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27.8.08

THE IMPORTANCE OF LOGIC FOR PHILOSOPHY

What is logic? Before we talking about how important logic for philosophy, maybe we should know first what the logic itself. The term “logic” is used quite a lot, but not always in its technical sense. Logic, strictly speaking, is the science or study of how to evaluate arguments and reasoning[1]. Logic is what allows us to distinguish correct reasoning from poor reasoning. Logic is important because it helps us reason correctly — without correct reasoning, we don’t have a viable means for knowing the truth or arriving at sound beliefs. Logic is not always a matter of opinion: when it comes to evaluating arguments, there are specific principles and criteria which should be used. If we use those principles and criteria, then we are using logic; if we aren’t using those principles and criteria, then we are not justified in claiming to use logic or be logical. This is important because sometimes people don’t realize that what sounds reasonable isn’t necessarily logical in the strict sense of the word. Our ability to use reasoning is far from perfect, but it is also our most reliable and successful means for developing sound judgments about the world around us. Tools like habit, impulse, and tradition are also used quite often and even with some success, yet not reliably so. In general, our ability to survive depends upon our ability to know what is true, or at least what is more likely true than not true. For that, we need to use reason. Of course, reason can be used well or it can be used poorly and that is where logic comes in. Therefore, we can say that logic is concerned with reason, mind and a method of thinking to be coherent and consistent, a way to use the mind properly.[2] Over the centuries, philosophers have developed systematic and organized criteria for the use of reason and the evaluation of arguments. Those systems are what have become the field of logic within philosophy some of it is difficult, some of it is not, but it is all relevant for those concerned with clear, coherent, and reliable reasoning. Logic sounds like an esoteric subject for academic philosophers, but the truth of the matter is that logic is applicable anywhere that reasoning and arguments are being used. Whether the actual subject matter is politics, ethics, social policies, raising children, or organizing a book collection, we use reasoning and arguments to arrive at specific conclusions. If we don’t apply the criteria of logic to our arguments, we cannot trust that our reasoning is sound. When a politician makes an argument for a particular course of action, how can that argument be properly evaluated without an understanding of the principles of logic? When a salesman makes a pitch for a product, arguing that it is superior to the competition, how can we determine whether to trust the claims if we aren’t familiar with what distinguishes a good argument from a poor one? There is no area of life where reasoning is completely irrelevant or wasted — to give up on reasoning would mean to give up on thinking itself. Of course, the mere fact that a person studies logic doesn’t guarantee that they will reason well, just as a person who studies a medical textbook won’t necessarily make a great surgeon. The correct use of logic takes practice, not simply theory. On the other hand, a person who never opens a medical textbook probably won’t qualify as any sort of surgeon, much less a great one; in the same way, a person who never studies logic in any form probably won’t do a very good job at reasoning as someone who does study it. This is partly because the study of logic introduces one to many common mistakes that most people make, and also because it provides a lot more opportunity for a person to practice what they learn. It is important to keep in mind that while much of logic appears to be concerned solely with the process of reasoning and arguing, it is ultimately the product of that reasoning which is the purpose of logic. Critical analyses of the way an argument is constructed are not offered simply to help improve the thinking process in the abstract, but rather to help improve the products of that thinking process, for example; our conclusions, beliefs, and ideas. In the other side, Logic also is the science that explains what conditions must be fulfilled in order that a proposition may be proved, if it admits of proof. Not, indeed, every such proposition; for as to those that declare the equality or inequality of numbers or other magnitudes, to explain the conditions of their proof belongs to Mathematics: they are said to be quantitative. But as to all other propositions, called qualitative, like most of those that we meet with in conversation, inliterature, in politics, and even in sciences so far as they are not treated mathematically (say, Botany and Psychology); propositions that merely tell us that something happens (as that _salt dissolves in water_), or that something has a certain property (as that _ice is cold_): as to these, it belongs to Logic to show how we may judge whether they are true, or false, or doubtful. When propositions are expressed with the universality and definiteness that belong to scientific statements, they are called laws; and laws, so far as they are not laws of quantity, are tested by the principles of Logic, if they at all admit of proof. But it is explain that the process of proving cannot go on for ever; something must be taken for granted; and this is usually considered tobe the case (1) with particular facts that can only be perceived and observed, and (2) with those highest laws that are called 'axioms' or 'first principles,' of which we can only say that we know of no exceptions to them, that we cannot help believing them, and that they are indispensable to science and to consistent thought. Logic, then, may be briefly defined as the science of proof with respect to _qualitative_laws and propositions, except those that are axiomatic. What is Philosophy? Philosophy is a study that seeks to understand the mysteries of existence and reality. It tries to discover the nature of truth and knowledge and to find what is of basic value and importance in life. It also examines the relationships between humanity and nature and between the individual and society. Philosophy arises out of wonder, curiosity, and the desire to know and understand. Philosophy is thus a form of inquiry--a process of analysis, criticism, interpretation, and speculation. Philosophic thought is an inescapable part of human existence. Almost everyone has been puzzled from time to time by such essentially philosophic questions as "What does life mean?" "Did I have any existence before I was born?" and "Is there life after death?" Most people also have some kind of philosophy in the sense of a personal outlook on life. Even a person who claims that considering philosophic questions is a waste of time is expressing what is important, worthwhile, or valuable. A rejection of all philosophy is in itself philosophy. By studying philosophy, people can clarify what they believe, and they can be stimulated to think about ultimate questions. A person can study philosophers of the past to discover why they thought as they did and what value their thoughts may have in one's own life. Why Study Logic? Logic is the study of the principles and methods of reasoning. It explores how we distinguish between good (or sound) reasoning and bad (or unsound) reasoning. An instance of reasoning is called an argument or an inference. An argument consists of a set of statements called premises together with a statement called the conclusion, which is supposed to be supported by or derived from the premises. A good argument provides support for its conclusion, and a bad argument does not. Two basic types of reasoning are called deductive and inductive. A good deductive argument is said to be valid--that is, the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises. A deductive argument whose conclusion does not follow necessarily from the premises is said to be invalid. The argument "All human beings are mortal, all Greeks are human beings, therefore all Greeks are mortal" is a valid deductive argument. But the argument "All human beings are mortal, all Greeks are mortal, therefore all Greeks are human beings" is invalid, even though the conclusion is true. On that line of reasoning, one could argue that all dogs, which are also mortal, are human beings. Deductive reasoning is used to explore the necessary consequences of certain assumptions. Inductive reasoning is used to establish matters of fact and the laws of nature and does not aim at being deductively valid. One who reasons that all squirrels like nuts, on the basis that all squirrels so far observed like nuts, is reasoning inductively. The conclusion could be false, even though the premise is true. Nevertheless, the premise provides considerable support for the conclusion. Logic is necessary to analyze other people’s beliefs. Logical fallacies are everywhere in our society. If we cannot detect the logical mistakes we hears, then how will we discern who is right? The study of logical fallacies (common mistakes in reasoning) is important to critically reason through the arguments of others. Logic also is necessary to understand and communicate our own beliefs. The Scripture commands us to prove our doctrines and practices. We are to reason and dispute from the Scriptures with persuasive and convincing arguments. If we are able to think through and clearly reason from the Koran, then we will be better equipped to give a proper defense of our faith. Once again, without learning how to think properly, we shall misunderstand Scripture. Peter warns against those who twist the Scripture to their own destruction. A study of logic will help us avoid twisting the Scripture and trying to make it imply something it does not imply. The Westminster Confession, written in England in 1648, says all things necessary for our faith and life are either expressly set down in Scripture or may be deduced by good and necessary consequence from Scripture. It is only through a study of logic that we can distinguish a valid deduction from an invalid deduction.[3] Why Logic is Important for Philosophy? Logic is important for philosophy because its encourage us to have critical thinking and to make us to be careful in drawing conclusion and decision. Logic also educates us to take responsibility, where thinking is taking responsibility. With logic, we can explain to formulating the problems properly and also avoid us to make fallacies in reasoning. With doing logic, any matter in philosophy can be clarified, since logic as also a tool of analysis and systematic explanation for any phenomenon. Logic is not psychology. It does not describe what people think about or how they reach conclusions; it describes how they ought to think if they wish to reason correctly. It is more like arithmetic than history, for it explains the rules one must follow in order to reach correct conclusions, just as arithmetic explains the rules one must follow to arrive at correct answers. Logic concerns all thought; it is fundamental to all disciplines, from agriculture to astronautics. There are not several kinds of logic, one for philosophy and one for religion; but the same rules of thought that apply in politics, for example, apply also in chemistry. But in order to say that there are many different sorts of logic, one must use the rules of the logic there is. Let those who say there is another kind of logic express in their views using that other logic. It’s as though one were to claim that there are two (or more) sorts of arithmetic-the arithmetic in which two plus two equals four, and a second arithmetic in which two plus two equals twenty-two. Anyone who ridicules logic must use logic in his attack, thus damaging his own argument. That’s way we need a law of logic. Let say we use one of logic’s law, which is called; ‘contradiction’, but recently some people have begun to call it the law of non-contradiction-the two phrases refer to the same law. Aristotle expressed the law in these words: “The same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not belong to the same subject and in the same respect.” The law is expressed symbolically as: “Not both A and not-A.” A maple leaf may be both green and not-green (yellow), but it cannot be both green and yellow at the same time and in the same respect-it is green in the summer, yellow in the fall. If it is green and yellow at the same time, it cannot be green and yellow in the same respect; one part, however small, will be green, another yellow. Greenness and not-greenness cannot at the same time and in the same way belong to a maple leaf. To suggest another example: A line may be both curved and straight, but not in the same respect. One portion of it may be curved, another portion straight, but the same portion cannot be both curved and straight.[4] The use of logic is not optional. Logic is so fundamental, so basic, that those who attack it must use logic in order to attack logic. They intend the words “Logic is invalid” to have specific meanings. The opponents of logic must use the law of contradiction in order to denounce it. They must assume its legitimacy, in order to declare it illegitimate. They must assume its truth, in order to declare it false. They must present arguments if they wish to persuade us that argumentation is invalid. Wherever they turn, they are boxed in. They cannot assault the object of their hatred without using it in the assault. That is why logic so important in philosophical term, it’s enhance us to having a critical thinking. Speaking of critical thinking, accordance to The Watson-Glaser in Critical Thinking Appraisal which is a well-known psychological test of critical thinking ability has defined critical thinking as: ... A composite of attitudes, knowledge and skills. This composite includes: (1) attitudes of inquiry that involve an ability to recognize the existence of problems and an acceptance of the general need for evidence in support of what is asserted to be true; (2) knowledge of the nature of valid inferences, abstractions, and generalizations in which the weight or accuracy of different kinds of evidence are logically determined; and (3) skills in employing and applying the above attitudes and knowledge.[5] Since one of benefit logic is to make critical thinking, which is the ability to think clearly and rationally. That includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Someone with critical thinking skills will able to do the following: understand the logical connections between ideas identify, construct and evaluate arguments detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning solve problems systematically identify the relevance and importance of ideas reflect on the justification of one's own beliefs and values Critical thinking is not a matter of accumulating information. A person with a good memory and who knows a lot of facts is not necessarily good at critical thinking. A critical thinker is able to deduce consequences from what he knows, and he knows how to make use of information to solve problems, and to seek relevant sources of information to inform him. Critical thinking should not be confused with being argumentative or being critical of other people. Although critical thinking skills can be used in exposing fallacies and bad reasoning, critical thinking can also play an important tale in cooperative reasoning and constructive tasks. Critical thinking can help us acquire knowledge, improve our theories, and strengthen arguments. We can use critical thinking to enhance work processes and improve social institutions. Good critical thinking might be seen as the foundation of science and a liberal democratic society. Science requires the critical use of reason in experimentation and theory confirmation. The proper functioning of a liberal democracy requires citizens who can think critically about social issues to inform their judgments about proper governance and to overcome biases and prejudice. So did philosophy need critical thinking to drawing conclusion properly and to avoid fallacies in reasoning so we can be responsible for what we have already done in speaking, behavior even in thinking. Conclusion; Logic and philosophy are just like a door and it’s key. Which is we cannot open the door without a key. So did philosophy, we cannot learn much about it without knowing the logic. Logic in philosophy is just like a key where philosophy itself is the door. To open the door we need a key, so to know about philosophy we must know about logic. Logic for philosophy is a tool to analyze problems and to make the explanation systematic. Therefore we can avoid any fallacies and any mistakes in the way of thinking- therefore we can avoid wrong conclusion or make decision that is not properly. In other word; philosophy is a fundamental component to all areas of human inquiry while logic is the fundamental basis on which philosophy itself can be done. Reference books; - Ir. Husain Heriyanto, M.Hum, ‘An Introduction to Logic’ for the Preliminary Semester Academic Year 2004-2007, ICAS Jakarta. - Article online, Philosophy Archive @ marxists.org - John W. Robbins, ‘Why Study Logic’ article online, Copyright (C) 1998-2008 The Trinity Foundation.com - Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, online article. 2004-2008 [1] Article online, Philosophy Archive @ marxists.org [2] Ir. Husain Heriyanto, M.Hum, ‘An Introduction to Logic’ for the Preliminary Semester Academic Year 2004-2007, ICAS Jakarta. P.1. [3] John W. Robbins, ‘Why Study Logic’ article online, Copyright (C) 1998-2008 The Trinity Foundation.com [4] Op.cit [5] Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, online article. 2004-2008

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