Summary: Rationalists often believe that ability to logically explain a natural phenomenon is sufficient in itself. However, this is not so. Logic has to be used with caution, since otherwise a drift into falsehood is quite likely.
Limitations of Logic Summary: Rationalists often believe that ability to logically explain a natural phenomenon is sufficient in itself. However, this is not so. Logic has to be used with caution, since otherwise a drift into falsehood is quite likely. Francis Bacon in 16th century advocated principles of objectivity and rationality in dealing with human affairs in his book ‘Novum Organum’. His beliefs were, in part, outcome of his reaction to subjective considerations and dogmatic beliefs prevailing in human society in his times. But he hardly realized that even these principles are liable to degeneration over a period of time. We often witness as well as practice degenerated versions of these principles in our day to day living. We often, arbitrarily or otherwise, take a stand and argue at length rightly or wrongly in support of our view point and habitually trash opposing arguments irrespective of their merits. Despite such debates we are unable to conclude and find solutions to the pressing issues. We often come across voracious readers who have consumed libraries but have concluded nothing. They are even more confused than the common man in the street. They may often be seen advancing all kinds of silly hypothesis which nobody can carry into daily life. They accept ‘confused ambivalence’ rather than enlightenment as the ultimate truth. It is not that they have not attempted to reason out their confusions, but their limited understanding/rationality has simply not led them to final argument. Their limited rationality and ability to comprehend things and events has simply not allowed them to differentiate truth from falsehood. In the due course, they may even get obsessed by some of their own or borrowed ideas. We also come across writers who have filled libraries by their work but have contributed nothing to advancement of human thought. We have advocates who disguise themselves as writers and apply all the advocacy skills to the view they are called upon to defend. One such advocate was T.H.Huxley, often described as faithful Bull-dog of Charles Darwin. He was asked to confront Bishop Wilberforce at the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting at Oxford in 1860. These advocates have no real interest in the issues they are defending. Undoubtedly, logic or rationality is the strongest weapon in our armamentaria in pursuit of truth not amenable to five senses of vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Use of logic is essential to identify emerging novelties and mounting anomalies. Comprehension of nature is impossible without use of logic, since we are repeatedly called upon to differentiate among alternatives. In management, use of logic is essential to define strategies and plan course of action in the perpetual struggle that confronts all of us. But we must also realize that ability to rationalize a thing or event is not an end in itself. The reasoning advanced must also be real i.e. it must correspond to all the facts including collateral facts and arguments. Logic must be comprehensively correct. We want real explanations and not mere explanations. We must give due regard to contexts in which particular things and events materialize. Unlimited mathematical and logical extrapolation of any line of thinking from zero to infinity is not possible. Our universe essentially consists of dissimilar entities co-existing in mutual harmony. Every line of logic has its scope and limits which are determined by natural course of events. Straight line application of logic is just not possible. Nonlinearities or singularities do exist in nature and as a metaphor Einstein was right in anticipating “curvature in space”. In essence, application of logic is constrained by natural course of events, contexts, properties of things etc. Therefore, logic is not panacea for everything that we do not know. Common sense is quite often at variance with a specialist’s view. A disciplined thinking is required for correct application of logic. There are situations where physical verification of logic by evidence may be nearly impossible but even in these situations; logic employed has to be comprehensive, consistent and coherent with all known facts and circumstances. Once upon a time Newtonian Mechanics was supposed to be the ultimate truth that would in the ultimate analysis explain each and every thing. In fact Newtonian Mechanics is the scientific basis of materialism. Over a period of time this belief was further extended to the belief that laws of physics only are needed, to explain comprehensively origin and evolution of universe, properties of matter and Biological phenomena, but without any reason. In 20th century, mankind drifted into Einstein’s Theory of Relativity on one hand and Quantum Physics on the other. Einstein sincerely hoped that one day both shall be reconciled in the shape of ‘Unified Field Theory’ but was unable to do so in his life time. Even thereafter, none has been able to reconcile Quantum Physics with Einstein’s relativity. This remains an unfulfilled dream till date and unrealizable too in author’s opinion. Darwin’s theory about mechanism of evolution appears to be rationally sound to majority of biologists but unfortunately fails to explain observed facts. For example, Darwinism provides no explanation for Geographical indicator varieties of flora and fauna. To be rationally correct does not mean having material evidence in hand to prove your point. Being rationally correct only means that you must be comprehensively correct. Often rationally correct view can guide one to material evidence sufficient to prove the given view. But there can always be facts which can only be inferred, being inaccessible to direct sensory perception such as existence of ‘natural order’. In such situations, a comprehensive, consistent and coherent argument is the only way to prove or disprove a particular fact. Summarizing all above, there is no doubt that rationality is the strongest weapon to guide us through but it must also be realized that it has to be used with caution with due regard to its limitations. Author: Dr Mahesh C. Jain is a practicing medical doctor and has written the book “Encounter of Science with Philosophy – A synthetic view”. The book begins with first chapter devoted to scientifically valid concept of God and then explains cosmic phenomena right from origin of nature and universe up to origin of life and evolution of man. The book includes several chapters devoted to auxiliary concepts and social sciences as corollaries to the concept of God. This is the only book that deals with subject matter of origin of nature and universe beginning from null (Zero or nothing). This article is inspired by author’s understanding of nature of truth. Second chapter of the book is devoted to ‘Truth’. Visit:http:// www.sciencengod.com http://www.sciencengod.com/buynow.php
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