What is logic, and why should one study it? One must first and foremost recognize that logic–as traditionally conceived and taught–exists alongside and inseparably from the other arts of the trivium, grammar and rhetoric. But where the other two concern themselves more explicitly with the external signs of thinking, logic concerns itself primarily with the rectitude of thinking itself. It has therefore been considered in two ways, historically: as both an art and as a science. If we are to use it successfully as an art–that is, as a kind of know-how for producing determinate results in accordance with a certain plan or understanding of our own constitution–we are greatly aided by study of it as a science.

For logic can be conceived as the study of how we obtain the λόγος, the logos: best understood as the intelligibility of the real: not as it resides in the intellect, but as transcending both the intellect by which it is grasped and the cognition-independent actuality from which it is grasped, and irreducible to either. In studying logic, then, we study how we can grasp the intelligible real, in thought and in the thing, in the mind and out in the world, and in the possible connections between the two.

In the preface of his commentary on Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics, Aquinas asserts: “a certain art is necessary, which is directive of the very act of reason, namely, that through which humans may proceed orderly, more easily, and without error in the act of reasoning itself”; that is, the art of logic. Logic has long been considered, therefore, a liberal art: “because it is at the core of the studies that free the mind in its own order by the disciplines proper to thought.”

Kemple 2019: Introduction to Philosophical Principles: Logic, Physics, and the Human Person, 8-9.

Of course, that demands that we understand what thought is, and how it happens. Such will be at the core of our study, which is available to all Lyceum Institute members.


Our primary textbook is R.E. Houser 2020: Logic as a Liberal Art.

Logic as a Liberal Art – HFS Books

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Trivium courses are included in every level of membership for the Lyceum Institute. See enrollment options here.

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