Historical Reprints Science Laws of Thought : MATHEMATICAL THEORIES OF LOGIC AND PROBABILITIES

Laws of Thought : MATHEMATICAL THEORIES OF LOGIC AND PROBABILITIES

Laws of Thought : MATHEMATICAL THEORIES OF LOGIC AND PROBABILITIES
Catalog # SKU1444
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name George Boole
 
$29.95
Quantity

Description

AN INVESTIGATION OF
The Laws of Thought


ON WHICH ARE FOUNDED
THE MATHEMATICAL THEORIES OF
LOGIC AND PROBABILITIES.

By GEORGE BOOLE, LL. D.


The design of the following treatise is to investigate the fundamental laws of those operations of the mind by which reasoning is performed; to give expression to them in the symbolical language of a Calculus, and upon this foundation to establish the science of Logic and construct its method; to make that method itself the basis of a general method for the application of the mathematical doctrine of Probabilities; and, finally, to collect from the various elements of truth brought to view in the course of these inquiries some probable intimations concerning the nature and constitution of the human mind.

Excerpt:

That this design is not altogether a novel one it is almost needless to remark, and it is well known that to its two main practical divisions of Logic and Probabilities a very considerable share of the attention of philosophers has been directed. In its ancient and scholastic form, indeed, the subject of Logic stands almost exclusively associated with the great name of Aristotle. As it was presented to ancient Greece in the partly technical, partly metaphysical disquisitions of the Organon, such, with scarcely any essential change, it has continued to the present day.

The stream of original inquiry has rather been directed towards questions of general philosophy, which, though they have arisen among the disputes of the logicians, have outgrown their origin, and given to successive ages of speculation their peculiar bent and character. The eras of Porphyry and Proclus, of Anselm and Abelard, of Ramus, and of Descartes, together with the final protests of Bacon and Locke, rise up before the mind as examples of the remoter influences of the study upon the course of human thought, partly in suggesting topics fertile of discussion, partly in provoking remonstrance against its own undue pretensions.

The history of the theory of Probabilities, on the other hand, has presented far more of that character of steady growth which belongs to science. In its origin the early genius of Pascal,-in its maturer stages of development the most recondite of all the mathematical speculations of Laplace,-were directed to its improvement; to omit here the mention of other names scarcely less distinguished than these.

As the study of Logic has been remarkable for the kindred questions of Metaphysics to which it has given occasion, so that of Probabilities also has been remarkable for the impulse which it has bestowed upon the higher departments of mathematical science.

Each of these subjects has, moreover, been justly regarded as having relation to a speculative as well as to a practical end.

To enable us to deduce correct inferences from given premises is not the only object of Logic; nor is it the sole claim of the theory of Probabilities that it teaches us how to establish the business of life assurance on a secure basis; and how to condense whatever is valuable in the records of innumerable observations in astronomy, in physics, or in that field of social inquiry which is fast assuming a character of great importance. Both these studies have also an interest of another kind, derived from the light which they shed upon the intellectual powers.

They instruct us concerning the mode in which language and number serve as instrumental aids to the processes of reasoning; they reveal to us in some degree the connexion between different powers of our common intellect; they set before us what, in the two domains of demonstrative and of probable knowledge, are the essential standards of truth and correctness,-standards not derived from without, but deeply founded in the constitution of the human faculties.

These ends of speculation yield neither in interest nor in dignity, nor yet, it may be added, in importance, to the practical objects, with the pursuit of which they have been historically associated. To unfold the secret laws and relations of those high faculties of thought by which all beyond the merely perceptive knowledge of the world and of ourselves is attained or matured, is an object which does not stand in need of commendation to a rational mind.

But although certain parts of the design of this work have been entertained by others, its general conception, its method, and, to a considerable extent, its results, are believed to be original. For this reason I shall offer, in the present chapter, some preparatory statements and explanations, in order that the real aim of this treatise may be understood, and the treatment of its subject facilitated.

It is designed, in the first place, to investigate the fundamental laws of those operations of the mind by which reasoning is performed. It is unnecessary to enter here into any argument to prove that the operations of the mind are in a certain real sense subject to laws, and that a science of the mind is therefore possible. If these are questions which admit of doubt, that doubt is not to be met by an endeavour to settle the point of dispute `a priori, but by directing the attention of the objector to the evidence of actual laws, by referring him to an actual science. And thus the solution of that doubt would belong not to the introduction to this treatise, but to the treatise itself. Let the assumption be granted, that a science of the intellectual powers is possible, and let us for a moment consider how the knowledge of it is to be obtained.


Softcover, 8" x 10.5", 330+ pages Illustrated

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