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Logic


Logic (from the Ancient Greek: , logikḗ), originally meaning "the word" or "what is spoken" (but coming to mean "thought" or "reason"), is generally held to consist of the systematic study of the form of arguments. A valid argument is one where there is a specific relation of logical support between the assumptions of the argument and its conclusion. (In ordinary discourse, the conclusion of such an argument may be signified by words like therefore, hence, ergo and so on.)

There is no universal agreement as to the exact scope and subject matter of logic (see § Rival conceptions, below), but it has traditionally included the classification of arguments, the systematic exposition of the 'logical form' common to all valid arguments, the study of inference, including fallacies, and the study of semantics, including paradoxes. Historically, logic has been studied in philosophy (since ancient times) and mathematics (since the mid-1800s), and recently logic has been studied in computer science, linguistics, psychology, and other fields.

The concept of logical form is central to logic. The validity of an argument is determined by its logical form, not by its content. Traditional Aristotelian syllogistic logic and modern symbolic logic are examples of formal logic.

However, agreement on what logic is has remained elusive, and although the field of universal logic has studied the common structure of logics, in 2007 Mossakowski et al. commented that "it is embarrassing that there is no widely acceptable formal definition of 'a logic'".

Logic is generally considered formal when it analyzes and represents the form of any valid argument type. The form of an argument is displayed by representing its sentences in the formal grammar and symbolism of a logical language to make its content usable in formal inference. Simply put, formalising simply means translating English sentences into the language of logic.



  • Informal logic is the study of natural language arguments. The study of fallacies is an important branch of informal logic. Since much informal argument is not strictly speaking deductive, on some conceptions of logic, informal logic is not logic at all. See 'Rival conceptions', below.
  • Formal logic is the study of inference with purely formal content. An inference possesses a purely formal content if it can be expressed as a particular application of a wholly abstract rule, that is, a rule that is not about any particular thing or property. The works of Aristotle contain the earliest known formal study of logic. Modern formal logic follows and expands on Aristotle. In many definitions of logic, logical inference and inference with purely formal content are the same. This does not render the notion of informal logic vacuous, because no formal logic captures all of the nuances of natural language.
  • Symbolic logic is the study of symbolic abstractions that capture the formal features of logical inference. Symbolic logic is often divided into two main branches: propositional logic and predicate logic.
  • Mathematical logic is an extension of symbolic logic into other areas, in particular to the study of model theory, proof theory, set theory, and recursion theory.
  • Consistency, which means that no theorem of the system contradicts another.
  • Validity, which means that the system's rules of proof never allow a false inference from true premises.
  • Completeness, which means that if a formula is true, it can be proven, i.e. is a theorem of the system.
  • Soundness, meaning that if any formula is a theorem of the system, it is true. This is the converse of completeness. (Note that in a distinct philosophical use of the term, an argument is sound when it is both valid and its premises are true).
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Wikipedia

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