The Present State Of Logical Science -- By: Henry N. Day

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 042:165 (Jan 1885)
Article: The Present State Of Logical Science
Author: Henry N. Day


The Present State Of Logical Science

Prof. Henry N. Day

Logical science is one of the oldest of the sciences, and yet seems still far from having completed its growth. More than two thousand years ago it had attained a distinctly scientific form, and has been most diligently cultivated through all the succeeding ages; and yet, not since the days of Aristotle has it experienced a more fostering care or a larger development than in the last half-century. It is to-day in its freshest vigor and promises to itself in the future its maturest life.

It claims to be the chiefest of the sciences as well as also the parent and lawgiver of them all,— “ars artium et scientia scientiarum.” On the ground of either of these claims,— as first and highest in nature and rank, or as, by its own right, lawgiver and judge over all the realms of knowledge,— there may reasonably be demanded of it, that it should be, in fact, the most perfect of all, and so the worthy exemplar of all. It has not yet shown itself able to meet this demand. Of a perfect science nothing less than this can be accepted, that it should first distinctly and firmly grasp its subject matter, and then unfold it, in exact method, to completeness, both in its intrinsic and also in its extrinsic attributes; observing everywhere the relationships of the parts to one another and to the whole in their organic connection and dependence.

It is proposed in the present discussion to show that the more prevalent logics of the present day, with all the fostering work that has been bestowed on the science in recent times, fall deplorably short of this standard of a perfect science. The neglect of the study, although in-

disputably the best of all means of intellectual discipline as well as the validating instrument and the surest guide in all scientific pursuits, may reasonably be attributed to this imperfection in the form in which it presents itself. But merely destructive criticism is not our present aim. On the contrary, our discussion will be conducted rather in the spirit and the interest of logical construction. Our method will be to take two leading works as the best representatives of the most recent logical literature, with free reference, however, to other writers in this field of study, and indicate the more important defects in their presentations of the science, with the obvious improvements which the examination may suggest as requisite to be made in the science for its greater perfection. The two works thus selected are believed to be the most authoritative expositions of logical thought in Great Britain and in Germany. The one is Professor Jevons’ “Principles of Science: a Treatise on Logic and Scientific Method”; th...

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