Thursday, May 04, 2006

Logic

I have recently debated logic with several theists, a fundamental Calvinist and a Roman Catholic, and they both tried to argue that logic is an external manifestation and phenomena of god that we as cognitive entities merely tap into. I disagreed for I claim that logic is a product of the mind based on and influenced by the foundational laws and consistent mechanisms of material existence, or to put it plainly the "nature of reality." Logic is necessarily a product of the mind rather than a law of the universe itself and certainly not some external characteristic or attribute of any supernatural entity/force. These misguided and piously intoxicated theists claimed that logic itself was a law of the universe and I, again, disagreed. For I define logic as a mode or system of reasoning with formal principles, surely these formal principles are based on and influenced by the various laws of the universe but logic is not, itself, one of these laws as the theists were arguing. Logic is *not* a law of nature and it is not a force of material existence, without a mind that is. However the fundamental laws and truths upon which logic is built certainly are logical. They are logical because they are susceptible to our observations, reasoning, analysis and understanding and they are susceptible to these things because they are necessarily predictable and the universe is predictable because it is an amalgam of consistent material mechanisms, thus these laws and mechanisms are logically coherent. I would point out that this does not mean that logic itself is a law but that, via evolution of the mind, logic is a product of these laws. I also claim, contrary to the theists positions, that logic did not always exist but that it has evolved with numerous species and that it varies in intricacy. Logic evolved and came to fruition within the mind based on and because of the various laws of the material universe, not because it always existed and that any given species with a mind then taps into it. I claim that logic has not always existed, the foundation for which logic was reliant on to evolve and come to be surely always existed but not logic itself. I would point out that I view logic as evolutionary phenomena, much like life on earth.

My main point is that logic itself does not really govern anything. It is not a law or force unto itself, but a product of the various laws, forces and material mechanisms of the universe.

Logic, like mathematics, is a secondary product of the nature of reality not the nature of reality itself.

11 comments:

elijeremiah said...

Quote: "My main point is that logic itself does not really govern anything. It is not a law or force unto itself, but a product of the various laws, forces and material mechanisms of the universe."

What an awesome thesis!! I think this is one of the best thing's you've ever written.Oklahoma is so lucky to have you, lol.

JDHURF said...

Thank you for the flattery, I appreciate it!

Kevin Parry said...

Thank you for your comments on my blog.

This is a good article. I’ve always wondered if logic, being a product of the human mind, will one day be surpassed or replaced by some greater form of thought that describes the universe in a much better way. I wonder if we will ever enter some ‘post-logic’ era.

All the best
Kevin

Memoirs of an ex-Christian

JustinOther said...

I don't think humans will survive long enough to get to post-logic. We're making the Earth uninhabitable pretty quickly.

I do think there may be a way of perciving things that is "post-logic". It just seems there are things that could be explained if there were another way of thinking about them. I don't think the human brain has evolved enough yet.

TOR Hershman said...

I bet you, and most Atheist/Rationalist, will dig my blog.

Stardust said...

Where are ya JD?

JDHURF said...

Yeah I’ve been on an extended hiatus lately because my computer crashed and my new wi-fi is apparently as reliable and consistent as John McCain, not very.

Thank you to everyone that stopped by and left a comment, I really appreciate it!

Young Physicalist said...

I think that logic is a mental tool which has been demonstrated repeatedly to be successful. Logic is a tool developed to reason correctly, based on observations of the universe (something cannot both exist & not exist is an accurate assessment based on observation).

JDHURF said...

Aspergian Humanist,

I agree with you, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Young Physicalist said...

I'd also like to add that the laws of logic describe physical relations or physical causual relations as a secondary property of the physical world. That is to say, the physical properities of the universe lead to the laws of logic. Take, for instance, the law of distributity. It falls at the quantum level.

Riker said...

"Logic is *not* a law of nature and it is not a force of material existence, without a mind that is. However the fundamental laws and truths upon which logic is built certainly are logical."

Excellent.

Being that logic is an abstract derived from those laws, the logicality of those laws is necessarily inherent.

Rather, if we were to investigate a universe which did not behave logically (from our perspective), there would still be a logic defined according to the attributes of that system. A certain behavior which we would deem illogical in our universe would be perfectly logical (and predictable) within the logic of that universe.

kevin parry -
As far as logic being the method behind human reasoning (well, I guess in the best case scenario, at least) - I wouldn't say that there'd be a better way to view the universe that could be called post-logic...

Logic, since it is defined by the laws of the universe, cannot be refuted. What can happen is that we may adapt a more complete and accurate understanding of logic, but I wouldn't call it post-logic any more than scientific advancements would constitute 'post-science'.

Anyone here familiar with the Singularity? Once it happens, we'll be in a position to explore that superior concept of logic. My optimistic bet is 30 years... but that's a discussion for another time.