The term Logic originates from the Greek word logos. It is translated to mean discourse, rule or reason (Dewey, 2018). It is the examination of the principles underlying correct reasoning. It comprises the systematic investigation of the form or valid inference. There is no universal agreement on the scope and subject matter of logic. Despite that, it, however, encompasses the argument classification, the exposition of the systematic, logical form, and investigation of inferences. The study of logic is concerned about making good reasoning and what makes bad reasoning bad (Dewey, 2018). Upon its investigation, one can avoid making mistakes when reasoning. It can also be useful in evaluating the reasoning of others. In general, it aims to improve the thinking capacities of people.
As a discipline, logic begins with a shift from the reduced application of unreflective logical methods and arguments to an inquiry reflection that examines the methods and patterns together with their elements some of which are syntax and semantics in sentences. Discussions on the elements of logic and inference date back to late 5th century BCE in Greek and Roman (Valencia, 1997). The Sophists and Plato illustrated an interest in the analysis of sentences, truth and fallacies in early 4th Century. As a systematic discipline, logic is attributed to the work of Aristotle. Aristotle came up with a systematic logical inquiry into the work of his predecessors. He made great contribution to the discipline with most notable being the theory of the logical interconnection of affirmative and with universal statements (Valencia, 1997). The other is the syllogistic theory which is a mechanism of drawing deductive inference. His logic is considered as term-logic because it focuses on the logical connection amongst terms. His successors, Theophrastus and Eudemus, broadened the deductive inference scope leading to an improvement of some of the aspects contained in the Aristotle’s logic (Valencia, 1997).
The Aristotle’s logic has had a significant influence on the western history thought, especially with the syllogism theory. Even though it lacked position especially making the Hellenistic error, his commentators made the Aristotle’s logic dominant leading to its transmission to Arabic and Latin medieval traditions (Valencia, 1997). However, the logic we use and study nowadays, commonly known as “Modern Logic” developed in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its main contributors are George Boole’s with the Law of thought in 1854 and Gottlob Frege’s in 1879 with concept script.
The primary goal of logic is to appraise arguments. Studying logic allows one to distinguish between good and wrong arguments. Arguments form the basis upon which to persuade others to believe or not on the truth of various claims. It is applied as a device of persuasion. According to Aristotle, logic is an explanation of an articulate system that enables individuals, to explore, categorize and assess the forms of reasoning. It promotes consistency in argument and inquiry. It establishes a framework of thinking and acting within a community such as that of scientists. With a structure, there is a certain level of predictability as to why people do what they do because of the shared commonality of beliefs.
Rhetoric is an art of discourse. It entails the study of and the application of written, spoken and visual language (Foss, Foss & Trapp, 2014). It is concerned about the language use in the organization and maintenance of social groups, construction of meanings and identities, behavior conditioning, mediation of power, the institution of change and creation of knowledge. The underlying assumptions on rhetoric is that language is constitutive in that we shape and also get shaped by it. It is dialogic because its existence is a shared territory between self and others. It connects to thought and integrates with social, cultural and economic practices. The study emerged from the ancient Greece and since then has evolved. It was at the center of western education requiring all the public speakers and writers to undergo training so that they can move the audience to action with the arguments Aristotle considered rhetoric as the ability to persuade (Foss, Foss & Trapp, 2014).
Rhetoric is essential in thinking at an advanced level. It enables one to think logically to discover misleading arguments and to establish a secure case on controversial topics. It is also essential in overcoming the fear of speaking in public to deliver well-prepared speeches. It is fundamental in criticizing and analyzing what we read or listen to get more understanding.
Rhetoric is not always logical. Logical arguments focus on examining whether statements are true or false while the rhetorical ones attempt to persuade the audience on to adopt one side of the statement as either true or false irrespective of whether it is true or false (Blair, 2012). As noted earlier, logic is based on reasoning while rhetoric does not always require reasoning. Rhetoric lacks conclusion and instead, the audience can either admit the evidence provided or challenge it. The argument in rhetoric can be endless because there is no definition of the relevant terms as it is the case with logical arguments (Blair, 2012).
- Blair, J. A. (2012). Relationships among logic, dialectic and rhetoric. In Groundwork in the Theory of Argumentation (pp. 245-259). Springer, Dordrecht.
- Dewey, J. (2018). Logic-The theory of inquiry. Read Books Ltd.
- Foss, S. K., Foss, K. A., & Trapp, R. (2014). Contemporary perspectives on rhetoric. Waveland Press.
- Valencia, V. S. (1997). Aristotle and Logic. Concise Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Language, 250.