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The books is available in public domain here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15114

In the introductory chapter Boole explains what the book contains:

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 it is 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 apriori, 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.

My question is about this line:

"If these are questions which admit of doubt, that doubt is not to be met by an endeavour to settle the point of dispute apriori, but by directing the attention of the objector to the evidence of actual laws, by referring him to an actual science."

By "actual science" does he mean any established scientific discipline ( e.g. Physics, Chemistry), or does he mean the science of logic?

I reckon this question could also be asked on the English Language forum but I'm putting it here as more members here might be familiar with the book, context of the time period.

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Boole understood logic as the science of the mind investigating the "laws of thought".

According to Boole, logic is a sort of "mathematical psychology" dealing with the human capability of (mental) symbolic manipulation.

See :

See also into Laws of Thought, page 6, the reference to the :

"close analogy between the operations of the mind in general reasoning and its operations in the particular science of Algebra".

  • thanks! so by "but by directing the attention of the objector to the evidence of actual laws, by referring him to an actual science." does he mean that the doubter should be referred to a work like his own book (or something similar), but not any other established science (like Chemistry) where the applications of logic is demonstrated. former or later? – Lavya May 6 '15 at 10:40
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    @Lavya He means that he sees no point philosophising about whether laws of the mind exist or not. It's better to try and work out what they are and any evidence for them i.e. to do the science. As doing the science is the point of the book, he's saying that the rest of the book will answer the question (or not). – Alex May 6 '15 at 11:16

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