Trivium  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Trivium is a systematic method of critical thinking for deriving certainty from any information coming into the mind via the five senses. In medieval universities, the trivium comprised the three subjects that were taught first, specifically in this order: grammar, logic and rhetoric. If the three steps are arranged any other way The Trivium will not work as a method for deriving certainty. The word is a Latin term meaning "the three ways" or "the three roads" which lead to Truth. This forms the foundation of a medieval liberal arts education. This study was preparatory for the quadrivium, which consists of Arithmetic (number), Geometry (number in space), Music (number in time) and Astronomy (number in space and time). Combining the trivium and quadrivium results in the seven liberal arts of classical study. The trivium is implicit in the De nuptiis of Martianus Capella, although the term was not used until the Carolingian era when it was coined in imitation of the earlier quadrivium. It was later systematized in part by Petrus Ramus as an essential part of Ramism. Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric were very important for a classical education, as clearly explained in Plato's dialogues. The three together were defined into one word during the Middle Ages but the tradition of learning these three first was well established in ancient Greece.

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