Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER I.: Logic—What ? - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs)
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CHAPTER I.: Logic—What ? - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). In 11 vols. Volume 8.
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Definition here given of Logic.—Its amplitude justified.
Logic, in the sense in which the word will, throughout the whole tenor of this work, be employed, may be defined, the art which has for its object, or end in view, the giving, to the best advantage, direction to the human mind, and thence to the human frame, in its pursuit of any object or purpose, to the attainment of which it is capable of being applied.*
That of all definitions that have been, or can be given of this art, this is the most extensive, seems upon the face of it to be sufficiently manifest.
That it is the most useful, will, it is believed, be no less so; for it is in this modern definition alone, and not in any preceding one, that its relation to practical use in any shape has been directly held up to view.
That it is the most proper, will, at the same time, appear from the account given of logic by those who were the first to hold it up to view in the character of an art, and that an attainable one: in a word, by its inventors, viz. Aristotle and his followers, not to speak of his at present almost unknown predecessors.
For to the extent to be given to an art, a more unexceptionable standard of propriety can scarcely be found than that, if any, which has been ascribed to it by its inventors. In the present instance, true it is that, in the definition given of it in form, the extent assigned to it falls considerably short of the extent here assigned to it as above; but, as will also be seen, in the course of an observation by which that definition is immediately followed, the deficiency is made up, an extent is assigned to it much more ample than that which is given to it by their definition: an extent little, if anything, short of that extent ascribed to it as above in the present work.
According to this account of it (it may here naturally enough be objected,) an institute of the art of Logic, and a complete Encyclopædia—at any rate if the Encyclopædia be a methodical one—are one and the same thing. This work, if it be what it professes to be, is therefore an Encyclopædia, and that a complete as well as a methodical one.
Answer.—To entitle itself to the appellation of a complete one, true it is that any institute of logic, and therefore this, cannot have left altogether unvisited any portion whatever of the field of art and science, no nor of the whole field of human thought and action. But of every part of that field an Encyclopædia may, with perfect propriety, give a complete survey; whereas that which, in relation to that same field, comes within the purview of the present work, consists of no more than a general outline, including, together with its principal divisions, here and there a hint, such as may happen to be suggested by a comparative and bird’s-eye view, and thence, in some sort, a commanding view for the more advantageous culture of it.
In relation to some of the principal points, in company with the view here given of the art, will be presented those which have been left to us by the Aristotelians. In this way, mutual light, it is hoped, will be thrown upon each other by the two sketches; and the extent as well as direction of the progress made, should any be found to have been made, by the modern one, will be the more clearly discernible.
As to its field or subject, the subject on which its operations are performed, it is neither more nor less than the entire field of human thought and action. In it is accordingly included the whole field of art and science; in it is moreover included the field of ordinary, i. e. unscientific thought, and ordinary, i. e. unartificial action, or say practice, including, together with the whole contents of these respective fields—viz. all the subjects, not only of human action but of human thought—all entities, not only real but fictitious, not only all real entities but all fictitious ones that have ever been feigned, or remain capable of being feigned: fictitious entities, those necessary products of the imagination, without which, unreal as they are, discourse could not, scarcely even could thought, be carried on, and which, by being embodied, as it were, in names, and thus put upon a footing with real ones, have been so apt to be mistaken for real ones.
On the one hand, artificial action or practice, and scientific thought; on the other hand ordinary unartificial practice and ordinary or unscientific thought: under these two divisions, taken together, the whole field of human thought, as well as the whole field of human action, cannot, it is evident, fail of being included.
What distinguishes this art and science from every other branch of art and science, is that in its field of action are contained the several fields of action of all those other branches of art and science; in the field of action of this discipline, are included the several fields of action of all those other disciplines. By its generality, its amplitude, and nothing else, does it stand distinguished from the aggregate of those same disciplines.
Of the observations which respectively apply to the subject of those several disciplines, those which are most general may be referred to the head of logic. In no quarter, therefore, are those boundaries fixed, by which the field of logic is separated from the respective fields of those several other and subject disciplines. Thus, in government the territorial field of the dominion of the sovereign is composed of the territorial fields of the dominion of the several individual and particular land-owners.
Norrower and more common Acceptations of the WordLogic.
Of the field of exercise belonging to this master-art, the all-comprehensiveness, on the supposition that the definition above given of it is a proper one, will upon examination, it is believed, be sufficiently manifest. In it will be found comprehended, not only all science, and every art that can go by the name of art or science, but every other subject of contemplation or occupation to which it is possible for the human faculties, under the guidance of human reason, to be applied; every occupation, including the most common and unartificial, as well as the most extraordinary, of those occupations by which the measure of human life is filled up.
In no such comprehensive, nor indeed in any steady point of view, does it appear to have ever hitherto been considered.
By the Aristotelians, it has been described in the same breath as comprehending the field of science alone, and as comprehending that same field with the addition of the field of art.
In the narrowest of all the acceptations in which it has been employed, it is neither more nor less than the art of disputing in mood and figure. In a somewhat more enlarged sense it has been employed to denote the art of disputation, in whatsoever manner carried on. When to the whole art this amplitude is assigned, that which has just been mentioned has been considered as a modification of it, and has been styled the logic of the schools, or school logic; meaning by schools, those which in the middle ages were kept for the teaching of this art according to the principles laid down by Aristotle.
In general by those who employ it, a signification considerably more extensive, but still undeterminate, is frequently attributed to it. Arrangement, for example,—arrangement and definition, appear commonly enough to be considered as belonging to it. In so far as these operations,—operations thus extensively useful have been considered as belonging to it, it could not but have been considered as ministering, or at least capable of being made to minister, to the occasions of science in general, and even of art, not to speak of those of common life.
But forasmuch as by the followers of Aristotle, if not by Aristotle himself, the art of disputing in mood and figure seems to have been considered as the ultimate object of pursuit and study,—arrangement, definition, and in general all other portions of the art, and applications made, or capable of being made, of it, being considered and represented as no more than accessory and ministerial to that principal and, in those days, practical use, hence it is, that if the amplitude ascribed to it by the above definition be not excessive and unwarrantable, the most extensive conception which as yet it has been usual to form of it, may be stated to be inadequate.
Relation as between Logic and Metaphysics.
Whatever were said of logic, would be not simply, but perniciously imperfect, if in conjunction with it, something were not said of metaphysics.
Between the imports that have been respectively given to these two words, no one to whose cognisance they have ever presented themselves can be unapprized that there exists a very near relation; by no one, it is believed, has any endeavour been employed for exhibiting any correct idea of what that relation is.
Of the word metaphysics, the origin is still to be seen in Aristotle. In his works what it was employed to denote was, not the nature of this branch of art or science to which it gave a name, but merely the relation in respect of priority and posteriority, which in the collection of his works, the work in which he treated of this branch of art or science happened to bear to the works in which he treated of physics. Another meaning, and though recondite, rather a more characteristic one, may have been;—the branch of art or science, upon which the mind will not in any natural course have entered, until it have touched upon that which is called physics; nor indeed without having passed over, or at least passed through that branch.
When looked at, that treatise turns out to have for its subject neither more nor less than a few terms of the most general, i. e. most extensive, and at the same time the most frequently exemplified import of any which language affords. Existence, contingency, possibility, necessity, may serve as examples.
Upon this view of the matter, it turns out that in its original import this branch of art or science was neither more nor less than a sprig, and that but a small one, of the branch termed logic; forming but a minute portion of it, not only according to the extent ascribed to it, as above, in the present work, but according to the so much narrower extent ascribed to it, as above, by the Aristotelians.
Within this last century or two the word has received an import of which it may in general terms be said, that it is much more extensive, but which is in the highest degree vague and indeterminate.
It seems difficult to know what account to give of it, otherwise than from the various reproaches which from divers and various classes of writers have been cast upon it. Religionists, lawyers, politicians, fashionable sentimentalists, and poets, have, under the name of metaphysics, found something which has appeared to them to thwart their views, opinions, interests or prejudices, and against which they have accordingly used their endeavours to cover it with reproach and bring it into disrepute.
Of the art or science of logic, one, and that one the most immediate use, is the establishment of clear and determinate ideas; in relation to whatsoever discourse we employ on any subject of importance, the taking care that to such discourse the ideas we attach shall be clear and determinate ones, and in so far as in the language employed in the course of their converse with us, by others, any deficiency in this essential quality becomes observable, to employ our endeavours by apt questions, to clear it from whatever clouds of obscurity or ambiguity it may happen to be involved.
The words employed, and the compounds formed of them in the shape of propositions,—in one or other of these classes of objects may be seen the source of every instance of error or perplexity,—every cause of deception to which discourse can give rise; if it be in the structure of the propositions, or in the sort of connexion given to them that the imperfection has, or is supposed to have, its source, logic, (in which grammar may be considered as included) is the name of the art or science, by which alone the remedy, if obtainable, can be obtained; if it be in the import attached to the words taken singly, sometimes it is to logic, sometimes it is to metaphysics, that any endeavours to remedy it are referred.
Voluntary or involuntary—whosoever harbours a favourite error which it would pain him to see exposed, beholds in logic or metaphysics, or both, an object of antipathy and terror. From the adverse current of these affections, logic, being under that its name defended not only by the authority of the most admired of the philosophers of antiquity, but of those reverend persons from whose lips instruction in its highest and most polished forms is imbibed,—metaphysics is commonly the butt against which the chief force of these hostile affections is directed.
[* ] See a criticism on the author’s method of defining logic, in Mr George Bentham’s Outline; p. 12-13.