Thought on Ramus' Sources of Invention

Main Question: In response to which questions or problems were these sources developed?
For Ramus, Invention produces arguments. So these sources, are "tools" to deduct predicates. (See Howell, 155ff.).

On the other hand, Ramus celebrated three laws (truth, justice, wisdom) are intended to be the basic criteria (rules) for determining the subject matter and the organization of sciences. (See Howell, 149ff).

A very good description of these three laws is afforded by Milton:

"And these three are the laws of proper lessons in the arts. First kata pantous, the law of truth, because it demands from the consentany affect of the parts the necessary verity of the axiom affirmed. The second is kath auto, the law of justice, since it requires justice in the essential relation of the parts. ... The third is properly called katholou proton, the law of wisdom, as will be said later, and because it prohibits the vices contrary to wisdom, inequality, or lack of agreement of the antecedent with the consequent, and tautology." (Artis Logicae (Columbia ed.) 323)


Ramus seem to refer by 'arguments' or 'propositions' actually statements consisting of two premises.

  • Differing statements (arguments): are exceptions of A and B signed by:
    • not this but that (not A, but B)
    • although
    • notwithstanding 
  • Opposites:
    • Either, or
  • Relatives
  • Repugning statements
  • Denying statements
  • Depryving statements
  • Equal statements


Ramus seems to refer by 'distribution' two things (or both): (1) the passage from an assertoric state to another within a statement. Thus a person who is in the situation of searching for arguments, stands in a certain "place" and Ramus lists the "passages" that facilitate the movement from those states, which are typical, to others that increase the amount of knowledge. However, (2) some of the "distributions" actually seem to be more division, enumeration, or ramifications into constituting parts (this puzzles me a bit). In any case both aspects indicate a passage from one to many, or vicersa; or from simple to complex, or viceversa.
Milton's Logic p.? indicates that distribution is the opposite of induction; that is, distribution argues from the general to the particulars, whatever way they are expressed.
  • Distribution standing from the CAUSES to EFFECTS (whole to parts)
    • (1) Enumeration 
    • (2) Argue from general to special (Deduction)
  • Distribution standing from the EFFECTS to CAUSES (parts to whole)
    • (1) Composition/grouping
    • (2) Argue from special to general (Induction)
  • Distribution standing from the SUBJECT 
    • I can't tell the difference with "cause to effects".
  • Distribution standing from the ADJOINTS
    • Similar to effects to causes but using predicates. Not sure.

Ramus, P. (1574) Logike. trans McIlmain
Howell, W. (1956) Logic and Rhetoric in England 1500-1700. Princeton UP and Russell & Russell.

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