are instrumental in directing the judgment to right conclusions on the various important subjects with which it is necessary that man should be well acquainted. The generality of the books here alluded to, have been founded upon the principle, that before we could exercise our reasoning powers with energy and effect,-before we could form right notions, and give method and consistency to our conceptions,—it was absolutely necessary that we should be expert metaphysicians, should be acquainted with all the mental speculations of the day, and intimately and familiarly conversant with the anatomy and physiology of our own minds. But this, I apprehend, is a radical error in our common treatises on logic.”

The first cause refers to scholastic logic, the second to metaphysical logic.

The advocates of the scholastic system of logic still contend for the use of a technical language. It has been a great hindrance to popular education, that as soon as any branch of knowledge is exalted into a science, it is surrounded by a number of uncouth words, the understanding of which is more difficult than the understanding of the science. The practice of using hard words to denote common things was ridiculed in “Butler's Hudibras,” with reference to the rhetoricians, and the ridicule will apply with equal justice to the scholastic logicians :

“For rhetoric, he could not ope’
His mouth but out there flew a trope ;
And when he happen'd to break off
l' the middle of his speech, or cough,
He'd hard words ready to show why,
And tell what rules he did it by;
Else, when with greatest art he spoke,
You 'd think he talk'd like other folk

For all the rhetorician's rules

Teach nothing but to name his tools.Metaphysical logic consists in the knowledge of the nature of those powers of the mind which are exercised in

« EelmineJätka »