Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

Logic in Us In a Logic suitably reformed on this basis, this truth essence. must first ^ foremost foe proclaimed, and all its consequences deduced: the logical fact, the only logical fact, is the concept, the universal, the spirit that forms, and in so far as it forms, the universal. And if by induction be understood, as sometimes it has been, the formation of universals, and by deduction their verbal development, then it is clear that true Logic can be nothing but inductive Logic. But since by the word " deduction " has been more frequently understood the special processes of mathematics, and the word "induction" those of the natural sciences, it will be best to avoid both words and say that true Logic is Logic of the concept. The Logic of the concept, while employing a method which is both induction and deduction, will employ neither exclusively, that is, it will employ the speculative method which is intrinsic to it.

The concept, the universal, considered abstractly in itself, is inexpressible. No word is proper to it. So true is this, that the logical concept remains always the same, notwithstanding the variation of verbal forms. In respect to the concept, expression is a simple sign or indication. There must be an expression, it cannot be absent; but what it is to be, this or that, is determined by the historical and psychological conditions of the individual who is speaking. The quality of the expression "v is not deducible from the nature of the concept. There does not exist a true (logical) sense of words. The true sense of words is that which is conferred upon them on each occasion by the person forming a concept. Distinction be- This being so, the only truly logical (that is, aestheticological) propositions, the only rigorously logical judgements, must be those whose proper and sole content is the determination of a concept. These propositions or judgements are definitions. Science itself is nothing but a collection of definitions, unified in a supreme definition; a system of concepts, or highest concept.

It is therefore necessary (at least as a preliminary) to exclude from Logic all those propositions which do not affirm universals. Narrative judgements, not less than those termed non-enunciative by Aristotle, such as the expression of desires, are not properly logical judgements. They are either purely aesthetic propositions or historical propositions. "Peter is passing; it is raining to-day; I am sleepy; I want to read ": these and an infinity of propositions of the same kind are nothing but either a mere enclosing in words the impression of the fact that Peter is passing, of the falling rain, of my organism inclining to sleep, and of my will directed to reading, or an existential affirmation concerning those facts. They are expressions of the real or of the unreal, historicalimaginative or pure-imaginative; they are certainly not definitions of universals.

This exclusion cannot meet with great difficulties. It Syllogistic. is already almost an accomplished fact, and the only thing required is to render it explicit, decisive and coherent. But what is to be done with all that part of human thought called syllogistic, consisting of judgements and reasonings based upon concepts? What is syllogistic? Is it to be looked down upon with contempt, as something useless, as has so often been done by the humanists in their reaction against scholasticism, by absolute idealism, by the enthusiastic admiration of our times for the methods of observation and experiment of the natural sciences ?— Syllogistic, reasoning in forma, is not the discovery of truth; it is the art of expounding, debating, disputing with oneself and others. Proceeding from concepts already formed, from facts already observed, and appealing to the persistence of the true or of thought (such is the meaning of the laws of identity and contradiction), it infers consequences from those data, that is, it re-states what has already been discovered. Therefore, if it be an idem per idem from the point of view of invention, it is most efficacious in teaching and in exposition. To reduce affirmations to a syllogistic form is a way of controlling one's own thought and of criticizing the thought of others. It is easy to laugh at syllogizers, but, if syllogistic has been born and persists, it must have good reasons of its own. Satire on it can

concern only its abuses, such as the attempt to prove syllogistically questions of fact, observation and intuition, or the neglect of profound meditation and unprejudiced investigation of problems, in favour of syllogistic externality. And if so-called mathematical Logic can sometimes aid us in our attempt to remember with ease, rapidly to control the results of our own thought, let us welcome this form of syllogistic also, anticipated by Leibnitz among others and again attempted by some in our own days.

But precisely because syllogistic is the art of exposition and debate, its theory cannot hold the first place in a philosophical Logic, thus usurping that belonging to the doctrine of the concept, which is the central and dominating doctrine, to which everything logical in syllogistic is reducible, without leaving a residuum (relations of concepts, subordination, co-ordination, identification and so on). Nor must it ever be forgotten that . ( concept and (logical) judgement and syllogism are not | in the same line. The first alone is the logical fact, the second and third are the forms in which the first manifests itself. These, in so far as they are forms, can only be examined aesthetically (grammatically), and in so far as they possess logical content, only by ignoring the forms themselves and passing to the doctrine of the concept.

Logical This confirms the truth of the ordinary remark to

^and'asthaic tne er^ect that he who reasons ill, also speaks and writes truth. ill, that exact logical analysis is the basis of good ex

pression. This truth is a tautology, for to reason well is in fact to express oneself well, because the expression is the intuitive possession of one's own logical thought. The principle of contradiction itself is at bottom nothing but the aesthetic principle of coherence. It may be maintained that it is possible to write and to speak exceedingly well, as it is also possible to reason well though starting from erroneous concepts; that some, though lacking the acuteness that makes a great discoverer, are nevertheless exceedingly lucid writers; because to write well depends upon having a clear intuition of one's own /

thought, even if it be erroneous; not of its scientific, but

, of its aesthetic truth, which indeed is the same thing as writing well. A philosopher like Schopenhauer can imagine that art is a representation of the Platonic ideas. This doctrine is scientifically false, yet he may develop this false knowledge in excellent prose, aesthetically most true. But we have already replied to these objections, when observing that at that precise point where a speaker or a writer enunciates an ill-thought concept, he is at the same time a bad speaker and a bad writer, although he may afterwards recover himself in the many other parts of his thought which contain true propositions not connected with the preceding error, and therefore lucid expressions following upon confused expressions.

All researches as to the forms of judgements and of Reformed logic. syllogisms, their conversions and their various relations, which still encumber treatises on Logic, are therefore destined to diminish, to be transformed, to be converted into something else. The doctrine of the concept and of the organism of concepts, of definition, of system, of philosophy and the various sciences, and the like, will occupy the field and alone will constitute true and proper Logic.

Those who first had some suspicion of the intimate connexion between ^Esthetic and Logic and conceived /Esthetic as a Logic of sensible knowledge were peculiarly addicted to applying logical catogories to the new knowledge, talking of (esthetic concepts, (esthetic judgements, (esthetic syllogisms, and so on. We who are less superstitious as regards the permanence of the traditional Logic of the schools, and better informed as to the nature of .Esthetic, do not recommend the application of Logic to ^Esthetic, but the liberation of Logic from aesthetic forms. These have given rise to non-existent forms or categories of Logic, due to the adoption of altogether arbitrary and ill-considered distinctions.

Logic thus reformed will still be formal Logic; it will study the true form or activity of thought, the concept,

excluding individual and particular concepts. The old Logic is ill called formal; it would be better to call it verbal or formalistic. Formal Logic will drive out formalistic Logic. To attain this object, it will not be necessary to have recourse, as some have done, to a real or material Logic, which is no longer a science of thought, but thought itself in action; not only a Logic, but the whole of Philosophy, in which Logic is also included. The science of /thought (Logic) is that of the concept, as that of imaginaition (^Esthetic) is that of expression. The well-being of both sciences lies in exactly carrying out in every particular the distinction between the two domains.

Note to the Fourth Italian Edition.—The observations contained in this chapter on Logic, which are not all of them clear or accurate, should be clarified and corrected by means of the further treatment of the theme in the second volume of the Philosophy of the Spirit, dedicated to Logic, where the distinction between logical and historical propositions is again examined and their synthetic unity demonstrated.

« IndietroContinua »