The value of logic

logicThis is going to be short and rather self-explanatory, with no additional commentary on my part necessary at all. Here is the full transcription of Epictetus’ Discourses, II.25, a gem to keep in mind for future use:

“When one of his audience said, ‘Convince me that logic is useful,’ he said, Would you have me demonstrate it?

‘Yes.’

Well, then, must I not use a demonstrative argument? And, when the other agreed, he said, How then shall you know if I impose upon you?

And when the man had no answer, he said, You see how you yourself admit that logic is necessary, if without it you are not even able to learn this much–whether it is necessary or not.”

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Categories: Epictetus

3 replies

  1. Logic is indeed how human beings communicate. Logic enables debate, and debate is the equivalent of sex, among ideas. It generates entirely new species. However post Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell, logic has progressed much.

    Modern studies in logic show formal logic can be pretty much anything. Formal systems contradicting the most cherished axioms have been found to be consistent.
    So “logic”, per se, is not much of a constraint. The only constraint is to keep on talking.
    The Ancient Greeks would have been very surprised.

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  2. I just noticed that the book Words of the Ancient Wise (https://archive.org/details/wordsofancientwi00rous), which contains texts from Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius for each day of the year, has this same entry for February 23. Just a funny coincidence (or is it?).

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  3. Brxi,

    “Just a funny coincidence (or is it?)”

    Yup, entirely coincidental. Didn’t know about that site, thanks for the link.

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