Stoic logic  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Stoic logic is the system of propositional logic developed by the Stoic philosophers in ancient Greece. It was one of the two great systems of logic in the classical world. It was largely built and shaped by Chrysippus, the third head of the Stoic school in the 3rd-century BC. Chrysippus's logic differed from Aristotle's term logic because it was based on the analysis of propositions rather than terms. The smallest unit in Stoic logic is an assertible (the Stoic equivalent of a proposition) which is the content of a statement such as "it is day". Assertibles have a truth-value such that at any moment of time they are either true or false. Compound assertibles can be built up from simple ones through the use of logical connectives. The resulting syllogistic was grounded on five basic indemonstrable arguments to which all other syllogisms were claimed to be reducible.

Towards the end of antiquity Stoic logic was neglected in favour of Aristotle's logic, and as a result the Stoic writings on logic did not survive, and the only accounts of it were incomplete reports by other writers. Knowledge about Stoic logic as a system was lost until the 20th-century when logicians familiar with the modern propositional calculus reappraised the ancient accounts of it.




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