On the Diagrammatic and Mechanical Representation of Propositions and Reasonings

Philosophical Magazine 9 (59):1-18 (1880)
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Schemes of diagrammatic representation have been so familiarly introduced into logical treatises during the last century or so, that many readers, even of those who have made no professional study of logic, may be supposed to be acquainted with the general nature and object of such devices. Of these schemes one only, viz. that commonly called "Eulerian circles," has met with any general acceptance. A variety of others indeed have been proposed by ingenious and celebrated logicians, several of which would claim notice in a historical treatment of the subject; but they mostly do not seem to me to differ in any essential respect from that of Euler. They rest upon the same leading principle, and are subject all alike to the same restrictions and defects. We must therefore cast about for some new scheme of diagrammatic representation which shall be competent to indicate imperfect knowledge on our part; for this will at once enable us to appeal to it step by step in the process of working out our conclusions. I have never seen any hint at such a scheme, though the want seems so evident that one would suppose that something of the kind must have been proposed before.



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