A textbook of logic - PDF (1915) by Arthur Ernest Davies

 A textbook of logic 

A textbook of logic
 A textbook of logic 


From Introduction:

The time has not arrived when it is possible or desirable to write a textbook of logic for elementary students which departs vary considerably from the course that has been defined by university requirements in various parts of the world. Both in Eu- rope and in America instruction in this subject has to a large extent been controlled by what may be called the classical tradition of which Aristotle and Mill are the two fountain heads. 

In some quarters this fact has operated as a hardship, and has led to open, if rather one-sided, criticism of the subject's educational usefulness, on the one hand, and has directed attention to and aroused interest in the real and supposed defects of the traditional logical doctrine, on the other.

The position both of those who maintain the conservative attitude, and of those who would substitute for the old some new kind of logic, is capable of defence up to a certain point, and there is no doubt that the stirring of the academic waters on this subject will result at some time in larger freedom in the choice of the material and methods of logical instruction, and to that extent will reduce the possibility of attributing to the subject the imperfections of temper and understanding of those who teach it.

It seems, therefore, that for some time to come logic will continue, in the main, to be traditional, and that books of logic will have to conform to the requirements that are determined by that fact. But there are all sorts and degrees of conformity, and I confess to a liking for that kind and degree which is not inconsistent with the exercise of the largest liberty of one's academic conscience. It would not be surprising, consequently, if it were discovered that I had allowed the present situation in logic to sit lightly upon me, and that, where it seemed desirable, I had departed in method and doctrine from traditional views. 

It is I believe in some such way as this, rather than in assuming a critical, not to say captious, attitude toward the whole of traditional logic that the best interests both of the subject and of those who study it can be advanced. It is hardly necessary to say that the present book as a whole is the product of experience in teaching logic to elementary and advanced students of the subject, 

No one, I am convinced, should attempt to write a textbook in any subject, and certainly not in logic, who has not learned in the practical way of teaching it where its main difficulties are found, and who has not had an opportunity afforded him of devising methods of overcoming them. 

For, in the first place, a textbook must be written for the student, that is, for one who is presumed not to know anything about the subject of which it treats and, for him, the greatest service that it can render is to stimulate an interest in the problems with which it deals. But also it should be an instrument in the hands of the teacher which facilitates the task of teaching and adapts itself to the purposes that he may hold before himself and the class. However far my book may be from completely fulfilling these objects, I hope it has entirely escaped the capital offence of substituting itself, in the regard and thought of the student, for the teacher, and that it can not be accused of helping to degrade the teaching function to the mere level of hearing a recitation. 

I trust, therefore, that there are many sections that will be found to require the generative touch of the teacher, and that what in his hours of preparation may appear to the student as a valley of dry bones will be vitalized by the teacher into living forms in the hours spent in the lecture room. I have given to the judgment a prominence in the order of topics which I think is required for a true comprehension of the problem of logic, and have distinguished between it and the proposition for the purpose of indicating the class of questions which any attempt to express our judgments words quite naturally suggests.


If I am not mistaken, current controversy in philosophy would sometimes have been simplified, if indeed the occasion for it were not entirely removed, if it had been distinctly recognised that the judgment is not the proposition and that the problems of each are quite distinct.

 A close relationship must, of course, be recognised between judgments and propositions, but I am not without hope that the separate treatment of these topics will meet with the approval of my colleagues, although it results in place at the very beginning what must be regarded as one of the difficult chapters of the book. I do not believe that the judgment chapter is insuperably difficult; it is not more difficult, for example, than is the neuro-logical material to which the psychologist introduces his students at the very outset of their studies. 

And I may say that the effort has been made to present the subject in a manner as simple as is consistent with the real complexity and difficulty of the problem. With a simplification that falsifies a topic in the interest of easing the task of student or teacher, I have as little sympathy as I have with the reverse method of creating or magnifying difficulties for the good of the learner's academic soul. But we must cultivate in ourselves and in those we teach the ability to recognise a difficulty when and where it exists, and to face it with determination, and this requires from teacher or pupil neither apology nor praise.



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