Logic Incorporated

Logic Incorporated

Every particular kind of activity is characterized by its own logic, and no activity is possible without any logic at all. In the philosophical slang, logic is an attribute of conscious activity. For laymen: you behave as a conscious being when you are logical, and you become mere thing if you lose logic. Of course, conscious activity has other attributes, and reducing it to logic would be a logical fallacy.

In the world governed by the division of labor, those well paid are apt to believe that their occupation is especially important, that it requires some outstanding personal qualities and expresses the core of the culture. Logically, this leads to the attempts to usurp certain cultural areas.

Here comes a professional logician and says: I studied logic all my life, and know all about it; I am officially acknowledged as such, and gain a decent living explaining the others what logic is. This immediately produces a roar of laughter in professional science: you, who cannot tell a quark from a quasar, will teach us logic! It is only by studying natural laws that one comes to understanding any regularity at all; sciences cultivate logical thought, and the scientific method is to be used to describe logic itself. Alright, replies a popular painter, can you explain that my art is sold at Sotheby's for real bucks, while your books are never bought save by a few crazy cranks? Something attracts people to my painting, and I'll tell you what it is—they are absolutely logical. The arts are pure logic in its most crisp and immediate form; we call it beauty.

They are all right, in a way. Logic is everywhere; each and every profession contributes to its comprehension, since its very existence follows from the refinement of certain behavioral patterns to distinguish them from the rest. And no profession is sufficient to explain logic.

Thus, nothing prevents us from collecting the currently known schemes of reasoning, and that would be a regular science analogous to, say, ethnography. However, such a study would never tell a universal logical principle from mere cultural fluctuation. For instance, traditional courses of logic enumerate the forms of syllogisms; but they never tell us under which conditions these forms are applicable—and in which cases one should better try something else. Why statements are built of notions? Where do the different truth/verity systems come from? How do people develop axioms and primary concepts? To answer these and other similar questions, one needs something more general than science; one has to appeal to the fundamental principles of making all kinds of decisions, including decisions about the adequacy of reasoning. This is the domain of philosophy.

In fact, philosophy is what I am doing right now, writing these lines. Here, I mainly treat logic from the philosophical side. As long as I do that, for me, logic is a part of philosophy. This does not mean that it must always be that way. I esteem any other choice, and, as a philosopher, I must incorporate the very possibility of choice in my philosophical logic, tracking the social roots of individual preferences.

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