Author Topic: To logic, or not to logic, that is the question  (Read 1729 times)

Offline Eric Bright

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To logic, or not to logic, that is the question
« on: March 01, 2014, 12:59 AM »
Who needs logic? Can we stay clear of it and still operate as successfully as we do right now? What about animals? Are they subject to it too?

These questions can go on and on. A rudimentary answer to them is simple: You cannot get away without it!

The situation is very similar to the one in physics: In order for you to be, nature needed to exist. Similarly, in order to be able to even talk sensibly, some logical relationships need to hold. Even if you want to be wrong, some logical systems need to be referenced (this insight is Wittgenstein’s). (Wittgenstein, 1972)

But, how one can come to realize this? It doesn’t seem obvious at all to most people. Actually, to some people it might appear rather intimidating, cold, mechanistic, and heartless.

If we keep talking about logic, what we are studying now is the philosophy of logic. Philosophy of logic is not logic itself. When we talk about logic, we usually bring those weird symbols and notations to the table, we write is a different language, very similar to mathematics indeed, and we use jargon.

The first topic

Can there be any state of affairs that would satisfy all of the following conditions at the same time?
(1) It can be perceived by humans,
(2) It can be interpreted by humans,
(3) The interpretations mean something, i.e. they make sense,
(4) They don’t obey any logic (classical or non-classical)

About the first topic

The first topic is about logic. How it is, if it is necessary, where it has come from, why we need it, who needs it, and such. Latter, we will bring up some actual logical issues to the board for our investigations in future topic, but not now.

So, before we start our conversation, it is necessary to know what we are talking about first. Then we talk about it in detail. As such, it is expected of the participants to the discussions that would follow to have read the following articles before they post their comments. Reading of the first four items are mandatory for those who wish to participate.

1- The meaning of the term

2- Logic (Wikipedia article)

3- SEP entry on Logic and ontology

4- Non-classical logics (Wikipedia article)

5- InPhO map of logic in the context of philosophy (with links to SEP articles)

6- IEP entry on logic

7- Many wonderful encyclopedic articles describing different aspects of logic on SEP

8- A nice bibliography for introduction to logic (further readings)

9- Wikipedia’s bibliography on logic

10- Free, introduction books on logic:

(a)- forall x – An Introduction to Formal Logic, by P.D. Magnus

(b)- Logic Self-Taught: A Workbook, by Katarzyna Paprzycka

(c)- Logic, a Wikipedia book (a collection of Wikipedia articles on logic)

11- Logic Portal on Wikipedia (a list of all topics related to logic on Wikipedia. Click of the [show] link on the right end of each row to open the lists.)

12- philpapers catalogue of Logic and Philosophy of Logic

Please bear in mind that we are going to talk about logic as “abstract formal structures” and not “in the context of a theory of the mind,” that is to say we are not going to “cover good reasoning as a whole. That is the job of the theory of rationality.” (“Logic,” 2014)

Okay! If you are ready, let us discuss the first topic then.


Logic. (2014, February 28). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Wittgenstein, L. (1972). On Certainty. (D. Paul & G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans., G. E. M. Anscombe & G. H. von Wright, Eds.). Harper Perennial.
“Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence.”

Offline Andreas Geisler

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Re: To logic, or not to logic, that is the question
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2014, 03:35 AM »
Ok, my answer.
1) If it can be perceived by humans, it means that we have percepts that lead us to inductively assume that it exists.
2) If it can be interpreted by humans, it means that humans may have previous experiences that let us analyze the thing into manageable parts.
3) If the parts "make sense" it must mean that the parts fit a previously formed metaphor, i.e. it maps onto a previously abduced pattern.
4) This means that the questions already presuppose logicality, i.e. induction and abduction. Of course, each of the preceding steps is probabilistic and can be wrong. We may form erroneous concepts and erroneous analyses and erroneous mappings, and our patterns may be false as well, so 4 can only be true if the ontological differs distinctly from the mental models of it, and even then, only if we mean the ontological in posing 4.