John Eliot’s Logick Primer : A bilingual English-Wôpanâak logic textbook Dr Sara Uckelman Philosophy Departmental Research Seminar
9 February 2022 - 9 February 2022
3:00PM - 4:30PM
PO005 or online via Zoom (to be confirmed via email in advance)
Departmental Research Seminar for students and staff
Our departmental research seminar talks will take place on Wednesdays during term time from 15:00 to 16:30.
Each week an email will be circulated to students with full details of about speaker and the talk taking place (including whether it will be online or in person). Up to date details and information can also be found via the Philosophy Student SharePoint, events section (link here).
This week's speaker is Dr Sara Uckelman from our Department.
Sara is an Associate Professor of logic and philosophy of language at Durham University by day and a writer of speculative fiction by night.
John Eliot’s Logick Primer : A bilingual English-Wôpanâak logic textbook
In 1672 John Eliot, English Puritan educator and missionary, published The Logick Primer: Some Logical Notions to initiate the INDIANS in the knowledge of the Rule of Reason; and to know how to make use thereof . This roughly 80 page pamphlet focuses on introducing basic syllogistic vocabulary and reasoning so that syllogisms can be created from texts in the Psalms, the gospels, and other New Testament books. The use of logic for proselytizing purposes is not distinctive: What is distinctive about Eliot’s book is that it is bilingual, written in both English and Wôpanâak (Massachusett), an Algonquian language spoken in eastern coastal and southeastern Massachusetts. It is one of the earliest bilingual logic textbooks, it is the only textbook that I know of in an indigenous American language, and it is one of the earliest printed attestations of the Massachusett language. In this talk, I will: • Introduce John Eliot and the linguistic context he was working in. • Introduce the contents of the Logick Primer—vocabulary, inference patterns, and applications. • Discuss notions of “Puritan” logic that inform this primer. • Talk about the importance of his work in documenting and expanding the Massachusett language and the problems that accompany his colonial approach to this work.
References  J.[ohn] E.[liot]. The Logick Primer: Some Logical Notions to initiate the INDIANS in the knowledge of the Rule of Reason; and to know how to make use thereof. Cambridge, MA: Printed by M.[armaduke] J.[ohnson], 1672.