Course Content (Syllabus)
The Port-Royal Logic, a work by Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole published anonymously in French in 1662 under the title L'art de penser, and translated into Latin in 1700 as Ars cogitandi, is crucial for the evolution and history of logic in modern times. Differentiating themselves from the scholastic and neo-scholastic Aristotelian tradition, according to which logic culminates in syllogistic reasoning (and, particularly, in the apodeictic syllogism), the authors, who lived in the convent of Port-Royal in Paris, transferred the center of logic from the syllogism (ratiocinatio) to judgment (iudicium), considering that logical faults occur more frequently at the level of the mental operation of judgment, which precedes the mental operation of reasoning. Moreover, as they believed that judgment is formed according the composition or division of concepts that mentally precede judgment, the two French philosophers attempted to establish the right judgment upon the concept as a clear and distinct idea (idea clara et distincta) in accordance with Descartes’ teachings. Although the structure of the Port-Royal Logic presupposes the distinction between logica naturalis, which can be mistaken. and logica artificialis, which can be free from error, thereby confusing logic with theory of knowledge, it is a prominent example of the logic of modern times, which renewed traditional logic with the help of a Cartesian theory of knowledge. It was overcome only in the end of the nineteenth century and in the beginning of the twentieth century thanks to the mathematical logic of Gottlob Frege and of Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead.
Logic, Theory of knowledge, Port-Royal, Descartes, Aristotle