Thursday, July 22, 2004

Wherein Truth and Logic are Explained

It has taken me all of one post to get to what is, for me, the cornerstone of my own existence. Truth. I believe that Truth exists, and, as Verny stated, with effort we may realize it. Actually, most open-minded (truly open-minded) people don’t have too difficult a time with that concept, whether they embrace it as freely as I. Examples of truth (perhaps yet unknown) include the purpose of our existence, the sanctity of human life as opposed to animal and plant life, the sanctity of human life yet unborn, the nature of men’s hearts, &c. Logic, on the other hand, is nothing more than a path to Truth. It is a set of rules. The “truth of logic” is an absurd (not absurd-“silly”, but absurd-“very silly”) statement; Logic is neither true nor false. It is simply a collection of rules.
If Truth is your destination, Logic is the road you take. Think of Truth as “grandmother’s house”; Logic would then be “over the river and through the woods.” And just like our roads all over the country, Logic can take you to places you are trying to reach (i.e., Truth), places you actually didn’t want to go (such as conclusions at odds with what you had hoped to discover; a personal anti-Truth if you will), or sometimes no place at all, like a leisurely Sunday stroll (think undergrad Math/Logic/Philosophy course homework wherein the students runs around in circles making no progress). There are some places it seems the roads of Logic just don’t reach (the peak of Mount Ararat, or maybe Goldbach's Conjecture), and some places where there doesn’t appear to be a direct path, but with some clever understanding of side roads, the destination is still reached (directly computing the antiderivative of secant(x), for a math example).
In none of these examples is the road itself “true” or “false” in the process of existing. It simply exists. Sometimes it might look tempting to try to go off the road to get to your destination, but you must not do so; abandoning the road may destroy your oil pan, just as deviating from the rules of Logic destroys your arguments and eliminates any hope of knowing Truth.
Tell me, is this a horribly difficult concept? I wonder, for at times I am convinced that none of the population is able to comprehend that Logic is a set of building blocks, a road, a governing set of rules, abstaining from veracity altogether.
The rules of Logic, which I will not discuss at length today (suffice to say they have all been verified by “sound” means and are universally accepted by philosophers and mathematicians), are often accused of being flawed because they generate “flawed” conclusions. Again, I hasten to remind you, Logic is only a machine; if your meat grinder gives you ground sausage rather than ground beef, it is through no fault of the grinder itself. ‘Tis you who inserted sausage rather than beef into the machine to begin with. Logic yields conclusions only as good as the premises you began with. This is apparently even more difficult to grasp than “Logic = Rules Only.” Many a person has accused Logic of failing because they started with flawed premises.
Could the differences between Truth and Logic be more clear? I think not. The difference is as vast as it is obvious. Truth is our goal; Logic, our vessel. We try, as hard as possible, to reach our goal; our means of transport, however, is already firmly in our grasp and under our control.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to harp on this for so long, but Logic is one of my biggest passions; I find people’s ignorance toward it both annoying and infuriating.


At 4:03 AM, July 23, 2004 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best of luck with the blog! Warning: It can become addictive. :-)

Parkway Rest Stop

At 12:19 PM, July 23, 2004 , Blogger Auskunft, the Lion Hearted said...

Hey, thanks Jim. We appreciate any support and criticism you might impart.

And, for the record, I have a whole new appreciation for the difficulty of meddling with Mr. Template. Hopefully I will be satisfied and quit tinkering soon; I would hate to pull out my remaining hair.


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