Origins Of Logic

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The Origins of Logic Our modern view of the word logic has taken on many forms and meanings over the centuries. According to medieval tradition, the Greek philosopher Parmenides invented logic while living in Egypt in the 5th century BC. The story is pure legend, but it does reflect the fact that Parmenides was the first philosopher to use an extended argument for his views, rather than merely proposing his vision of reality. In ancient Greece such philosophers as Gorgias, Hippias, Prodicus, and Protagoras (5th century BC) all attacked a thesis by means of argument and reasons. Their ideas set a precedent for future great thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle (470-322 BC). Aristotle introduced the use of variables into his logic, while his contemporaries illustrated principles by the use of examples. He generalized that "all x are y; all y are z; therefore, all x are z".

Aristotle also believed that any logical argument could be reduced to a standard form, known as a syllogism (a sequence of three propositions: two premises and the conclusion).

The Greeks called their thought process logos, a divine Word, which expressed inward thought, calculation, and discussion. Logos was eventually adopted in three passages of Johannine writings of the New Testament as a designation of Jesus Christ. It was further employed by Christian theologians, especially those who were versed in Greek philosophy, as a title of the Second Person of the Trinity. The early ideas and roots of our modern logic were not isolated to the Greeks. Possessing a similar meaning, the Latin word logica was adapted, and in the 13th century, the French term logique was derived from its Latin root. Logique eventually transposed itself into Middle English, and thus into our modern vocabulary.

The meaning of logic has...