The Evolution of Reason: Logic as a Branch of Biology

By William S. Cooper | Go to book overview
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11
Toward a Unified Science of Reason

The outlines of an evolutionary theory of logic are now in place. In so brief an exploration of so large a topic it is inevitable that there are gaps to be filled and flaws to be fixed. But instead of filling in more details, it will perhaps be more useful at this point to ask how the theory, if accepted, would fit in with some other already established philosophies, and how it relates to certain bordering sciences.


LOGIC AS A SCIENCE

Traditionally, logic has not been regarded as a science or at least, not an ordinary empirical science. Reductionism breaks with tradition by asserting it to be just that. It is true that logic deals with abstract intangibles such as propositions and probabilities, but since other sciences also have their unobservables and indirect observables this is not really a special distinction. Sciences are no less empirical for involving elements of a high degree of abstraction, provided the abstractions are rigorously defined from an ultimately empirical basis.

Logical theorems have traditionally been seen as sovereign principles for which no empirical confirmation is required. Their soundness is supposed to be observationally unassailable because they were never empirical laws to begin with. They are thought to be 'universally valid' and so not susceptible of observational disconfirmation. A caricature of the traditional view might run somewhat as follows. Logic was primordial. As a body of principles it has always existed and always will. After the physical universe was

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