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Analysis of Mr. Mill's System of Logic
Mr. Mill's conclusions on the true province and method of Logic have a high substantive value, independent even of the arguments and illustrations by which they are supported; and these conclusions may be adequately, and, it is believed, with much practical utility, embodied in an epitome. The processes of reasoning on which they depend, can, on the other hand, be represented in outline only. But it is hoped that the substance of every paragraph, necessary for the due comprehension of the several steps by which the results have been reached, will be here found at all events suggested.
The author may be allowed to add, that Mr. Mill, before publication, expressed a favorable opinion of the manner in which the work had been executed. Without such commendation the volume would hardly have been offered to the public.
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 â€“ 8 May 1873), English philosopher, political theorist, political economist, civil servant and Member of Parliament, was an influential British Classical liberal thinker of the 19th century whose works on liberty justified freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham, although his conception of it was very different from Bentham's. Hoping to remedy the problems found in an inductive approach to science, such as confirmation bias, he clearly set forth the premises of falsification as the key component in the scientific method.
No adequate definition is possible till the properties of the thing to be defined are known. Previously we can define only the scope of the inquiry. Now, Logic has been considered as both the science of reasoning, i.e. the analysis of the mental process when we reason, and the art of reasoning, i.e. the rules for the process. The term reasoning, however, is not wide enough. Reasoning means either syllogising, or (and this is its truer sense) the drawing inferences from assertions already admitted. But the Aristotelian or Scholastic logicians included in Logic terms and propositions, and the Port Royal logicians spoke of it as equivalent to the art of thinking. Even popularly, accuracy of classification, and the extent of command over premises, are thought clearer signs of logical powers than accuracy of deduction. On the other hand, the definition of logic as a 'science treating of the operations of the understanding in the search of truth,' though wide enough, would err through including truths known from intuition; for, though doubtless many seeming intuitions are processes of inference, questions as to what facts are real intuitions belong to Metaphysics, not to Logic.
Logic is the science, not of Belief, but of Proof, or Evidence. Almost all knowledge being matter of inference, the fields of Logic and of Knowledge coincide; but the two differ in so far that Logic does not find evidence, but only judges of it. All science is composed of data, and conclusions thence: Logic shows what relations must subsist between them. All inferential knowledge is true or not, according as the laws of Logic have been obeyed or not. Logic is Bacon's Ars Artium, the science of sciences. Genius sometimes employs laws unconsciously; but only genius: as a rule, the advances of a science have been ever found to be preceded by a fuller knowledge of the laws of Logic applicable to it. Logic, then, may be described as the science of the operations of the understanding which aid in the estimation of evidence. It includes not only the process of proceeding from the known to the unknown, but, as auxiliary thereto, Naming, Definition, and Classification. Conception, Memory, and other like faculties, are not treated by it; but it presupposes them. Our object, therefore, must be to analyse the process of inference and the subsidiary operations, besides framing canons to test any given evidence. We need not, however, carry the analysis beyond what is necessary for the practical uses of Logic; for one step in analysis is good without a second, and our purpose is simply to see the difference between good and ill processes of inference. Minuter analysis befits Metaphysics; though even that science, when stepping beyond the interrogation of our consciousness, or rather of our memory, is, as all other sciences, amenable to Logic.
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