Tag Archives: Deduction

Science Depends On Philosophy, and practice at examining logical arguments.


This post will be severing two purposes. First as a review for an excellent video Gary Edwards put out on Sunday, and an examination of a deductive argument that I promised on my post about deductive and inductive logic.

Here’s the Video titled “Science Depends On Philosophy” for those interested the video does have a full transcript which can be read by going to the Youtube page clicking the ⚫⚫⚫ More button under the video title.

For ease I will include the definitions and the deductive argument here.

Definitions

A = “The Hypothetical Philosophy Denialist”

P = “A is doing empirical science”

Q = “A has taken a conceptual and evaluative side” (You have agreed to certain definitions of what your looking at and looking for, that you won’t be redefining things as you go along and that you won’t be moving the goal posts if you don’t like any answers you might get. As well you value some thing, general try of evaluation, or forms of evidence, over other kinds.)

R = “A has engaged in appropriate discourse”

S = “A is Hypocritical and conceited”

T = “A is doing Philosophy”

Deductions:

1. “P” [assumption]

2. “NOT S” [assumption]

3. IF “P” THEN “Q” [premise]

4. IF (“Q” AND “NOT R”) THEN “S” [premise]

5.  IF (“Q” AND “R”) THEN “T” [premise]

6. EITHER “R” OR “NOT R” (This is a case of an exclusive or) [premise]

7. EITHER “S” OR “T” (This is also a case of an exclusive or) [deduction 4+5+6]

8. “T” [deduction 2+7]

9. IF (“P” AND “NOT S”) THEN “T” [deduction 1+2+3+8]

Well scared yet? Hopefully not! Though if your needing the refresher I’ll link back to my discussion of logical connectives here, and the the basic form of an argument here.

First I’m going to take this argument step by step and restate each step of the argument, and discuss it’s importance. If you had no problem following Gary then you may wish to skim though this part, but given this is formal logic and may reading this will have little to no exposure to this type of rather intimidating notation. It is best to try to make the argument as clear as possible.

First come the assumptions. For this argument we are assuming 1. Your doing empirical science (P), and 2. you are not a conceited hypocrite (NOT S). Both of these are build in to give the argument charitability to the philosophical denialists (A). I haven’t yet talked much about charitability and I’ll be writing a full post on it soon as it is very important. I won’t go into it much here other then to say that by being charitable Gray has made his fair, and respectful which is always a good route to go.

 

So we know “A” is doing empirical science and is not conceited or hypocritical. Now to the premises.

3. First premise is IF “P” THEN “Q”. Which translated back into English is saying:

IF someone is doing empirical science (P) THEN it is the case that that person has taken a conceptual and evaluative side.

Which is to say that someone has accepted some set of acceptable scientific and empirical methodologies in which they will base their conclusions upon. How do we know those methodologies are acceptable? For that we need to go on to the next premise.

4. IF (“Q” AND “NOT R”) THEN “S”

IF someone has taken a conceptual and evaluative side (Q), but has not engaged in appropriate discourse (NOT R). THEN it is the case that person is a conceited hypocrite (S).

What is means to engaged in the appropriate discourse varies some depending on the particular science in questions, but generally speaking this means that you agree to follow those definitions, and methodologies agree on by the scientific consensus, and to be clear about place where you diverge. As well in mean that you will engage in the peer review process allowing other to look over your work, and that you will do the same, taking into considerations and criticism you get, and make corrections as needed. I could go on, but I think that is a compete enough overview for our purposes here.

5. IF (“Q” AND “R”) THEN “T”

IF someone has taken a conceptual and evaluative side (Q), and engaged in appropriate discourse (R) THEN that person is engaged in philosophy (T).

This is the first place most might object to the argument, but I think this premise fits well for both science and philosophy.

6. EITHER “R” OR “NOT R”

EITHER someone is engaged in appropriate discourse (R) OR they’re not (NOT R).

Another place you might object and say there is nuance, but I’ll save arguments against for later.

Now that we have all 4 Premises. Lets move onto the three deductions.

 

7. EITHER “S” OR “T”

EITHER your a conceited hypocrite (S) OR your doing philosophy (T).

This deduction follows from premises 4, 5 and 6 as follows. First we know from premise 4 and 5 that if someone engaged in appropriate discourse (R) that they doing philosophy, and if they’re not engaged in appropriate discourse they are a conceited hypocrite. With Premise 6 we know you must either be doing appropriate discourse or not, there is not middle group on that issue. Because of that we know that “A” must with be “T” or “S”.

8. “T”

The Hypothetical philosophy denialist (A) is doing philosophy (T).

Due the deduction 7 we know “A” must be “S” OR “T”, and since assumption 2 is that “A” is Not A conceited hypocrite (NOT S) then we know the “A” must be doing philosophy.

9. IF (“P” AND “NOT S”) THEN “T”

This final deduction draws from all the premises and deductions some directly and indirectly. We know that “A” is doing Science from the first assumption. We also know that “A” is not a conceited hypocrite (NOT S) from assumption 2.

As also know that from Assumption 1 and Premise 3 that “A” is doing Empirical Science (P) so “A” must also have taken a conceptual and evaluative sides (Q). Based on deduction  8 and all that came before it we know that If “Q” then we must either have “T” or “S”, but not both. We also know we must have “R” or “NOT R” (6), and that they follow from “Q” (4, 5), and that “Q” follows from “P” (3). Because of all of that confusing mess we know that to do empirical science (Q) we must either do philosophy (T) or be conceited hypocrites (S). We already now we are doing both Science and that we are not conceited hypocrites so we must be doing philosophy! Hopefully that made sense!

Gary Edwards explains line 9 a bit differently and I suggest everyone who’s gotten this far go back and watches again. Both are correct, though his is more concise. My explanation is drawing out the logic more in hope it may help a few people reading this understand.

Though if some this doesn’t make sense, and anyone doesn’t understand why these deductions follow from the premisses and assumptions please ask questions. I’ll do my best to answer, though do try to be specific what line your having issues with. This is formal logic so if it doesn’t make sense the first time though don’t worry it did make sense to me at first either.

Okay know I’m sure people are going to have some issue with the argument and would like to address some of it’s failings, if it has any. I’ll explain the basics of how you would go about doing so, and give an example.

First this argument is sound, the premises guarantee the conclusion. So saying the argument doesn’t work is a no go.The argument does work, if you have an issue you’ll need to indicate why the premise or assumptions are incorrect and how they are incorrect. Another way to think of it is that you can not refute the conclusions of a sound argument. Those are a given and above reproach. Instead you must show that the argument is build on unsound foundations by picking apart the premises.

I pointed out two places, Premise 5 and 6, where one might object. Of these two premise 5 seems the most likely candidate for criticism. That premise was:

 

5. IF (“Q” AND “R”) THEN “T”

IF someone has taken a conceptual and evaluative side (Q), and engaged in appropriate discourse (R) THEN that person is engaged in philosophy (T).

 

This premise is largely undefended, while I do agree with it, it still remains a weak spot. This is an important point to remember, you can criticize your own ideas in this manner, and well as those ideas you like. In doing so all you risk is improving your argument by recognizing its weak points and strengthening them, or finding our your wrong.  And finding out your wrong for yourself eases that awkwardness of someone else doing it for you.

 

First and post obviously you could argue the “T” does not necessarily follow from “Q” & “R”, so far from the discussions those thing seem to be important only too doing “empirical science” (P). Though in order to make this an convincing counter point you must explain why “T” Does not follow from “Q” & “R” what about philosophy make those two things unnecessary? And when you think of that reason why do you think might be the response from Gary? I’m actually drawing a blank, on a good reason, but that might be because I biased anyone have some ideas?

 

I also suggest any interested parties try to tackle the argument from Premise 6 which in retrospect may have made a better example ;).

Next time I’ll be talking about charitability in arguments and more specifically counter arguments.

 

Withteeth

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Induction and Deduction, and the Induction problem.


Before I go into the post proper I’d also like to recommend a book Hessian came across and that I’ve been flipping through while writing these posts. “Logic A Graphical Guide” by Dan Cryan, Sharron Shatil and Bill Mayblin. It’s a comic book about Logic and is an excellent use of the media. Using pictures, font and careful placement to make many difficult logical concept easily apparent and readily readable. It introduces many key concepts and great thinkers in a quick and useful way. For those who want to get a general over view of Logic quickly I haven’t found a better source. Though I’m not getting paid for this plug so best be moving on. 😉

Deduction and Induction. These two concepts a pivotal to understanding much of what we talk about in logic. Particularly logic in relation to fields outside philosophy. While induction and deduction certainty don’t end the conversation you really can’t escape them. Especially not induction. Now what is Induction and what is deduction?

Deduction is in many ways an extension of the syllogism, but is no longer limited to three sentences and having full command of logical connectives and assumptions. The conclusion (also know in this cases as the deduction, or what is deduced) is drawn directly by the premises, and when done correctly is guaranteed by those those same premises. Like with syllogism.

Induction on the other hand is less certain the premises do not guarantee the conclusion, but rather They support the conclusion.

To explain the difference I’ll build on an example from Logic A graphical Guide.

To inductively prove that ravens are Black you would formulate your argument like this.

P1. This raven is black.

P2. This other raven is black.

P3. All of the other 318 ravens I have seen have been black.

P4. I have never encountered an instance, be it personal written, or otherwise, of a raven that was not black that was also substantiated.

C. Therefore all ravens are black.

 

A Deductive argument on the other hand would look like this.

P1. (Assumption) All Ravens are black.

P2. That is a raven

C. Then that raven must therefore be black.

 

In the inductive argument we have a certain probability that the conclusion is true. We haven’t guaranteed the truth of the conclusion. Because of that Inductive arguments don’t fit under the valid/soundness categories I talked about in my first post. They simply can’t, and deductive arguments can because they, when done properly guarantee the conclusion. This is the problem of induction, inductive arguments can not be valid in the same way deductive arguments can, but this doesn’t mean induction is worse then deduction.

In my first post on the subject of logic I said it is best to ensure that your argument follows from your premises. Ideally that means your conclusion is guaranteed, but as I’ll show you this can’t always be done. When induction and deduction where being discussed in detail by David Hume (1711-1776) but where also discussed by other philosophers of the time is that the use of induction posed a real problem for the still fledgling sciences since induction can not guarantee truth, so  by that metric could not be justified. So science according to hume and similar thinkers should be limited to deduction.

Though fortunately there several answers to this problem I will discuss two. Induction being unavoidable, and the induction bypass. First is the ultimate problem is that all knowledge is ultimately based on some level of induction and assumption. We can not for example guarantee that we exist, and that the reality we perceive exists. We can not, at least not currently, deduce reality and ourselves from anything that actually guarantees its truth. We can make assumptions, and we can make deductions from assumptions about reality. We cannot, however, deductively prove that those assumptions are correct. But we can inductively show those assumption to be highly likely. I talk about that in a bit more detail here, but I may devote a post to this in the future as there is a lot to talk about which does not directly relate to this post.

Which brings me to the induction bypass which I believe was coined by John Stewart Mill but don’t quote me on that It may have been Karl Popper. The Bypass is the notion that induction can be carefully set up so that you make what amount to generalization, which over time, experimentation, and repetition can become more and more precise. That is, over time time and repetition of experiments you become more certain of the truth of your argument and you close off other possibilities as improbable or impossible. What is amount to is that while you can’t 100%  guarantee truth with induction you can, with time and effort, effectively guarantee your conclusion to near by not quite 100%. This is actually a large and necessary competent of what we do in science, and basically all science is founded on the principles of induction, which is in turn pretty damn good evidence for the inductive argument ;).

What this means for induction is that it can compete with deduction, and quite effectively because it allow us to have some uncertainty in our claims and still be justified in making those claims. That doesn’t mean we ought forget about deduction. Deduction is still extremely useful if arguments and when you have sets of facts you think are related like in an investigation, or when looking for consistency is another persons worlds or claims. While science as a whole is probably the best example of induction, deduction is best exemplified by is use in structured arguments. When you formulate a good deductive argument then the conclusion must follow from the premises so you need not worry that your argument itself will come under attack. Rather now you and your opponent must tackle your arguments premises and assumption not it general struture (with out making a fool of themselves that it). And closing off one line of attack always makes arguments much easier to handle. Though more on refuting and defending arguments later.

 

Next time I’ll be doing a video review on a logical argument I quite like, pointing out why I like it what I agree with and how you could hypothetically attack it if you disagree with it. It will function as a practical exercise.

Withteeth

 


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