What is LOGIC? Logic does NOT Provide PROOFS and TRUTHS!
We hear this assertion all the time:
“Hey dude, logic is everything! All of existence depends on logic. Without logic, you wouldn’t exist, wouldn’t be able to think, wouldn’t be able to talk intelligibly, wouldn’t be able to blah blah.....”
When we ask the proponent why it is so, his response is always: “Nobody knows, but it just is man, it just is....trust me, ok?”
Sorry dude, but these outrageous claims will need a rational explanation. Perhaps some choose to have faith on what their Priest (i.e. authority) tells them, but those who can think for themselves do things a little differently.
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. When people have been raised in a faith-based environment, it’s extremely difficult to divorce themselves from that pernicious ideology and its entire associated lingo. Even the so-called atheists or ex-theists who claim superior intellect over other humans, have nothing but faith-based dogma which is evident in their irrational statements. It is quite normal for people to ascribe mysticism to something which they don’t fully understand. They have been doing this for millennia....and “logic” is no exception.
This article will expose such idiocies and rationally put logic back into its proper context.
WHAT IS LOGIC?
Before we can unambiguously understand what logic is, we must first dispel some irrational notions that have been attributed to the word “logical”. The word “logical” is not a synonym for any of these terms: rationality, analytical, reason or critical thinking. Although these concepts may be applied to the analysis of a logical argument, they are distinct and mutually-exclusive from logic in and of itself. Most people think that these and possibly other unrelated concepts are synonymous with logic. Clearly, they are not.
Logic is nothing more than a pre-defined CONTEXT-BASED system of derivational inference. Humans have invented thousands of Systems of Logic, many of which are incompatible with each other. Since logic is context-based, one logical system is not applicable to all others. Hence, it is impossible for logic to be absolute! As a system of inference, logic is predicated on the context of its axioms (contextual rules) and its premises (assumptions) which set a starting point on the system’s derivational inference tree.
Axioms and derivational inference trees are explained in the article below:
The “process” of logic is applied to the logical arguments we wish to formulate. Our logical arguments must provide a set of premises (assumptions) which will be used as the “knowledge base or domain”, so to speak, from which to derive (i.e. infer) logical conclusions.
TYPES OF LOGICAL INFERENCE
Generally, there are two types of logical inference we can perform:
1) DEDUCTIVE – This reasoning consists of deriving our conclusion directly from our premises without adding any new assertions to our conclusion. All conclusions must be traceable directly back to the specified premises.
2) INDUCTIVE - This reasoning consists of generalizing, extrapolating or attributing probability to principles, empirical facts, observed phenomena, etc. A popular example of this is to say: “The Sun will rise tomorrow”. It always has, so there is no reason to think it won’t.
In the rest of this article, whenever we use the word “logic”, we are tacitly referring to logic performed by deduction; the most widely used inference. Induction has limited uses, most of which revolve around Philosophical disciplines.
LOGIC DOES NOT PROVE! LOGIC ONLY INFERS!
Q: How does logic work?
A: By explicit ASSUMPTION of statements (i.e. premises) and implicit DERIVATION of conclusions. The conclusions are “inferred” from the assumptions.
This is worth repeating: Logic is a system of inference which works by way of explicit ASSUMPTION and implicit DERIVATION!
Logic necessarily requires that you explicitly posit certain assumptive statements (assertions/premises). These will form the basis of your so-called “logical” argument. After you DERIVE conclusions which stem directly from your assumptions, some will say that you have logically “proven” your argument directly from your premises.
Q: Surely, some can say whatever they want....but what did you really “prove”?
A: You have proved NOTHING! You have only INFERRED (i.e. via induction or deduction). Most people unwittingly use the term “proof” while not understanding its implications. Proof implies certainty, even though certainty is impossible to attain. Logic cannot offer any alleged certainty. Infer implies derivation. Logic can only derive an ASSUMED conclusion from its premises. “Proof” and “infer” are two different concepts. Never the twain shall meet!
Case in point: Here is an example of a logically consistent, sound and logically valid deductive argument....
Premise 1: The human body is made up of cells.
Premise 2: Cells are invisible to the naked eye.
Conclusion: Therefore, the human body is invisible to the naked eye.
This is a logically valid conclusion stemming from the axioms and the assumed premises! If you are one of those believers who think that logic has anything to do with “truth” or with reality, then you have no choice but to accept this conclusion as proven truth. You may not like the conclusion of this logical argument, but your subjectivities have nothing to do with logic. Logic is pre-defined to work in this context – you cannot fight it. In fact, you would have to deny logic and go outside its scope in order to attempt to refute this logical argument. Even if you try to use the so-called Logical Fallacies against this argument, you will be pissing outside the bucket. Why? Because the so-called Logical Fallacies have nothing to do with the scope of a Logical System! Remember: only axioms + premises + inferred conclusions form the scope of a logical argument – nothing else. The only way to refute the above argument is to deny logic and use a rational argument which is predicated on reality (i.e. existence) rather than tautologies.
But the Master Logician will laugh and disagree.....and the comments section is right below this article if he thinks he can justify his disagreement with an argument.
LOGICAL CONCLUSIONS CAN ONLY BE “FORMALLY VALID” – NEVER “TRUE”
Remember: Logic is a system of inference which works by way of explicit ASSUMPTION and implicit DERIVATION.
The central notion of logic is the notion of logical consequence which enables us to justify our conclusion. Logical inference is the technique which implements the concept of logical consequence and enables us to derive our conclusion.
Logic can never be relied upon to give you validity in terms of a “proven truth” or “absolute certainty”. Those who don’t understand logical systems, their limitations and how they are used will often parrot that “logic is the only way to certainty”. This is a totally absurd notion which was put to rest by Godel in the last century. People need to educate themselves in these matters before they embarrass themselves attempting to “prove” all sorts of nonsense in YouTube videos.
Since it is predicated on logical consequence, logic is only concerned with FORMAL VALIDITY; also known as "logical validity".
Q: What is formal validity?
A: A logical inference is “formally valid” (logically valid) when its conclusion logically follows (i.e. is derived directly) from the premises.
This is the only “guarantee” which you can ever hope to obtain from your logical argument, whether you like it or not. Contrary to popular belief, logic is not magic! Truth, proof and absolute certainty can only be obtained from the arrogance of Religion. The thinkers among us are able to distinguish reality from fantasy.
LOGIC IS DIVORCED FROM REALITY!
Clearly, logic cannot be used as a tool of inference to “prove” anything about reality. Logic is inherently limited by its assumptions (axioms and premises). All logical conclusions are implicitly derived (inferred) from the assumptions. In fact, you cannot go outside the assumptions to derive conclusions because your argument would no longer be “logical”. Any conclusion you draw from a logical argument is purely conceptual (derivation-based) and not empirical (sensory-based). It is the assumptions and the assumption alone, which necessitate the conclusion in your logical argument - not your sensory system. Your sensory system is outside the scope of logic because it is empirical and has its own sensory bandwidth limitations.
Your sensory system is used to validate truth propositions....whereas logic is used to DERIVE conclusions directly from the assumptions. This is the distinction which most people don’t understand. Your sensory system is used to allegedly “prove”, whereas your logical argument can only possibly “infer”.
Since logic cannot provide truths and proofs, any conclusion you draw from a logical argument can only be said to be LOGICALLY VALID in accordance with the assumptions. Obviously, such a conclusion is not a truth, much less a proof! Those who decree that their logical arguments are “proof” or “truth”, or that they have anything to do with reality....are ignorant as to what logic is and what it’s used for. These folks really need to educate themselves and understand the issues before they perpetuate their ignorance to others. Any conclusion you draw from your logical argument is only "logically valid" insofar of the assumptions (axioms and premises). That is, your conclusion can only be believed to be valid, as opposed to "logically valid", in accordance with the initial assumptions. Your logical argument and your conclusion cannot be objectively validated to apply to reality. It’s only a mere description of what you chose to describe within the limits of your premises. How can one objectively validate any premise or inferred conclusion to prove with certainty that it applies to reality? Anyone?
LOGIC FAILS TO INFER TRUTHS ABOUT REALITY
If you are not yet convinced that logic is divorced from reality, here is a simple test to see if Logic can provide us with a “true” conclusion about reality:
Those who consider themselves versed in logic should have NO problem answering the following question and providing a logical argument (premises + conclusion) which justifies their answer as “truth”. There are tons of empirical observations from Relativity, Quantum, String Theory, M-Theory and other disciplines which have PROVEN the TRUE mechanism of gravity. I mean, empiricism is the “bread & butter” of the Logician who uses these observed “truths” as PREMISES into his logical arguments, right? So the proponent of Logic shouldn’t have any excuse to not be able to logically infer the “true” conclusion, right? Feel free to use whatever logical formulas, theorems or symbols you wish. Please post your answer in the comments section below, or post a link to it online.
Q: When you let go of a ball, what is the TRUE LOGICAL reason of why it falls to the floor?
a) Because it slides down warped space?
b) Because gravitons impart negative momentum on it and make it fall down?
c) Because gravity waves ripple spacetime and make it fall down?
d) Because a force pulls it down?
e) Because gravity pulls it down?
f) Because a plasma vortex pulls it down?
g) Because the Earth expands and touches the bottom of the ball?
h) Because space has a dimension which makes it fall down?
i) Because energy makes it fall down?
j) Because (insert your own reason...any reason)?
All the Logician has to do is tell the members of the audience which one of these options his logical inference concluded. I mean, Logic does indeed have the power to utilize the true empirical observations we have about reality and draw a conclusion, right? If not, then Logic has nothing to do with reality. You can’t have it both ways like they do in Religion!
After this simple exercise the proponent of Logic will inevitably realize that:
1) Logic is purely conceptual, pre-defined, rule-based, derivational, assumptive, descriptive, non-explanatory and observer-dependent. This summarily renders logic to be subjective, whether we like it or not. Logic is subject to its assumed context! Logic was never intended to be applied outside the limits of its inferred derivations. As such, logic cannot be used to draw conclusions about reality because logic is divorced from reality.
2) Reality is observer-independent; has no rules, no assumptions and no derivations; i.e. reality is objective! Reality can only be rationally explained by humans; never logically asserted as truth or belief.
3) The purpose of logic is to solve DERIVATIONAL-TYPE problems....not to confuse, misdirect and persuade.
4) Questions concerning reality are not derivational-type problems!
Logic has its system-imposed limits, whereas human intelligence and critical thought has no limits, whether systemic or physical.
Logic is an anthropocentric system of inference restricted to systems comprised of pre-defined rules (axioms) and initial assumptions (premises).
There is NO provision for TRUTH or PROOF in any System of Logic. The axioms and assumptions prohibit it. All logical conclusions are derivationally inferred from one’s assumptions. It is impossible to prove conclusions from assumptive premises.
Logic is not magic, and it certainly isn’t Physics. Logic has nothing to do with existence. Reality is NOT logical....it just is! Reality couldn't care less about humans, their anthropocentric Systems of Logic and the subjective conclusions they infer as alleged “truths”. Reality can only be rationally explained.
We continue our analysis of logic in our next article on the LIMITATIONS of logic: