chapter  5
36 Pages

The Semantics of Discourse. Method

ByJohn N. Martin

This chapter describes the way Arnauld Antoine and Pierre Nicole explicates method in terms of logical form. The relevant form of scientific logic is deduction. The chapter focuses on the first two topics: the role of logic in scientific arguments and the importance of clear definitions, and discusses essential and contingent truths, and their truth-conditions. The resulting theory of contingent truth requires a revision in the truth-conditions for contingent affirmative categorical propositions: they must be supplemented with a clause requiring that their terms carry existential import. The chapter reviews how the Logic adapts method understood as analysis and synthesis in its account of scientific knowledge. The distinction between necessary and contingent truth has important implications for semantic theory. The Logic discusses demonstration or deductive reasoning under the rubric of synthesis. The knowledge described has been that of science, which consists of axioms that affirm the content of clear and distinct ideas, nominal definitions, and propositions deducible from these.