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Logic in the 17th and 18th centuries

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-Y034-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 18, 2024, from

Article Summary

Logic in the seventeenth century was characterized by attempts to reconcile older viewpoints, such as those of Ramus and Melanchthon, and by criticism of the nature and scope of traditional logic. F. Bacon indicated induction, rather than deduction, as the object of logic, thus opening the way for a logic of the empirical sciences. Descartes proposed to replace the complicated precepts of old logic by simple rules of method. However, even the authors of the Port-Royal Logic, who were influenced by Descartes, could not follow him all the way and continued to teach traditional doctrines, albeit with a new attention to the doctrine of ideas. Other logicians, following Locke, tried to modernize logic by concentrating on an analysis of human cognitive faculties, of the idea–word relation and of other than certain knowledge, thus broadening the scope of logic so as to account for probability. Another suggestion for the improvement of logic came from those who thought that logic should assume mathematics as an example either for its axiomatic-deductive method or for the inventive techniques of algebra. The last of these suggestions prompted research in the area of logical calculi. But this kind of research benefited from the doctrines devised by non-mathematically oriented authors who thus provided the logical framework in which algebraic techniques would be tried. This general background accounts not only for the exceptional logic of Leibniz, but also for some logical calculi worked out in the eighteenth century.

Citing this article:
Capozzi, Mirella. Logic in the 17th and 18th centuries, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-Y034-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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