Limitations of Logic by mjain3391


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									                   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’.


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