Mill on logic

In Dale E. Miller & Christopher Macleod (eds.), A companion to Mill. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 175-191 (2017)
David Godden
Michigan State University
Working within the broad lines of general consensus that mark out the core features of John Stuart Mill’s (1806–1873) logic, as set forth in his A System of Logic (1843–1872), this chapter provides an introduction to Mill’s logical theory by reviewing his position on the relationship between induction and deduction, and the role of general premises and principles in reasoning. Locating induction, understood as a kind of analogical reasoning from particulars to particulars, as the basic form of inference that is both free-standing and the sole load-bearing structure in Mill’s logic, the foundations of Mill’s logical system are briefly inspected. Several naturalistic features are identified, including its subject matter, human reasoning, its empiricism, which requires that only particular, experiential claims can function as basic reasons, and its ultimate foundations in ‘spontaneous’ inference. The chapter concludes by comparing Mill’s naturalized logic to Russell’s (1907) regressive method for identifying the premises of mathematics.
Keywords Mill, J.S.  Logic  Induction
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