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The obvious reading for modern formal logic, is Russell's "On Denoting". It shows in relatively straightforward ways what the new logic can do.

Malcolm Keating

I realize the OP is probably thinking Western history of logic here, but as luck would have it, this week's History of Philosophy without any Gaps (India) focuses on the Logic or Nyāya school of Indian philosophy: http://historyofphilosophy.net/nyaya-sutra

The podcast website has a list of readings and the entry for Logic in Classical India is useful, too (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-india/SEP). Anand Vaidya has argued on the APA blog (http://blog.apaonline.org/2016/02/15/the-inclusion-problem-in-critical-thinking-the-case-of-indian-philosophy) and some recent publications for the value of including Indian reasoning in introductory courses, and has some resources there. You don't need to be an expert in Indian thought to introduce an excerpt of debate from the Milinda's Questions or the Nyāya-sūtra on what good debate is like.

Daniel Brunson

This is a little large/pricey to use as a supplemental text for students, but looks like a good teacher resource for context and reading suggestions:

If A, Then B: How the World Discovered Logic
Michael Shenefelt and Heidi White


(N.B.: I have not read it yet.)

Jc Beall

Incorporating the history of logic into logic courses is an excellent idea. John Burgess (Princeton) and I (UConn) recently wrote the Oxford Bibliographies entry for /Logic/. (It's not up yet but will be soon.) We do *not* discuss the history of logic, but we do discuss the wide range of topics in logic, which might itself be of interest to your students. I've found that by presenting logic as a live and still-wide-open field (with debates on excluded middle, non-contradiction, 'free logic' and 'non-existence', and much more), students are naturally more interested in engaging with the subject as something to which they might in fact contribute. To take just one example: even Aristotle, in the Western tradition, thought that (e.g.) non-contradiction was not obviously a logical principle (and so he advanced distinctions and arguments for non-contradiction principles). And while I'm no scholar on the matter, some Bhuddist logicians (i.e., theorists about what logically follows from what) advocated the logical possibility of both 'gluts' (both True and False) and also 'gaps' (neither True nor False). It is only recently, with Frege and the like, where we get "classical logic" as "the standard". Students would be well served to learn that this particular theory of logic (i.e., the "classical" theory of logical consequence) is both very new and fairly controversial.

I'd be really interested to see a good supplement with historical texts that mark the turns in logic. If anyone finds (or makes) a list suitable for students, I'd be interested in seeing it.

Matt LaVine

First, I’d like to second Malcolm’s suggestion to bring in some thought from Indian thinkers. This can be done in relation to paraconsistent logics (a la Graham Priest) or logicism very easily. The very first page of Frege’s Grundlagen invites this, in fact. Here, Frege says “In arithmetic, if only because many of its methods and concepts originated in India, it has been the tradition to reason less strictly than in geometry, which was in the main developed by the Greeks”. He would do well to remember the contributions of the Hindu-Arabic numerals (invented by various Indian mathematicians, but systematically defended and popularized by al-Khwarizmi) to the rigor of the study of arithmetic.

I’ve also brought the following historical topics/issues/people into my Intro Logic courses:

(1) Chinese School of Names—to discuss reductio and intension/extension distinction

(2) al-Khwarizmi—to discuss issues mentioned above, but also the role of algebra and algorithms in logic

(3) ibn al-Haytham—to discuss the role of induction and scientific method in logic

(4) Aristotle, al-Kindi, Dedekind, Cantor—to discuss the concept of infinity

(5) Anything Peirce wrote in 1878—to discuss the applications and scope of logic

(6) Susan Stebbing—to discuss her “Thinking to Some Purpose” and the point of studying logic.

(7) Ruth Marcus—to discuss her “Moral Dilemmas and Consistency” and, again, how we can put formal logical work to use in our real lives

(8) Alan Turing—again, to discuss putting logic to use

I’ve got lots of other ideas on how to do this. If you have interest in discussing more, please just send me an e-mail to mattlavi@buffalo.edu.

Sara L. Uckelman

So my book What is Logic? is still being drafted, but it is chock full of history of logic, and will only include more as it is worked on: http://community.dur.ac.uk/s.l.uckelman/whatislogic/

I'm happy to share the exercises on Aristotelian and Stoic logic that I gave my intro students this term just gone.

Lisa Miracchi

Emily Elizabeth Constance Jones, 1890, Elements of Logic as a Science of Propositions, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.

Adriane Rini

There is a book coming out soon from Bloomsbury: "History of Philosophical and Formal Logic" which is aimed at students without a logic background. Check with Marianna Antonutti Marfori and Alex Malpass who are editing it.


Thanks so much everyone--I'm the source of the original request, and now I've got a bunch of helpful stuff to look over! Much appreciated!

Kenneth Pearce

The most important early modern Western logic text is Arnauld and Nicole, Logic, or the Art of Thinking (also known as the Port-Royal Logic). There is a translation by Jill Buroker in the Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy. It's relatively short, and contains some good discussion of the nature of logic and the point of studying it. (Their conception of logic is not the same as post-Fregean conceptions; as the subtitle 'the art of thinking' suggests, they think of logic as more like normative epistemology. But the discussions of how logic can improve one's thinking are still quite helpful.)

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