II: Preliminary Notion −− Logic derived from a survey of the whole system
Logic is the science of the pure Idea; pure, that is, because the Idea is in the abstract medium of Thought.
This definition, and the others which occur in these introductory outlines, are derived from a survey of the whole system, to which accordingly they are subsequent. The same remark applies to all prefatory notions whatever about philosophy.
Logic might have been defined as the science of thought, and of its laws and characteristic forms. But thought, as thought, constitutes only the general medium, or qualifying circumstance, which renders the Idea distinctively logical. If we identify the Idea with thought, thought must not be taken in the sense of a method or form, but in the sense of the self−developing totality of its laws and peculiar terms. These laws are the work of thought itself, and not a fact which it finds and must submit to.
From different points of view, Logic is either the hardest or the easiest of the sciences. Logic is hard, because it has to deal not with perceptions, nor, like geometry, with abstract representations of the senses, but with the pure abstractions; and because it demands a force and facility of withdrawing into pure thought, of keeping firm hold on it, and of moving in such an element. Logic is easy, because its facts are nothing but our own thought and its familiar forms or terms: and these are the acme of simplicity, the ABC of everything else. They are also what we are best acquainted with: such as 'is' and 'is not'; quality and magnitude; being potential and being actual; one, many, and so on. But such an acquaintance only adds to the difficulties of the study; for while, on the one hand, we naturally think it is not worth our trouble to occupy ourselves any longer with things so familiar, on the other hand, the problem is to become acquainted with them in a new way, quite opposite to that in which we know them already.
The utility of Logic is a matter which concerns its bearings upon the student, and the training it may give forother purposes. This logical training consists in the exercise in thinking which the student has to go through (this science is the thinking of thinking): and in the fact that he stores his head with thoughts, in their native unalloyed character. It is true that Logic, being the absolute form of truth, and another name for the very truth itself, is something more than merely useful. Yet if what is noblest, most liberal, and most independent is also most useful, Logic has some claim to the latter character. Its utility must then be estimated at another rate than exercise in thought for the sake of the exercise.