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It is an art, in so far as it is directly and immediately related to performance, namely, to the acts of the mind.
As the fine arts direct the painter or the sculptor in the actions by which he aims at producing a beautiful picture or a beautiful statue, so logic directs the thinker in the actions by which he aims at attaining truth, or expounding truth which he has attained.
In material logic, on the contrary, we inquire into the content of the judgments or premises and endeavour to determine whether they are true or false.
Material logic was styled by the old writers "major logic", "critical logic", or simply" criticism".
The question whether logic is a science or an art is now generally decided by asserting that it is both.
It is a science, in so far as it not merely formulates rules for right thinking, but deduces those rules from general principles which are based on the nature of mind and of truth.
In recent times the word epistemology (science of knowledge ), meaning an inquiry into the value of knowledge, has come into general use, and designates that portion of philosophy which inquires into the objective value of our concepts, the import and value of judgments and reasoning, the criteria of truth, the nature of evidence, certitude, etc.
Whenever this new term is adopted there is a tendency to restrict the term logic to mean merely formal logic.
It will be sufficient to mention and discuss a few typical ones. Port Royal logic The Port Royal logic ("L'Art de penser", published 1662) defines logic as "the art of using reason well in the acquisition of the knowledge of things, both for one's own instruction and that of others." More briefly "Logic is the art of reasoning." The latter is Arnauld's definition.When we add two and two, and pronounce the result to be four, we are dealing with a process of addition in its formal aspect, without paying attention to the content.The process is valid whatever the content may be, whether the "two and two "refer to books, horses, trees, or circles.Validity, clearness, consistency, and order are logical qualities of thought, goodness and evil are ethical qualities.Finally, logic is not to be confounded with rhetoric.
From the time of Cicero, however, the word logic is used almost without exception to designate this science. It is a curious fact that, although logic is the science which treats of definition, logicians are not agreed as to how logic itself should be defined.