 ## What is logic?

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Category: Logic & Reasonable decisions Created: Monday, 14 December 2020 08:40

Logic is the systematic study of the form of valid inference and the most general laws of truth. A valid inference is one where there is a specific relation of logical support between the assumptions of the inference and its conclusion. In ordinary discourse, inferences may be signified by words such as therefore, hence, ergo, and so on.

There is no universal agreement as to the exact scope and subject matter of logic but it has traditionally included the classification of arguments, the systematic exposition of the 'logical form' common to all valid arguments, the study of proof and inference, including paradoxes and fallacies, and the study of syntax and semantics. Historically, logic has been studied in philosophy (since ancient times) and mathematics (since the mid-19th century), and recently logic has been studied in computer science, linguistics, psychology, and other fields.

The concept of logical form is central to logic. The validity of an argument is determined by its logical form, not by its content. Traditional Aristotelian syllogistic logic and modern symbolic logic are examples of formal logic.

Informal logic is the study of natural language arguments. The study of fallacies is an important branch of informal logic. Since much informal argument is not strictly speaking deductive, on some conceptions of logic, informal logic is not logic at all. Formal logic is the study of inference with purely formal content. An inference possesses a purely formal content if it can be expressed as a particular application of a wholly abstract rule, that is, a rule that is not about any particular thing or property. The works of Aristotle contain the earliest known formal study of logic. Modern formal logic follows and expands on Aristotle In many definitions of logic, logical inference and inference with purely formal content are the same. This does not render the notion of informal logic vacuous, because no formal logic captures all of the nuances of natural language.

Symbolic logic is the study of symbolic abstractions that capture the formal features of logical inference. Symbolic logic is often divided into two main branches: propositional logic and predicate logic.

Mathematical logic is an extension of symbolic logic into other areas, in particular to the study of model theory, proof theory, set theory, and recursion theory.
However, agreement on what logic is has remained elusive, and although the field of universal logic has studied the common structure of logics, in 2007 Mossakowski et al. commented that it is embarrassing that there is no widely acceptable formal definition of 'a logic. ## Logical systems

A formal system is an organization of terms used for the analysis of deduction. It consists of an alphabet, a language over the alphabet to construct sentences, and a rule for deriving sentences. Among the important properties that logical systems can have are:

Consistency, which means that no theorem of the system contradicts another.

Validity, which means that the system's rules of proof never allow a false inference from true premises.

Completeness, which means that if a formula is true, it can be proven, i.e. is a theorem of the system.

Soundness, meaning that if any formula is a theorem of the system, it is true. This is the converse of completeness. (Note that in a distinct philosophical use of the term, an argument is sound when it is both valid and its premises are true)

Expressivity, meaning what concepts can be expressed in the system.
Some logical systems do not have all four properties. As an example, Kurt Gödel's incompleteness theorems show that sufficiently complex formal systems of arithmetic cannot be consistent and complete;[however, first-order predicate logics not extended by specific axioms to be arithmetic formal systems with equality can be complete and consistent.