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In this paper I present and discuss the main objections of France Veber (1890- 1975) against mathematical logic in general and the work of Mihael Markič (1864-1939), the first modern logician in Slovenia, in particular. Markič tried to develop an algebra of logic in the spirit of Boole and Schröder, and thereby to provide an axiomatic system of syllogistics with the least number of axioms. Veber's general objection to this project was that it tries to represent the essential qualitative properties of judgements and inferences in quantitative (extensional) terms. Veber also criticized the subject-predicate analysis of judgements and eventually rejected the whole idea of logic as being a calculus, with judgements being treated like equations and inferences like operations in a calculus.

Although much in this criticism - which is in certain respects similar to Husserl's reservations about a complete "mathematisation" of logic - is unfounded and misguided, the attack on the idea of logic being essentially a calculus is still interesting and relevant today. This idea is a symptom of a philosophical "desease" resulting from a one-sided "diet", as Wittgenstein put it. Thus one can agree with Veber to the extent that logic has to take into account the meaning of sentences, not just their symbolic form, and that it is therefore an "art" which can never be fully formalized, requiring much more "understanding" than usually thought.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2002

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