Logic is the art of reasoning well in order that the end of reason, truth, may be attained with more surety and ease. Although the students will already have begun to develop the logical art through their rhetorical exercises, a full year’s course in classical formal logic develops in the students a perfected logical habit through exercises pertaining to definition, division, and inference. But as it is impossible to study logic without engaging in some theoretical considerations of philosophy (e.g. an introduction to the Categories, the predicable relations, the different kinds of cause), the course has as a secondary purpose the introduction of some fundamental philosophical principles.
The course opens with a reading of Plato’s Meno that the boys may acquire a taste for philosophic inquiry and the importance of defining terms, the first step in the art of logic before proceeding to a more systematic inculcation of the forms and modes of definition, judgment and syllogistic reasoning. The second semester, conceived as an introduction to philosophy and particularly the study of ethics, begins with Plato’s Phaedo and discussions concerning the end and good of man. Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy serves as a continuation of these reflections and concludes the year with an investigation into the cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, courage and justice.