Theory Of Knowledge Essay, Research Paper
What is Logic?
“There is no scientific evidence that civilization is synonymous with Aristotelian rationality the syllogism, the negation and the abstract classification are not discoveries of reality itself, of an eternal, absolute or self-evident truth-but simply linguistic inventions of conceptual tools which people find useful in varying degrees according to their life situation”
Discuss this quote in reference to two different forms of knowledge: Physics and History.
In order to comprehend what kind of role logic has in reality, as well as in different forms of knowledge, we must first interpret what is meant by this Aristotelian rationality. Then each subject was analyzed critically and then laid side by side to logic, so see that subjects such as history and physics are actually forms of logic applied to the world to gain more knowledge. Man is naturally curious and has created subjects to understand different aspects of the world. But since logic is a man made tool, it can be used to understand an event controlled or created by man, and cannot understand something that is one hundred percent natural.
For something to be logical, it must make sense and have a rational and understandable explanation. There are two types of logic, deductive and inductive. Logic, whether inductive or deductive, must have a premise. To have a sound argument, I had to have two true premises and the conclusion had to be in specific relation to the premises given. The premises come from our knowledge, and more specifically that the Empiricist called sense perception. When we put reasoning into these premises, we come up with a conclusion that also becomes part of our knowledge. Therefore, logic is a tool that is applied to knowledge to gain more knowledge. For example, if I know that I only have red socks, and that I’m wearing a pair of my socks, through these premises I can come to the conclusion that it socks I have on right now must be red. This argument is sound and valid and therefore logical. One can also argue that an argument with false premises can also make sense and have and a rational and understandable explanation. But the fact of drawing a conclusion of something that is not true is illogical. The reason behind logic is to gain more knowledge, so what would we gain by drawing reasonable conclusions from something that isn’t true in the first place? Therefore, logic can be defined as a sound and valid argument in order to gain more knowledge.
History is usually known to most as the memorization of dates but there is more to history than just memorizing a bunch of dates. It is understanding the past, and comprehending why it occurred thus gaining more knowledge than what just happened. Historians and students of history use logic to understand history and often run into disagreements in viewpoints. Logic is used to explain one’s views about a controversial issue. There are times where subjective views play a role in interpreting past events, but they are not accepted as a valid argument in explaining or supporting a thesis. To support a claim or a viewpoint, one must use a logical explanation supported by strong evidence that is of course true. For example, say a person was to discuss the ambitions of Napoleon. In the Napoleon code, he discouraged the freedom of press and made sure that the press was limited in what they could say. The Old Regime, before the rule of Napoleon, allowed the freedom of press and did not suppress the press. It would be a sound and valid argument to say that Napoleon’s rule was unlike the Old Regime. Then if history is based on sound, valid and arguments why are there so much controversy on one issue? This is because although logic can be applied to human creations, it cannot be applied to non-human creations. Events of the past are a part of a human creation because it was humans took part in these events. When we start to judge history, people can have different views of what is significant and what isn’t. Take the same example of Napoleon. Although he limited the press, he also promoted the rights of the peasants. This can be seen as a similarity of the Old Regime. Does this mean that Napoleon’s rule was much like the Old Regime? Some people may think that the suppressing the press is more significant point that the rights of the peasants and others may think the opposite. Therefore, history is human’s unsuccessful attempt in applying logic to explain past events.
Physics can be seen as an imitation of the world so that it would be suitable to apply logic in order to explain this phenomena ‘nature’ as well as the world. With this imitation, physics explains nature pretty well. For example, according to the ideal gas law, PV=NRT. Which means pressure times the volume equals the number of moles of that certain gas, times the constant R, times absolute temperature. Yet an imitation is just merely an imitation and does not fully explain nature. For example, the ideal gas law only applies to an ideal gas, which doesn’t exist. To be an ideal gas, the gas has to possess certain qualities, such as the molecules have to be in continuous motion and no energy must be lost in collisions with another. In physics, we just assume that all gases are ideal to make calculation, thus the application of logic, easier. Something in nature is impossible to imitate because the fact of imitating makes it no longer a part of nature, but a human creation. One may argue that physics can explain the motion of a car and it’s force when it hits a brick wall. But what kind of human can drive a car at the exact speed of say 60 kilometers per hour for a specific amount of time without having some faults? Also when the car does hit the wall, not all the force goes to the wall but some is lost between friction, heat and in forms of sound. This is ignored when calculating the force to allow logic to be applied to this subject. Therefore physics is another unsuccessful human attempt to use logic to explain the world around us.
It is not merely the subjects history and physics that logic is applied to the world as a whole. It is all the subjects, math, chemistry, English. All are unsuccessful attempt, for logic is basically a tool to help our understanding of nature, it does not originate from within. It is not the concept of logic that is at fault but where it is applied to, that is a problem. There is no problem in applying logic to physics but ‘physics’ is not achieving it’s purpose in completely understanding nature for that fact that nature cannot be duplicated. If nature cannot be recreated, how are able to capture a moment of it to understand it? Therefore, subjects are merely logic applied different aspects of a human simulation of nature that is changed in varies ways in order to satisfy the human’s want of information and comprehend the world around.