Meeting 47

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DATE: Tuesday, November 23

TIME: 1 PM Princeton time (ET) / 8 PM Bucharest time (UTC+2)

PANEL: Logic and Methodology in the Early Modern Period. A discussion on the occasion of the Perspectives on Science special issue (vol. 29:3; 2021)

SPEAKERS: Roger Ariew (University of South Florida), Elodie Cassan (ENS Lyon), Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest), Rodolfo Garau (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)


In connection with Perspectives on Science special issue on Logic and Methodology in the Early-Modern Period (vol.29 :3 ; 2021;, our purpose in this panel is to show that while the role taken by logic towards philosophical modernity is still commonly downplayed, it is crucial to its building. In so doing, we intend to contribute to a broader reassessment of the importance of early modern logic—one which frames these doctrines as particular answers to long debated questions concerning science, method, and the education of minds.

Our project is twofold. First, we argue for the necessity of the writing of a philosophical history of early-modern logic. We emphasize, from this view point, the lack of heuristic efficiency of the current histories of logic in the early-modern period standard narratives. We shed light on the limited light provided by hermeneutic categories created and made use of in order to account for the writing of new types of logic during the period, such as the categories of « logic of ideas » and of « facultative logic ». In our view, these categories have the merit to reveal that the purpose of logic in the seventeenth century was largely that of determining how to make use of intellectual materials in order to reason without error. But, on the other hand, first, they do not suffice to making sense of everything that is going on in the field of logic during that period. Second, while showing that logic in this period is a reality with a mixed form, a hybrid stuff, they push into the background the question of the specific consistency of the new shape taken by this discipline.

Secondly, in order to uncover this shape, we address the following questions : why, despite such widespread rhetoric of the rejection and rupture with the logical tradition, did early modern philosophers devote so much attention to logic in the construction of their systems of knowledge? What kind of change and continuity in the understanding of the role of logic does this reflect? What does this gesture tell us about the building of the philosophical discourse? We address these issues by the resort to case studies. Major early modern philosophical figures are considered : Bacon, Descartes and Gassendi.

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