Be in Tune with Nature through Thinking Correctly
- Hardy:„The moon is made up of the same materials as the earth.“
- Subjectivist Laurel:„That is true for you. For me the moon is made of Swiss cheese.“
- Hardy: „Why do you say that?“
- Laurel: „Elementary, my dear! You see the moon is yellow and Swiss cheese is also yellow. Therefore the moon is made of yellow cheese.“
- Laurel: We can cook fish in water. We can’t cook meat in water. Therefore fish is healthful.
- Hardy: That’s not logical. You should say: Nutrients, which are cooked in water are healthful. Fish can be cooked in water, therefore fish is healthful.
Who is right, Laurel or Hardy? Or are both right? Or are both wrong?
Why both cannot be right and whether Laurel or Hardy are right will be explained in this course on „Be in Tune with Nature through Thinking Correctly.“
LOGIC AND THINKING
Logic is defined in terms of identification and not in terms of thinking.
Thinking is a process of identification of reality. When you think about something you ask, „What is it?“. If you think about how something is happening, you are thinking about the identity of the means.
If you think about why something is happening, you are thinking about the identity of the cause.
If you think of when something is happening, you are thinking of the identity of the time, whether yesterday, today or tomorrow.
If you think of where something is happening, you are thinking of the identity of the place, whether here, there or somewhere.
So when you think you really ask, „What is it?“
NEED FOR LOGIC
Why do we need logic today? Why should we not accept as true any arbitrary idea that comes into our mind?
Suppose I believe in an idea or feel that it is right, is my belief or feeling not enough to guarantee that my idea is true?
To answer this question, you must cite two basic facts, – one of them from the branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, – that is the fact that pertains to the Nature of reality – ; and the other from the branch of philosophy known as epistemology which is the theory of knowledge and this fact pertains to the Nature of human consciousness. It is the combination of these facts that gives rise to the need for such a method of validation as logic.
Let us take these two points in order.
This means that Nature, reality is what it is, independent of the content of human consciousness. Facts of Nature, existence have metaphysical priority. They come first. They are there. They are real, independent of any mind or consciousness, except God’s.
Consciousness is the faculty of perceiving, identifying, what is out there in Nature.
The alternative to this viewpoint is priority or primacy of consciousness. That would mean that existence is a by-product of human consciousness, that facts are not independent of peoples´beliefs, wishes and emotions; that facts are somehow created by the mind. To have a certain idea about a fact of Nature is enough to make that fact of Nature change to conform to your idea and also somebody else’s idea, because consciousness sets the metaphysical terms. That means, according to this viewpoint, that consciousness dictates and the facts of existence or Nature obey.
If this were true, there would not be any need for man to validate his conclusion in order to be one with Nature. The fact that he believed in an idea would be sufficient because the belief would create the corresponding reality, and harmony with Nature.
Now the primacy of Nature or existence is an axiom, because Nature does not obey our whims. No proof of the primacy of existence is required in this or any other context because it is the presupposition of any rational discussion. If somebody says, „Prove the primacy of existence“, his demand is based on the premise that your belief in it is insufficient.
But why? If you ask him he will be forced to say „Because facts are what they are, regardless of what you think. So if you hold a certain view, you have to prove it“. In other words he has to rely on the primacy of existence even to demand an argument in favour of it. So we take that as a fundamental axiom.
We need a method for validating our conclusions, because Nature or reality has metaphysical or universal primacy. Reality is what it is, independent of consciousness. Of course Uri Geller can bend spoons from a distance. But this capability is not metaphysical or universal. It would be metaphysical if everybody could do it. You might say if we train ourselves properly we can also be like Uri Geller. Even then he cannot create a spoon. So he does not invalidate the law of primacy of existence.
Another reason why we need a method for validating our conclusions is that when we think we may think wrongly. Our conclusions are not automatically correct or true. If our only means of awareness of facts were by direct sense perception, our knowledge of the world would be limited, but we would be generally incapable of error, and then we would have no need for logic. An infallible consciousness can’t go wrong.
But human knowledge is essentially conceptual and as such it is not infallible and not automatically correct. Human consciousness is volitional. Man has free will. And that is the basic reason why human consciousness is not automatically correct.
Now if you combine these two points, the metaphysics of the primacy of existence with the fallible, volitional, conceptual human consciousness, a method of validating one’s conclusions is required.
You are trying to know existence, to learn facts. And facts are what they are independent of your consciousness. And the fact that you believe something does not show that it corresponds to those independent facts, because you are fallible and capable of error.
Under those conditions, if you are to be able to claim any idea of yours as knowledge, you need to have a standard by which to judge its truth, a standard to enable you to determine whether a given view you hold is true and in tune with Nature or not. You need some method to enable you to determine how to arrive at reliable conclusions; to know when you can claim that they represent facts of Nature; and to know when they do not, and therefore to be rejected as false.
To summarise, if a person’s conclusions were automatically infallible, no validating standard or method would be necessary. A validating standard or method is required only because you are trying to be in tune with Nature by conceptual means. This is the fundamental, theoretical reason why man needs to employ a method such as logic.
Logic is the method by which a volitional, non-automatic human consciousness can insure that its content corresponds to the facts of an independent Nature.
This is why man needs a method such as logic. Now there is no conflict between theory and practice, precisely because logic is the method of keeping man’s consciousness in contact with reality. The exercise of logic is the absolute pre-condition of a man’s successful achievement of any value, whether we speak of an individual or social level.
You cannot trust your conclusions unless you have got good reasons to trust them. And you can trust them if there are good reasons for holding those ideas. i.e. your ideas pass the test of logic.
The faculty of reason is man’s basic means of survival. Logic is the method of using that means.
The principles of logic must be based on the facts of reality. The principles of logic cannot be open to arbitrary human choice or subjective social whim.
They must be ontological, that is, pertaining to reality or Nature. The modern schools of logic call themselves non-ontological schools, i.e. they hold that the laws of logic do not reflect reality. All of those schools are invalidated out of hand. It is not necessary to argue against the pragmatists, the positivists and the analysts. They are false in principle. Why?
If you understand our discussion why logic is necessary in the first place, we’ll see immediately why only a logic based on reality has any function in human cognition – why is a standard such as logic required?
Because of the primacy of existence and the fallibility of volitional consciousness.
What fundamental condition must logic fulfil if it is able to perform its function? And the obvious answer is: the standard must be derived from the facts of Nature. The principles of our validating method must be facts of Nature, i.e. ontological.
If the standard were not derived from existence, if the principles of our validating method did not represent facts of reality, but were simply arbitrary creations of man, not dictated by facts, not corresponding to facts, if the principles of logic were in a word not ontological, the using logic as the standard would be useless. Then the whole demand for logical proof would become irrelevant and unjustified; because then you would have no grounds to assume that adherence to the principles of your validating method would enable you to conform your thought to reality.
Here’s a concrete example to illustrate this point.
Suppose a man were to adopt what you could call an emotionalist theory of logic. And he said, „Man is fallible. He needs a standard. Before he can accept a conclusion as reliable he must therefore validate it by reference to a certain standard. This standard is determined by my emotions. If I have a good feeling about his idea it’s true. If not it isn’t. So if I am defining logic I would say it’s a process of identifying facts in accordance with my emotions.
You’d say the laws of his logic are not ontological, but emotionalist. Ontological laws are laws in tune with Nature.
We would answer him thus:„Look, the reason that I need a validating method such as logic is that I am attempting to know the facts of Nature. We ask what reason in the world is there to assume that if I adhere scrupulously to subjective feelings, and test all my conclusions rigorously by this method they will be any closer to actual fact than if I dispense with your emotions and your method altogether, and accept anything I feel like arbitrarily, i.e. why not just then go back to the initial situation and accept anything I feel which is the very situation from which I am trying to free myself.“
Now this emotionalist theory seems preposterous, but in principle the situation is not changed one particle if you say, „I’m democratic. I don’t make my feelings the standard, but everybody’s feelings, i.e. society. If you make society the generator of logic or validating standard you have the same situation as when you take your feelings.
The purpose of a validating standard such as logic is to enable us to determine when our conclusions are in tune with Nature and when they don’t ; to enable us to insure that our thoughts will conform to the facts of Nature. Only a standard that is itself derived from the facts of existence can perform this function.
Only a method whose principles are facts of reality can qualify as validating, i.e. only an ontological logic has any validity any authority. Any other kind of logic is in the same category as the emotionalist type.
So you can dismiss all of the non-ontological theories of logic. Whatever they are talking about, it is not logic.
Our question is, „which facts of reality can serve as the basic principles of logic, as the principles at the base of our validating method?“
The first point to see is that the facts in question must be universally applicable to every subject matter, because we are looking for the principle of a method which will guide us no matter what subject matter we consider, past, present, future, mental, physical, rich men, poor men, love, politics, astronomy, anything.
So we need then a fact or a principle inherent in everything which exists, a principle inherent in Nature, so that it will be true of everything which exists.
The principle that we are seeking is the Law of Identity.:
Everything which exists is something. It has a Nature. It has properties that make it what it is. It has an identity. It is what it is.
Or A is A where A stands for anything. The universe is the universe. A cup is a cup. A table is a table.
The Law of Identity is the fundamental law of Nature or reality.
Insofar as your thinking is in accordance with the Law of Identity, it is in tune with Nature.
Insofar as your thinking departs from the Law of Identity, it departs from Nature and invalidates itself.
So we can say logic is a method of thinking in accordance with the Law of Identity. But what does thinking in accordance with the Law of Identity consist of? How do we know when we are or not in accordance with it?
There is one fundamental type of error by which men can violate this law, one fundamental sin there is which we must shun if we are to adhere to A is A.
And that is we must never hold about anything that it is A and non-A, that it is and it isn’t. In other words we must never hold contradictions. Contradiction would be a claim that something is and isn’t so, that something is A and non-A.
Now what is wrong with contradiction?
The answer is if you hold a contradiction you deny identity to the subject matter you are discussing. A contradiction is a violation of identity.
Suppose a student gets a note of 2 and the professor says, „It is also not 2“.
The grade of the student has no identity.
Contradictions are wrong because everything which exists is something. The Law of Identity can be expressed in another way to guide us in all our thinking. This way of expression is called the Law of Non-Contradiction.
It says that nothing can be A and non-A at the same time and in the same respect. Your car can be red today and painted white tomorrow. But it cannot be red and non-red at the same time.
Of course the lower part of the car may be red and the top part white. They however do not have the same colour in the same respect.
The Law of Identity, specifically in the form of the Law of Non-Contradiction is the fundamental law that governs all valid thinking. For example:
Take this syllogism: All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefore Socrates is mortal.
That’s a perfect example of reason. Why does the conclusion follow?
Here are three terms we will be using all the time: premise, conclusion, inference.
The premise or premises of an argument are those facts which you use as evidence to justify what you are trying to prove.
„All men are mortal“ and „Socrates is a man“ are two premises. The conclusion is the thing you are trying to prove, in this case – Socrates is mortal.
Inference is the process of drawing the conclusion from the premises. You are said to infer the conclusion from the premises.
Why does the conclusion „Socrates is mortal“ follow from those premises?
And there is only one answer. Because if you came to the alternative conclusion you would be committing a contradiction. You would be saying, „All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is not mortal.“
That would mean, „All men are mortal, but Socrates is not“, which means it is and it isn’t. It’s A and non-A, which is a contradiction.
You may never have heard of the formal statement of the Law of Non-Contradiction before, but your natural logic tells you that a contradiction simply is impossible. No contradiction can exist in reality.
You must say when you hear „All men are mortal. Socrates is a man“ that he must be mortal.
Reasoning is therefore simply the process of observing certain facts which are your premises and then drawing the conclusion that is necessitated in obedience to the Law of Non-Contradiction.
So we can say that logic is the art of thinking non-contradictorily.
Thinking is a process of identification of what some subject matter is. Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. That is true of every type of reasoning, whether deduction or induction.
The laws of identity and non-contradiction are not the only laws of logic. There are many others, but they are all reformulations ultimately of the Law of Identity.
THE LAW OF EXCLUDED MIDDLE
One law which may be mentioned is the Law of Excluded Middle which states that everything is either A or not A at a given time and in a given respect.
A man is either an expert or he is not at a given time and in a given respect. (He might be an expert later. He might be an expert in languages and a non-expert in other subjects). But if you specify the time and the respect, either he is it or he isn’t.
The middle is excluded. Your choice is exclusively in the extremes: either it is or it isn’t, but no third middle of the third possibility exists.
What about cases that are neither clearly A or non-A?
Suppose you have two colours, black and white. The borderline between the two is neither clearly white nor clearly black.
The Law of Excluded Middle says you should define white. Draw a line accordingly on the spectrum of wave-lengths. The borderline case is only a problem of definition which then determines where you should draw the line.
The Law of Excluded Middle says that any shade in the spectrum is either white or it is non-white.
The Law of Excluded Middle does not say that a given shade is either black or white. It says a given shade is either white or it is non-white.
This law does not say everything is either A or B. It does not say a man is either an expert or a fool. It says: a man is either an expert or he is not.
And then the category of non-experts includes all men of average intelligence, fools, this pen, this bird.
It doesn’t say everybody is rich or poor. It says a person is rich or he isn’t and that includes middle or low income persons.
Does the law of excluded Middle which allows only the extremes relate to or contradict Aristotle’s’ Ethics of the mean.
Aristotle said all human attributes can be arranged in columns of three, e.g. humility,
- too low an opinion of yourself;
- to high an opinion of yourself; and
- self-respect, which is the mean in which you have just the right view of yourself, not too high and not too low.
This is not an explicit violation of the Law of Excluded Middle. Aristotle did not say either you are humble or you are not humble or there is a third possibility. He says either you are humble or you are not humble, and within not humble he allows two different values.
One way to violate the laws of identity and make something into nothing would be to say it is and it isn’t. Another way would be to say it’s neither A nor non-A in which case there would be nothing for it to be. It would be nothing.
But a thing has to be either A or non-A; it can’t be neither. Therefore it must be something. The Law of Identity, the Law of Non-Contradiction and the Law of Excluded Middle are the three laws of logic. It really is all one, the Law of Identity.
There are many more specific laws. For example, if A leads to B and A is true, then B must be true. But in that case and in all other cases they reduce back to these basic laws.
All the detailed logical laws and methods that we will study are merely detailed applications of the same basic principles. They are various ways of letting you know whether you are or are not adhering to the laws of identity.
What then does being logical consist of?
We can summarise in two generalised forms:
- negatively it means never hold contradictions;
- positively it means always check every conclusion you accept against the facts of Nature by means of logic.
Before coming to any conclusion, ask why, what are the facts, what are the premises which support it? Are they true, and does my conclusion follow from them? So it means putting the process of non-contradictory identification to work and insure that your conclusion does correspond to the facts.
Now what is the name given to the process of putting logic to work? It is called proof.
Proof is the process of deriving a conclusion from previously known truths by reference to the laws of logic. Note your premises must be true if they are to qualify as a proof.
Proof therefore is the process of deriving a conclusion step by step from the directly given evidence of the senses, each step being taken in accordance with the laws of logic.
If you start with sensory evidence and step by step your reasoning is guaranteed by the Law of Identity, at the end you can claim, „I know: I have proved it.“
What is the opposite of proof? That is putting something forth arbitrarily. The arbitrary means that which is put forth without evidence or proof, by whim.
This is the meaning of being logical: Avoid the contradictions and avoid the arbitrary; i.e. apart from axioms offer proof of every idea you have.
Emotionalism is the view that knowledge is possible by means other than logic based on sense experience.
It is the belief in non-sensory, non-rational means of knowledge or feelings.
If you ask the emotionalist how he knows if the knowledge from feelings is true or not he says, „If I get true knowledge, I just feel it.“
What if his feelings contradict somebody’s feelings? He says, „I know that my feelings are truer. I feel my knowledge is superior to his!“
So emotionalism is the view that feelings are valid tools of knowledge. Emotionalism is not an issue of the content of your viewpoint, but of the means that you put forth to validate that content.
The error of emotionalism is to believe that feelings are the only valid tools of knowledge. Why is it wrong?
On one level you could answer feelings are the product ultimately of one’s ideas, of one’s thinking. The fact that you have a certain feeling merely means that in some point in the past explicitly or implicitly you had a certain thought or thoughts. The fact that you have a feeling does not mean that the thought from which it comes is correct, that it is true to reality, that it is in tune with Nature.
If you were to establish the validity of your thought, you would need a method of validating the thought, i.e. you would need logic. This is what the emotionalist denies.
Emotionalism denies that man needs any standard or method to validate his conclusions.
It’s right simply because it exists in your mind. Emotionalism implies an automatic view of consciousness. It implies the view that human consciousness is a determined, automatically correct mechanism, which needs no logic to validate its content.
An animal simply takes its feelings as true, it doesn’t check or question it. People are taught to be like animals that behave according to their feelings. And some people think it is a higher state of development. So they recommend that we admire animals and use animals as our ideal for behaving correctly, because they are in harmony with Nature.
But animals are in harmony with Nature on a lower level and plants are also in harmony with Nature. Plants only require water and sunshine and air and soil to live. Should we imitate plants?
Animals either feed on other animals or they eat grass. They are certainly in harmony with Nature. Should we also be in harmony with Nature in the same fashion?
Neither animals nor plants use concepts, but we humans use concepts. And we can be in harmony with Nature by using concepts. And so we are in harmony with Nature in a human way. Humans can compose symphonies which bring us very close to Nature, they can paint beautiful pictures as in the case of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo which bring us very close to Nature and God. Of course we do not expect animals and plants to compose symphonies, poems or paint pictures in order to be in harmony with Nature.
Human consciousness is not automatic.
Consequently the result of emotionalism is to leave man cognitively helpless.
Emotionalism is a negative doctrine. It deprives man of any means of validating his intellectual content. It cuts the tie between human consciousness and existence and leaves man without any means of acquiring knowledge.
In ethics the equivalent would be no code of ethics. It is the denial of ethics. It deprives man of any standards to determine how to act. It means to rely upon whatever random values he already happens to have accepted whether they are valid or not.
So what the non-ethical man does in action, the emotionalist does in thoughts.
Prior to the time when logic was defined, people were in the position of emotionalists, sometimes using a little logic unconsciously. But in this primitive state they were full of superstition. They didn’t know how to challenge their confusion, how to straighten their thinking, how to conform it to reality, because no method had been defined. There was no standard to guide them.
But now, to reintroduce the idea of taking one’s feelings as the standard and to teach people to give up logic is simply to tell men that they should on principle think like animals.
A subjectivist can be compelled to admit that his own consciousness creates reality and that someone else’s creates it differently. You can discover a subjectivist when he says „This is true for me.“
His view is not A is A. His view is: A is A for you, it might be non-A for me, and it might be A and non-A for him, and it might be neither A nor non-A for her!
A isn’t A. It is what anybody wants it to be for him.
Subjectivists give you sentences that are true for some and not true for others. But it is not possible as you shall see.
Subjectivists say, „Some men like broccoli. That’s true for some and not for others!“ This statement is a statement of the fact that something can be true only of some men and not of others. Logic does not prohibit that a certain characteristic may be possessed by some members of a class and not by others. This is not an example of a statement that is true for some and not for others.
The statement “ Some men like broccoli“ is true for all men who like broccoli and it is just as true for all the men who do not like broccoli. It is equally true for broccoli haters that some men like broccoli.
Here is another statement: „I have a headache“. Koch has a headache and not Schmidt, so you say, „This statement is true for Koch and not for Schmidt.“
When Koch says, „I have a headache“, it means Koch has a headache, and that statement is true for everybody, for Schmidt and all the non-Schmidts in the world.
You can’t come up with a statement that is true for some and not true for others for the simple reason that A is A. If something is so, it is so, and it does not vary from person to person.
So do not say, „It is true for …“. If it’s true it’s true. It corresponds with the facts or it does not. It can’t correspond for some and not for others.
Emotionalism deprives man of any method of validating his thought. Subjectivism deprives him of any form of object about which to think.
Emotionalism cuts the tie between consciousness and existence, which means that it really denies that man is conscious: – if you are not conscious of existence, there is nothing else to be conscious of.
Subjectivism denies that there is a definite, firm reality.
The emotionalist says you don’t have to identify non-contradictorily. Any way is good. The subjectivist says there is nothing to identify. You create whatever you want by manipulating your mental content.
The pre-condition of being logical is to reject both: Logic implies a commitment to give proof, which means the complete abandonment of emotionalism. And it implies a commitment to objectivity, which is the recognition of the primacy of existence. That is to say facts are what they are independent of what goes in anybody’s mind, and therefore if you want to know facts you have to focus your mind outward, on the facts; not inward, on whatever runs through your consciousness.
Subjectivists think subjectivism makes them feel good. It’s true their ego is strengthened by believing their opinion is also wisdom and that Christ’s or Newton’s opinion is no better than their own.
But this egoistic satisfaction of having any opinion of yours recognised as equal to the opinion of anybody else cannot really last long. You will have the feeling that your opinion and the opinion of your friend which is the opposite of your opinion cannot both be equally right.
So contradictions cannot make you happy, because then you are not in tune with Nature.
PROOF OF LAW OF IDENTITY
Emotionalists and subjectivists say that if the whole structure of logic rests on the Law of Identity, then you must prove the Law of Identity:
It is true you cannot prove the laws of logic. The laws of logic are the pre-supposed of proofs. You couldn’t have a proof until you have the laws of logic. Therefore it would be theoretically impossible to offer a proof of the principles of proof.
To request a proof of the laws of logic is immediately to commit the fallacy of the stolen concept.
A person who says, „I don’t accept the laws of logic, but I’ll accept proof. Now give me a proof of logic“, must explain where he got such a concept as proof, and what makes proof possible if he doesn’t accept the laws of logic.
As soon as you say proof, it presupposes everything that proof depends on including the principles of proof. So the very request for proof of the laws of logic is a stolen concept.
That leaves us still with the question, „what is the status of the Law of Identity if it cannot be demonstrated?“
The Law of Identity is self-evident. It requires no outside evidence. Any case of directly perceiving reality is a case where you see self-evidently an instance of the Law of Identity, in the act of any sense perception of reality.
Whatever you see, even if you have no idea what it is, you know immediately that whatever it is, it is something. It is what it is.
The emotionalists who denounce the self-evident say it is arbitrary!
The subjective denounces it on the general that it is not objective!
The laws of logic are at the base of all human activities. They are the base of reasoning; they make it possible for people to speak and to take voluntary action.
We have seen why they are at the base of reasoning. Reasoning is simply the use of the laws of logic to derive conclusions from premises. So if anybody reasons or argues at all he is immediately using the laws of logic.
Why are they at the base of speaking? There are many points you could make, but the obvious point is if things are not what they are, there is nothing to refer to. If things aren’t what they are, there is nothing to refer to.
If nothing has identity, words have no meaning, and you can’t speak at all.
A discussion with a man who denies the laws of logic is evidently about nothing at all; for he says nothing, as he says neither yes nor no, but he says yes and no. He advocates contradiction. He’s saying the student got a note 2 and he didn’t get note 2.
And again he denies both of these and says neither yes nor no, for otherwise there would already be something definite. The opponent of the law of contradiction won’t commit himself to A or B or to anything being definite. So he says, „Yes, no; but not yes, and not no.“
One who is in this condition will not be able to speak nor to say anything intelligible, for he says at the same time both yes and no.
An opponent can reply, „I won’t speak explicitly then, but in my own mind, I’ll secretly say yes or no I’ll think it and I won’t think it.“
So if he makes no judgement but thinks and does not think, what difference will there be between him and a vegetable?
So the acceptance of the laws of logic is the pre-condition of all reasoning, of speech and of any deliberately initiated action. For why does a man walk to the garden and not stay at home when he thinks he ought to be walking there? Why doesn’t he walk into a pond if one happens to be in his way? Why do we observe him guarding against this? Evidently then he judges one to be better and another worse and if this is so he must also judge one thing to be a man and another to be not a man, one thing to be healthful and another to be not healthful.
He does not judge all things alike. When he thinks he should drink water or read a book he does it.
So everyone obviously avoids some things and not others. Therefore as it seems all men make judgements.
Some opponent say that is only a convenient assumption that we make, a practical necessity but it doesn’t represent true knowledge, only opinion.
If this is not knowledge but opinion they should be all the more anxious about the truth, as a sick man should be more anxious about his health than one who is healthy.
For he who has opinions is, in comparison with the man who knows, not in a healthy state as far as the truth is concerned. The laws of logic are at the base of all human activity, of reasoning, of speaking, of acting.
Therefore the laws of logic are inescapable. And this leads to a crucial conclusion, that they must be used even to be denied. They must be relied upon and accepted even by an opponent of the laws of logic. In the very act of denying them he uses them.
Imagine a sceptic who denies the laws of logic, who says, „I deny the laws of logic.“
- Aristotle:„I am happy to hear you are a champion of logic.“
- Sceptic:„You misunderstood me. I oppose the laws of logic. I am completely opposed to the Law of Identity.“
- Aristotle:„It does my heart good to hear such a strong advocate of logic.“
- Sceptic:„Look. You misunderstand me. I believe everything is contradictory. I completely deny the laws of logic in every respect. Everything is A and non-A.“
- Aristotle:„Marvellous. Now we have two people, you and me who champion logic.“
- Sceptic:„It’s impossible to talk to you. If I say the laws of logic are false, then they are false. If I say certain words, I say those words and not the opposite. And those words mean what they mean and nothing else. After all, A is A, things are what they are.“
So in the very act of denying the laws of logic, you are forced to reaffirm them, which simply illustrates the fact that all knowledge, speech, reasoning, thinking presupposes the laws of logic, so that even the opponents of those laws must use them to utter their position. In this sense the laws of logic are truly inescapable. As the self-evident base of all cognition they are presupposed in any speech.
You now know what logic is, why it is necessary, what’s wrong with some of the major attacks on it.
Logic gives us rules accumulated over the centuries on how to do correctly the process of non-contradictory identification. It’s a course on methodology, not on content, not on physics, chemistry or psychology. It’s object of study in the process of logical validation itself, no matter to what content or subject-matter that process is applied.
In logic there are two types of reasoning: deduction and induction. Each must be done according to the rules of logic in order to be valid. If they are not done according to the laws of logic, the conclusions will be invalid. The laws of logic protect us from false, invalid reasoning.
Here are two examples of invalid reasoning. One example is from deductive logic. The second example is from inductive logic.
- Invalid deductive reasoning:
All horses are strong.
All lions are strong.
Therefore all horses are lions.
- Invalid inductive reasoning:
This opponent admires me.
That opponent also admires me.
Therefore all my opponents admire me.
So when is deduction valid? When is induction valid? When is deduction or induction invalid? Logic is the science of valid inference or reasoning. Logic gives us the proper laws to insure that our deduction or induction is valid.
In addition to deduction and induction, there are two other topics to study in logic:
- the common or informal fallacies; informal because they are applicable no matter what the form of the reasoning – whether deductive or inductive. You can commit them no matter what the reasoning.
- definitions – the rules of proper definitions. This gets included because all reasoning presupposes clearly defined concepts.
You can see the relation between a course in epistemology and a course on logic. Epistemology is the much wider subject. It is concerned with the means of human knowledge in general and therefore it deals with a host of philosophical issues that are involved in the acquisition of knowledge, – for example, the validity of the senses, the theory of concept-formation, the status of axioms, the Nature of certainty, etc.
Logic does not deal with these broad philosophical subjects. It is one area within the broader area of epistemology, specifically the study of the process of inference. And the central question is, „Does such and such a conclusion follow from theses premises or not?“
In logic none of the major epistemological questions are explicitly raised. A logic course is a narrower, more technical study of one aspect of the process of acquiring knowledge – the process of inference.
ART OF LOGIC
Is logic an art or a science? It is both and it can be defined either way and it depends which perspective you are looking at.
When you think of logic as a method which men actually employ in governing their thoughts, that aspect of logic is an art, which consists of using a certain method. But when you consider the systematic study of this method and the formal elaboration of its principles, from that aspect logic is a science, the science describing the principles of that method.
Why is logic defined as the art of non-contradictory identification?
Fundamentally logic is a method. It is a way of guiding your thinking. But there are two different ways of looking at that. First from the point of view of the actual use of this method, the putting of it to work – in order to achieve a certain practical result in which case you would say it is an art, which is simply the implementation of a method to achieve a certain practical result.
Second you can discuss the systematic, scientific organisation of the principles of that method in which case you would say logic is the science which describes a certain method.
There is no contradiction between those. It depends on the context in which you are using it.
What is the relation between a volitional consciousness and one that is fallible? Does one presuppose the other? Yes.
A volitional consciousness is a consciousness that has a choice. It does not operate automatically. As such there is nothing in such a consciousness to guarantee that its volitional element will be performed in accordance with the facts of reality. Since it has choice, it has the choice to adhere to facts of reality or not.
Therefore any volitional consciousness would have to be fallible.
If a consciousness is fallible and capable of error, then the only way it could know anything would be if it had volition.
If he had a fallible consciousness but it was out of his control and went in deterministic form whichever way it went, then he would never be able to rely on any conclusion, because he would never know when he was determined by forces outside his control to make an error. And therefore a fallible consciousness, in order to be able to acquire any knowledge, would have to be a volitional consciousness.
A consciousness which could not acquire any knowledge would be unconscious.
REASON AND LOGIC
Reason is the much broader term. Reason means the conceptual faculty. Man has the faculty of sense perception. What makes men different from animals is his reason.
Logic is a more specific term. Logic designates the method that is involved when you reason. Reasoning involves two elements:
- the use of concepts and
- the inter-connection of those concepts by certain laws, viz logic.
Reasoning is the conceptual grasp uniting your concepts by means of logic. So concepts are elements which reason possesses. Logic is the method of inter-connecting; and the faculty which has conceptual thought and uses this method is reason.
How can you know if a book on logic is illogical and irrational?
Study the chapter on definitions.
Beware if it says that definitions are the expression of the way people arbitrarily use words. Reject the book if it says definitions express arbitrarily how you individually are going to use a word in a certain way.
Or reject it also if it says definitions express how men collectively use a word.
You know that this philosopher is certainly an irrationalist.