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"To understand economics, this is the book you should read first."
- Ludwig von Mises
Morris R. Cohen and Ernest Nagel set before themselves aims threefold to be striven for in the formulation of the book. First, they propose that "the present text seeks to bring some order into the confusion of tongues, concerning the subject matter of logic" to dismiss the concern of a "of the mediator between hostile points of view", as "the traditional distrust of peacemaker in the intellectual realm difficult to appreciate, since he so often substitutes an unclear and inconsistent amalgam for points of view which at least have the merit of a certain clarity" (p. xiii). Secondly, they strive to cure the weariness often ascribed "to the study of logic [which] testifies to the unimaginative way logical principles have been taught and misused" by consolidating "sound logical doctrine with sound pedagogy" and providing "illustriative material suggestive of the role of logic in every department of thought" (p. xiv).
Book I, Formal Logic, opens with a clear and undemanding elucidation of some of the principal ideas in relation to the investigation and classification of propositions, and of the connections between propositions (Chs. III and IV). Then follows, in two chapters, a straightforward and conventional (as it should be) exposition of the doctrine of the syllogism and its elaborations. Chapter VI contains an introductory treatment of Generalized or Mathematical Logic, and Chapter VII a rather more advanced but very interestingly presented discussion of The Nature of a Logical or Mathematical System. Chapter VIII introduces Probable Inference, and in this one form of the frequency theory is defended.Read more ›
There are two things that make this text especially useful to a contemporary reader. The first is that it is among the very few texts on logic that make the explicit connection between logic and inquiry; hence, scientific method itself. This connection is a fundamental aspect of the American movements in philosophy, most specifically Pragmatism. However, works like those by John Dewey did not develop the formal aspects of logic to any significant degree, so this work creates a bridge between the general theory of inquiry, the philosophy of science, and formal logic that Dewey only glossed.
The second point is the price. Thematically, this book compares quite well with Hurley's Intro, which also makes the connections between logic, general inquiry, critical thinking, and scientific method. But much as I like Hurley's book, it is *STAGGERINGLY* expensive. I simply cannot in conscience recomend a text that costs *WELL* over $150.00, however much I might otherwise admire its comprehensiveness. (I've an entire rant about the text book industry that I'll not go into here.)
The Kindle edition is very nicely put together with an active table of contents and all the other goodies one would look for. Things like the ability to search the text at any microscopic level that tickles you as well as adding as many comprehensive annotations and comments as you might like make this electronic version well worth the very reasonable price. There are some typos in the Kindle edition; the process of conversion, especially of texts with technical symbolism in them, is still not perfect. Consequently, this e-book might prove puzzling &/or difficult at places for persons trying to teach themselves the subject on their own.Read more ›
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Morris Raphael Cohen is both a marvelous thinker and a substantial danger to the innocent reader. Cohen's Logic & Scientific Method was the textbook used for my university course of that name. After reading and studying it, I shall never be the same. Cohen's work is permanent life-changing thinking changing. It may be unfortunate to read and absorb as, at least in my life's experience, you can never get back out of it. There is a life changing mindset created by the careful reading and studying of Logic & Scientific Method. My own mind absorbed it and has never been the same. Looking back on Cohen's Logic & Scientific Method, it is the single most important book I have ever read.