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Editorial Note - Gershom Carmichael, Natural Rights on the Threshold of the Scottish Enlightenment: The Writings of Gershom Carmichael 
Natural Rights on the Threshold of the Scottish Enlightenment: The Writings of Gershom Carmichael, ed. James Moore and Michael Silverthorne (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
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Carmichael’s logic was an abridgment and an adaptation of the Port Royal logic, or Ars Cogitandi, or The Art of Thinking.1 In his account of his teaching method,2 he described The Art of Thinking as “the best Logick that I know under the name of Logick, and that is tolerably adapted for the Use of teaching in a University.”3 The principal attraction of the Port Royal logic for Carmichael was the importance it accorded to simple apprehension (or conception) and judgment: “there are basically just two modes of thinking which require the special direction of Logic, Apprehension and Judgment.”4 Other logics, notably those in the Aristotelian tradition, continued to emphasize the third part of logic, discursive reasoning.5 Carmichael’s concern, like that of the logicians of Port Royal, was to ensure that the terms used by logicians in their reasoning should represent, with some accuracy, the ideas they are supposed to signify or express.
Carmichael’s endorsement of the logic of Port Royal was not unqualified. He did not consider it necessary “to follow the Author through all his Digressions.”6 He also amended the text in classroom presentation by referring students to Locke’s Essay for a closer examination of the distinctions among clear and obscure, distinct and confused ideas.7 He agreed with Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole, the logicians of Port Royal, that not all ideas have their origins in sensation; but he considered that the origin of such ideas had been better explained by Locke. Ideas of physical or corporeal things have their origin in sensation; ideas of thinking, judging, reasoning, willing, have their origin in the operations of the understanding.8 This was a consideration of the first importance for Carmichael; for he discovered in reflections on the operations of the understanding the origin of ideas of God, of lasting happiness, and the other central ideas of his natural theology and moral philosophy.
Carmichael’s Logic was, by his own account, an elementary text, “directed primarily to first-year students.” It should be read as an introduction to the Philosophical Theses which follow and represent “the higher studies which follow this in my course of instruction.”
[1.] La Logique ou l’Art de Penser [Logic or the Art of Thinking].
[2.] Carmichael’s account of his teaching method, Glasgow University Library 43170, appended below, pp. 379–87.
[3.] See below, p. 380.
[4.] See below, p. 292.
[5.] E.g., Wallis, Institutio Logicae; and Aldrich, Ars Logicae.
[6.] See below, p. 380.
[7.] In his Annotationes ad Artem Cogitandi [Annotations on the Art of Thinking], pp. 14–15, Carmichael refers his students to Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, II.29ff., for discussion of clear and obscure, distinct and confused ideas.
[8.] See below, pp. 293 n. 2 and 338.