Saturday, May 14, 2011
Is logic entirely logical? In a word: No.
Logic is the sine qua non of Western science and rationality. We are taught from an early age that the scientific method, with its language of mathematics and logic, can solve all empirical problems.
Sure, there are some areas that perhaps science will never shed much light upon – the sphere of values and spirit, better left to philosophy and religion (so the prevailing paradigm holds). But in everything else, science is generally perceived to be an all-purpose toolkit that will eventually unlock all of nature’s secrets.
If only it were that easy.
Western science is indeed built upon logic, with the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle’s thoughts on the subject still in many ways at the core of today’s system. Aristotelian logic starts with the law of non-contradiction. Something can’t be true and false at the same time. Something can’t be A and not-A at the same time. This seems like good common sense as well as good scientific method. Surely something can’t be itself and something else at the same time. Surely something can’t be true and false at the same time.
Read the rest here.