LOGIC - Its Laws, Premises and LIMITATIONS
Atheists and theists alike have attributed much mysticism, fantasy, magical powers and God-like status to the word LOGIC. They have made it eternal, transcendent, absolute, incorporeal, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient....among other ridiculous claims. Logic has been reified and transformed into something incredible which can be used by its proponents to accomplish practically anything. People out there want to be recognized as “Logicians” in order to be worthy intellectuals deserving of respect and prestige. They flaunt their expert logical (magical) skills on YouTube and utilize them to prove or disprove anything under the Sun.
But if these folks don’t understand what logic is, how it’s used and what are its LIMITATIONS, then their amusing sermons on YouTube are pathetically worthless. It’s quite normal for people to ascribe mystical powers to something which they don’t fully understand. Humans have been doing this for millennia....and “logic” is no exception.
This article will explain the inherent and unavoidable limitations of logic,.... strip away all of its excess out-of-context baggage,.... destroy the supernatural powers ascribed to it by fools,.... and rationally put it back into its proper former boring glory.
WHAT IS LOGIC?
Please visit the article below to understand what “logic” is and how it’s used:
PEOPLE MISUSE LOGIC TO CIRCUMVENT ITS LIMITATIONS
....and Aristotle was no exception!
Logic was invented in Classical Greece and used as a system of inference by Aristotle. He claimed to use logic as a tool for finding TRUTH, but it didn't prevent him from making some the most profound errors of thought. Most of the arguments and conclusions he made about physical science were misguided and irrational. But this is not limited to those pre-scientific days of enlightenment. Even to this day, logic is misused repeatedly and on purpose. And there will probably be no end to its purposeful misuse because logic is one of the most powerful tools for deception and coercion in modern societies.
So why did Aristotle make such profound errors with his logic? I mean, he did feed true premises into his arguments in order to logically deduce true conclusions, right? So where could he have possibly gone wrong?
Aristotle’s error was in his stubbornness and refusal to concede that the concept of “truth” ultimately resolves to none other than opinion! To understand the critical issues surrounding this God-like word TRUTH, please visit the articles below:
Centuries before Aristotle, it was the Sophists of Ancient Greece who understood and reasoned that “truth is what suits the individual’s interests”. Even though Aristotle was adamantly against this “seemingly” absurd notion, he was never able to refute it. He instead ignored it and blindly marched forward with his agenda to apply the pernicious concept of “truth” to the Natural Sciences (i.e. reality). His logical process of reasoning necessitated the use of his allegedly TRUE PREMISES to infer allegedly TRUE CONCLUSIONS about reality.
In reality, there are no true premises. Truth is an irrational observer-dependent concept which cannot be achieved within the confines of the extremely limited human sensory system. In Mathematical systems we define tautological statements such as 2+2=4 to be logically valid by virtue of their deduction from lower order statements. Though, many will erroneously label such statements as “true” because they don’t understand that tautological systems are DEFINED to be valid. Truth is a concept which is validated via empiricism, not via definition – obviously!
Q: Why obviously?
A: Because it takes an observer and their sensory system to perform the action of “validate”. Definitions are concepts. Concepts do not perform actions, like “validate” – obviously!
This is so important, that it’s worth repeating: Truth is a concept which is validated via empiricism, not via definition!
It goes without saying that many people don’t understand the concept of “truth”, its dependency on validation and its ultimate implications. And it is these ignorant folks who are confused and unwittingly create a Religion around THEIR concept of “truth”. It is these awestruck starry-eyed folks who have reified and raised “truth” to a God-like status.
Since Aristotle thought that the mind contains some innate and absolutely true knowledge (from birth) that can be used as premises for logical arguments, he refused to accept the verification limits inherent in the concept of truth. Namely, that truth can only be verified via sensory perception. And this is why he made so many blunders with his logical arguments about reality.
In similar fashion, medieval scholars also brought logic to a height of absurdity, as is evidenced in their recycled arguments in use on the Internet today. They developed various logical arguments which proved the existence of God from allegedly “true” premises. These arguments are still used by scholars to this day. The Kalam Cosmological Argument is a fine example of these absurdities:
Another misuse of logic is to assume that the conclusions from a logical argument represent new “truths” or new profound discoveries. In fact, the deduced conclusions are just restatements and repackaging of the content contained in the premises. They are tautologies. People need to understand what logic is and how it is used before they continue to make the same errors that humans made for the past 2500 years. Only then can they ever hope to understand that conclusions are DERIVED, not discovered.
Sure, the conclusions may “seem” to present new knowledge to a layman, but they contain no more than the information asserted in the premises. Of course, the proponents of these logical arguments will sell their conclusions as snake oil, and present them in a way that seems to give us new insight and new discoveries. But they don’t fool anyone! People who understand how logic works will be the first to point out that NO new conclusions or truths are generated from such logical arguments. This is especially noticeable in mathematics. Without considerable education in mathematics, the deductions from even a small set of premises are not at all obvious, and may take considerable time to relate, infer and understand.
The bottom line is that logic alone cannot tell us anything new about reality. Ditto for mathematics, as Albert Einstein stated:
"Insofar as mathematics is exact, it does not apply to reality; and insofar as mathematics applies to reality, it is not exact." -- Einstein
It is impossible to use Systems of Logic in Science to formulate Hypotheses and Theories.
Because a Hypothesis defines all the key terms of the presentation, identifies all the mediators which perform events in the Theory, and sets the initial scene prior to phenomena. The Theory is simply a rational explanation of a natural phenomenon (event), like the behavior of light, gravity, magnetism, etc. There is no provision for logical systems, derivations, truth or proof in the Scientific Method. The layman will surely disagree because he doesn’t understand Logic or the Scientific Method. The layman needs to seriously educate himself and understand that logic only solves Derivational-Type problems; i.e. tautologies! Hypotheses and Theories are NOT Derivational-Type problems – they are NOT tautologies! Furthermore, the layman will need to understand that a Theory is a rational explanation of a consummated event....not a speculation of one. In Science we don’t speculate and delude the audience. In Science we explain.
Science is the study of reality (existence). Reality is objective. As such, reality can only be critically reasoned and rationally explained. Reality cannot be tautologically inferred from premises. In this context, premises are nothing more than observer-dependent assumptions, but are sold to the unsuspecting audience as alleged “truths” about reality. It is in Religion where they are so arrogant as to have all the truths and proofs about reality and the human factor. In reality, the best we can ever hope to achieve is to hypothesize mediators for natural phenomena, and use them to rationally explain (i.e. theorize) why the phenomena occur the way they do.
Outside the context of rule-based (tauto)Logical Systems and their derivations, Logic and Mathematics are instruments of error and self-delusion....if not coercion. Whenever you hear a Politician, Lawyer, Theologian or Evangelist casting verbal arguments in the trappings of logic, you can bet your life that this sophist is selling snake oil.
The purpose of logic is to solve derivational-type problems....not to confuse, misdirect and persuade. Why do so many people out there purposefully use logic to form intellectually dishonest (and invalid) arguments?
LOGIC LIMITS OUR REASONING ABILITIES TO THE PREMISES OF OUR ARGUMENT
Remember: Logic is a system of inference which works by way of explicit ASSUMPTION and implicit DERIVATION!
This means that we can only derive “logical” conclusions from our assumed premises alone! We cannot go outside our premises to derive conclusions because derivation only occurs within the scope of our premises and axioms (i.e. derivation tree). Otherwise, our argument would not be “logically sound” and thus, invalid. This is what a logical argument does....it LIMITS our conceptual realm of reasoning within the confined scope of our premises. And this is the “logical system” which our argument is based on. We cannot go outside the limits of this system, for if we do, we are being illogical (defying logic). All logical arguments necessarily have a limited scope of inference. In fact, you cannot formulate any logical argument which defies these systemic limits. It’s unavoidable!
Since our ability to “infer” within any System of Logic is limited to its axioms and premises, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to use logic for critical reasoning and rational analysis. These are separate activities of thought which fall outside the scope of logic because they cannot have any systemic restrictions (i.e. tautological, derivational) imposed on them. Such activities cannot be said to be “logical” because they go above and beyond the extremely limited scope of logic. Such activities of thought and reason may include, but are certainly not limited to the following:
1) Being able to unambiguously define all the KEY terms in one’s argument so they can be used consistently within their dissertation. Logic cannot help you here. Logic is defined by us. Logic has no power to define for us!
2) Reasoning why all the actors (i.e. objects) in one’s dissertation must be amenable to illustration (i.e. visualized), while all the interactions or relations between them must be defined. For example: God, singularities, spacetime, dilated time, photons, waves, warped space, black holes, etc. need to be illustrated if ‘they’ are alleged to perform events. Motion needs to be defined if you allege that your objects above ‘move’.
3) Reasoning why we cannot reify concepts into objects and why we cannot attempt to ascribe motion/actions to concepts. For example: love cannot move mountains, even though many claim ‘it’ can.
4) If events are described in one’s argument, then they should be able to make a movie of them. There is no reason why one shouldn’t be able to illustrate all the objects and their interactions without any missing frames. Furthermore, motion cannot be ascribed to the objects within a single frame.
5) Providing an “explanation” as to WHY an event occurred the way it did; it’s mechanism, who were its mediators, etc.....and not just a petty “description” of what happened. Logic is especially bankrupt in assisting with this formidable task.
This is just a small subset of the many issues we need to critically reason and address in our arguments. There is no doubt that Systems of Logic CANNOT help us in such mental activities because logic is inapplicable to thought processes which cannot be inferred from within the confines of premises and rules. Such complex thought processes can only be dealt with using our rationality which is not limited in scope by tautological systems and their pre-conditions.
Furthermore, logic is descriptive. It can be used to describe a situation using its premises and infer a “descriptive” conclusion which is a restatement of its premises. Logic has no explanatory capability and gives no new information in its conclusions. We cannot explain WHY an event occurred using any type logical argument. Logic cannot help us conclude that a ball falls to the floor because gravitons, forces or warped space intervened and made it happen. Logic only INFERS from a limited subset of premises....logic never EXPLAINS. An explanation can only be reasoned using critical thought and rational analysis outside the confines of a limited (tauto)logical system.
SYSTEMS OF LOGIC ARE BY DEFINITION, DIVORCED FROM REALITY
Logic is INAPPLICABLE to reality (i.e. existence). Reality is NOT rule-based....NOT pre-defined by humans or by God....NOT tautological....and certainly has NO specified scope or context. Reality just IS. We can only use the Scientific Method to rationally explain reality’s phenomena; i.e. “why the ball falls to the floor instead of the ceiling”. No amount of logic will help us in this endeavor.
Remember: Logic has its system-imposed limits, whereas human intelligence, critical thought and rationality have no limits.
It is our critical thinking and rational analysis skills which are put to use when explaining events in reality.
Thomas Hofweber summarized it well in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
"logic, deals with certain valid inferences and good reasoning based on them. It does not, however, cover good reasoning as a whole. That is the job of the theory of rationality. Rather it deals with inferences whose validity can be traced back to the formal features of the representations that are involved in that inference, be they linguistic, mental, or other representations.” -- Thomas Hofweber
Logic is necessarily divorced from reality (i.e. existence). Reality can never be asserted nor inferred. Reality can only be rationally explained.
There are far too many dishonest self-professed Philosophers on the Internet who misrepresent logic, its uses, capabilities and limitations. These clowns have reified logic into an all-powerful, absolute, transcendent, formless entity that was either created by God, the Big Bang, or is otherwise eternal. It’s about time this nonsense is put to rest. It’s about time that logic is placed back into its former and proper context.
Like Politicians and Evangelists, most people these days are using logic as nothing more than an instrument of persuasion. But the misuse of logic is rampant in practically all fields, including Academia, Mathematical Physics, Engineering, Medicine, Advertising and Pharmaceuticals, just to name a few.
“...logic, the refuge of fools. The pedant and the priest have always been the most expert of logicians—and the most diligent disseminators of nonsense and worse.” -- H. L. Mencken