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Specifically, I'm curious about the loci or categories that Agricola and later Ramus used extensively. Were they found to be problematic at a later time? If not, why not use them? They're so helpful in organizing information.


In order to clear up any possible misunderstanding, I'd like to explain my position a bit further. First of all, this question is not about syllogistic logic vs. symbolic logic. It's about what changed in the study of logic over the years and what we gained or lost from those changes:

  • Classical logic dealt with manipulation of ideas (logic as we know it), rhetoric and grammar.
  • Around the 1700s or so, the subject-predicate grammatical model was abandoned and grammar was no longer studied as a "logic" topic.
  • With the advent of symbolic logic, rhetoric lost its association with logic.

Humanistic logic was the first "movement" to rebel against the Classical (Aristotelian) model. It brought some very interesting developments in method and pedagogy. They grouped all that under the heading of logic, which we no longer do, but what I'm wondering is what do we have in its stead?

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    Mordechai, in situations like this you have to write the book! This seems to be be based on Aristotle's Topics, am I right? I didn't even know Aristotle wrote such a thing until this year. How do the logics you mention differ from Talmud studies/Hermeneutics as a way of evaluating testimony, evaluating tradition, resolving disputes? Maybe this is irrelevant to these logics. I suspect the main reason that these logics receive little attention is that many people simply don't know about them. – Gordon 15 mins ago delete
    – Gordon
    Nov 10 '17 at 14:44
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    My interest was piqued so I did a search and came up with this book: Ramus, method, and the decay of dialogue : from the art of discourse to the art of reason Author: Walter J Ong Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1983, ©1958.
    – Gordon
    Nov 10 '17 at 20:50
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    @Not_Here humanistic logic is much more than mathematical logic of today. Also your statement about modern logic superseding Aristotelian or Medieval logic isn't entirely correct. Russel in his essays has a much more nuanced approach and doesn't make such sweeping claims. I am also not convinced that the modern collection of various specialized logics is somehow pedagogically superior. In fact, my question stems from observing the shortcoming of today's methods of categorizing information, especially as it relates to the field of logic.
    – Mordechai
    Nov 12 '17 at 8:16
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    @Gordon Aristotle's Topics and Cicero's loci. Humanistic approach logic and rhetoric (which to be honest makes a lot of sense). You're right that today not many people know about this method, but up to almost beginning of the 20th century it had a huge influence in Europe's major learning centers. Look up Ramist and post-Ramist influence on higher education. Not only that, but later developments in cognitive psychology confirmed the validity of this approach, and yet somehow it disappeared off the radar...
    – Mordechai
    Nov 12 '17 at 8:28
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    @Not_Here I am not talking about symbol logic eclipsing syllogistic logic. Whatever my opinion may be about either of these systems, as you put it, "it's a matter of fact". My question is about loci/categories which aren't directly tied to syllogistic logic and have more to do with how we organize information. what do we have in its place?
    – Mordechai
    Nov 12 '17 at 13:36
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Humanistic logic was the first "movement" to rebel against the Classical (Aristotelian) model.

That's a flatly false statement. You contrast “syllogistic logic vs. symbolic logic.” but let's leave aside medieval workings in syllogistic logic (which themselves didn't take Aristotle at face value) and let's set aside – I'm going to say – developments from Boole onward (this is where most date symbolic logic from (though I don't, to be clear)) … Great … but what about,

… and what about what Peter Adamson calls,

Both pre-date Humanistic Logic (I'm going by this: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/cambridge-history-of-renaissance-philosophy/logic-and-language-humanistic-logic/6757301E47B772C0CA7D4162B2C984B4) which given that humanism started with Dante/Petrarch & co. was a Renaissance endeavour which we can agree is post-thirteenth century and most definitely post-Stoics.


As to your question. This quote from the SEP: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ramus/#LogiMeth

Logic, according to the Ramist and Stoic perspective, is a part of philosophy. Ramus rejected the Aristotelian definition of logic as a habitus instrumentalis, since an instrumental attitude could be considered to be an effect of logic but not equivalent to it. Instead he defined logic as the ars bene disserendi, the art of correctly discussing or analyzing something. Consequently, Ramus thought that logic was about being, which made the discipline of metaphysics superfluous.

shows that Ramus saw the study of logic as one of the normative disciplines like ethics and aesthetics. This places him as a precursor to Peirce – so maybe the answer to your question is that Humanistic Logic is taught in schools, it's just that it goes by other names. This frequently happens. This might seems like a non-answer and, hey, sometimes a non-answer is the best I've got :/ Thanks for bringing Humanistic Logic to my attention though – have you looked into courses which concentrate on that era of philosophy? So many undergrad course skip over the medieval and renaissance periods frequently jumping from the Church Fathers and the scholastics/theologians straight to modern philosophy and it's a crying shame that this is the case.

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  • a real answer to your comment about my statement being false would require a comprehensive review of history, but in leu of that I'll just point out that Stoic and terministic logic didn't directly challenge Aristotle. Ramus did.
    – Mordechai
    Jun 29 at 19:27
  • about Stoic, and Term-inistic logic, Ramus didn't pop out of a vacuum he had many influences, including Rodolphus Agricola who introduced many innovations in regards to loci, which I'm sure was influenced by terministic logic development. You also left out Cicero's influence which I'll comment on next.
    – Mordechai
    Jun 29 at 19:35
  • that standford article you quote is referring to a Ramian idea that the same logic is to be used for analysis and synthesis. So, it had to be tightly interwoven with rhetoric. That has many implications and is certainly not taught anywhere.
    – Mordechai
    Jun 29 at 19:38
  • Thank you for bringing up Peirce. He may be the missing link that I was looking for. There are several interesting articles about his work on rhetoric that I want to look into.
    – Mordechai
    Jun 29 at 19:57
  • BTW, you may want to look up "Peirce's New Rhetoric" by Liszka. He details Ramus' influence on Peirce. Maybe that's why Russell wasn't crazy about him.
    – Mordechai
    Jun 29 at 20:26

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