Logic by Gordon Clark is a short (135 pages) introductory text on logic. Clark, a Calvinist theologian and philosopher, writes a more philosophical introduction to logic, many times from his distinct Christian perspective. He writes in a style that is almost conversational, from teacher to student.
Clark structures the content with preliminary introductions, followed by informal fallacies, discussion of definitions, and then on to formal logic. His section on formal logic begins with immediate inference, working through diagrams, rules, and various forms of arguments. The author offers many observations along the way, many philosophical, some scriptural. Standard symbols are employed, moving quickly to equations and on to truth tables.
Clark defines logic as the science of necessary inference. But he does not stop there. His philosophical views and interpretation of the first chapter of John’s Gospel culminate in an interesting, if not controversial, final chapter: God and Logic. “God is a rational being,” writes Clark, “the architecture of whose mind is logic.”1 Clark argues that John chapter one can be translated “in the beginning was the Logic…”
Much of the content is introduced with terms quickly defined before using them abundantly. For an introductory logic text, the ascent is a bit too steep. Ideas could be developed with more clarity and more thoroughly. This book seems more at home as supplemental reading in a history of Calvinist thinkers.
Although Logic by Gordon Clark may hold some interest for those interested in his thought and philosophy, this is not a helpful text for a beginning logic student. A much better logic text written for a Christian audience is Geisler and Brooks’ Come Let Us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking.
1 Gordon Clark, Logic (Jefferson, MD: The Trinity Foundation, 1985), p. 131.
Monday, May 18, 2009
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