September 23, 2017 - Ancient Stoicism in Plain English
Tag(s): Book Excerpts ||

Why Do You Need Logic? (Epictetus Discourses in Plain English II.25)

Chuck Chakrapani

Key ideas of this discourse

If you want to know why logic is important, one needs to develop a logical argument to show that.
But unless you know logic, you won’t even know whether the argument is valid or misleading.
Therefore logic is needed, even to decide if logic is needed.

The proof for the need for logic

Someone asked Epictetus:

“Convince me that logic is useful.”
“Would you like me to demonstrate it to you?”
“Then I must use a demonstrative argument.”
“How will you know if I am misleading you with a dishonest argument?”
“I don’t know.”
“Don’t you see, you yourself are admitting that logic is necessary. Without it, you cannot even decide whether you need it or not.”

Think about this

“Logic is necessary, since without it you can’t even tell whether it is necessary or not.” Discourses II.25.3. Epictetus [RH]