The Reliability of Logics in the Perspective of Ancient and Modern Philosophers
Part 2 (F):
Continued from Part 2E:
Deductive and inductive logical schemes are questioned by some of the philosophers on some very solid grounds. Deduction is also questioned on the basis of induction. Sextus Empiricus ancient philosopher questioned the process of induction. He questioned that how a specific set of observations can be universally applicable or what reliability is there that this set of observations will be valid for an upcoming reality. Sextus Empiricus wrote:
“When they propose to establish the universal from the particulars by means of induction, they will effect this by a review of either all or some of the particulars. But if they review some, the induction will be insecure, since some of the particulars omitted in the induction may contravene the universal; while if they are to review all, they will be toiling at the impossible, since the particulars are infinite and indefinite.”
Hume one of the Scottish philosophers, on the basis of circular reasoning declared it as a formal logical fallacy, the argument Hume was bit different to that of Sextus Empirius. According to Hume:
“Those who claim for themselves to judge the truth are bound to possess a criterion of truth. This criterion, then, either is without a judge’s approval or has been approved. But if it is without approval, whence comes it that it is truth worthy? For no matter of dispute is to be trusted without judging. And, if it has been approved, that which approves it, in turn, either has been approved or has not been approved, and so on ad infinitum.”
Now this new theory of criterion possession does not only question inductive reasoning but it also doubts the deductive reasoning in a way that persons who are defining the premises of a deductive logic do not hold the criterion of truth, so if they do not hold the criterion of truth there defined premises can be invalid in such cases the result of such premises is most likely to be invalid.
Some medieval philosopher like Al Ghazali defines the same criterion of truth absolutely exclusive for God and hence according to these medieval philosophers there is always an uncertainty and doubt in logic. Therefore the universals from few particulars are not always the true estimation about an event. It is likely that there is some level of unreliability that is coming out of logics. Perhaps in Al Ghazali’s view this doubt can be reduced and minimized.
On the other hand there are philosophers who also tried to justify these arguments and to justify it; they tried to present some reasons. Duns Scotus was a famous scholar and a philosopher argues in a different way. His point was that events are not isolated from causes or previous history records, therefore according to him a finite set of observations are potential causes for any upcoming reality and will produce the same result of inductive reasoning. Duns Scotus used the notion of previous information to justify his point of view and concluded that the finite set of observations are enough justification to validate the universals rising out from particulars.
The research work is made by SM Waqas Imam, he is a fresh engineer and has graduated from NED university of engineering and technology in 2010.
1 Empiricus, Sextus. Outlines of Pyrrhonism. Trans. R.G. Bury. Loeb edn. London: W.