Logic as Property of Universe

A question regarding nature of logic and two helpful answers from an e-mail apologetics e-mail group: 

“I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me on the best way to answer someone who says the following:

“Logic does not exist in the universe. The universe has no property called “logic.” Rather, logic is a tool of the mind. Much like how scientific theories are models of reality, *but not the reality itself*. Logic helps us model the world, but is not actually a property of the world.”

The reason I ask is that this kind of atheist belief seems similar
to an objection raised against Dr. Bahnsen in one of his university tours. Regarding a student’s comment on the foundations of morality, Dr. Bahnsen said “Saying that through evolution there has developed inherent moralism, but we’re just not following it, is like saying that it doesn’t exist at all.”

Is this “tool of the mind” theory similar to that? A theory that is *possible* insfoar as it could *just be the case* that every mind has the ability to acknowledge inherent logic tools – and that some better follow/recognize these tools and some don’t?

If so, it’s certainly walking on eggshells as far as an explanation
but is it one that is essentially unfalsifiable and just unlikely?

I hope not! – Would love to have an answer for this guy
Any feedback would be appreciated.

GH
I am a lurker in this group but i decided to answer your question, i remember struggling with the same issues a whole back.

“Logic does not exist in the universe. The universe has no property called “logic.” Rather, logic is a tool of the mind. Much like how scientific theories are models of reality, *but not the reality itself*. Logic helps us model the world, but is not actually a property of the world.”

This is a conceptualist account of logic, ie. logic is a property or
function of the mind. This makes logic subservient to human thinking. It is very problematic and reduces to skepticism.

But 1st we need to frame the problem.

The truths of logic are axiomatic truths. Examples are if A=B and if B=C then necessarily A=C. Or, applies to facts, for example:

1) All men are mortal
2) Socrates is a man
c) Socrates is mortal

The question is: how do we come to *know* that A necessarily equals C or that Socrates necessarily is a man, given the premises? How do we justify the claims?

1. Not by experience anyway. Sometimes atheists will tell you that the laws of logic are empirical generalizations, laws that
have “worked”. But that simply won’t do. How do we go from a limited amount of observation to a necessary truth? You would need universal experience, experience of what is possible and impossible. No one has that. If the atheist wants to justify logic this way, then all he can say is that according to our experience thus far, given the premises, then Socrates likely is a man. But he cannot say that as a matter of fact, Socrates is a man and it could not be otherwise. What kind of experience would justify such a claim?

2. Nor are they proven by reason by the simple fact that logic is
reason. You would have to prove logic by using logic, but it is logic itself that is under questions. This is not a live option.

3. They are self-evident. Maybe the atheist wants to say that they are self-evident. But then you want to ask him why assume that our psychological states necessarily reflect reality? How can we know that the working of our mind necessarily have anything to do with reality? He would need to justify logic, by experience. So we are back at step 1.

This is the problem in a nutshell. Autonomous man could never himself establish the universal truths of logic.

But yet, if the atheists agrees that we know the laws of logic, he
has a philosophical problem on his hands. How can they possible be justified in an atheist universe? One might also ask what they are. Are they material? Maybe the atheist want to explain logic as a function of the brain, but then we are back to asking how we can know that it necessarily reflects reality.

In a Christian universe, God justifies logic. He is omniscient and
knows his creation, in fact creation was always in Gods mind before he spoke it into existance and its structure reflects his thinking. As creatures we can intuivitely know them. Logic needs to be justified by an external principle. Man himself cannot.

Final note: yo might get the response that aristotelian logic has
worked for over 2000 years, hence we can trust it. But that will not do. That only means that logic has worked. But we want to know whether we can *know* something or not. Not merely that our use of logic has been successful.

Concrete examples might help because most people really haven’t thought through the implications of claiming that logic is a function of the mind or a convention among men. When you debate an atheist, ask him how he knows that, for example, that if A=B and if B=C then necessarily A=C. Ask him if the claim is justified through experience or what?

Most probably you will get the answer that it has worked in the past, but that goes nowhere in answering the questions whether it necessarily must be so and cannot be otherwise. So you can still ask how he knows that it *must* be so and that it *cannot* be otherwise.

Experience still?

If you get him to agree that he does not know, then the same
questions can be applied to any atheistic or scientific argument.
When you lose logical necessaty, you also lose the ability to tell
the differenct between a necessarily valid/invalid argument, thus all reasoning comes to an end.

Hope this helps!

have a nice day!

JL
“Logic does not exist in the universe. The universe has no property called “logic.” Rather, logic is a tool of the mind. Much like how scientific theories are models of reality, *but not the reality itself*. Logic helps us model the world, but is not actually a property of the world.”

I’m no scholar, but I would give it my shot and see what others have to say. I hope I do not make this even more blurry.

First off, if logic is just “models of reality” but “not the reality
itself”, this would limit one’s use of logic only to what we know
about. The laws of logic then, can only applied to what we know
already, not to areas we do not know about.

The problem then, is that knowledge can only be DESCRIPTIVE of current knowledge, not to what we do not know yet. According to this explanation of logic, the limitation of logic extends to what we know of reality thus far. HOwever, everyone including the atheists regularly apply the laws of logic to situation or areas in which we have not experienced, or verified directly as true: When I tell you that I’m pregnant and at the same time I am not pregnant and that my friend Santa half-exists, you would rule out that these claims can not be true because the first violates the law of non-contradiction and the second, the law of excluded middle. Yet, since none of you
know about the reality firsthand (have you seen me in person to see if I am pregnant? Did you meet my friend Santa?), how can you apply logic in the above circumstances as a ‘model of reality’ to rule out my claim of reality when your model have no basis since you do not yet know about the reality of my claims apart from logic?

Second, the really interesting dilemma is how the content of our mind (the laws of logic, theory of reality, etc) correspond with the real world. Why do we expect that Modus Tollens or any other logical principles are applicable in the real world, when we are done with our argument or reasoning? Steven Hawking, with all his theory of Big Bang Cosmology realize the dilemma of the content of the mind and its correspondence to reality when he had this to say: “I do not demand that a theory corresponds to reality, because I don’t know what it is” (The Nature of Space and Time, pg. 121).

Talk about futility of his whole endeavor!

Atheist Richard Dawkin himself recognized this, though he probably is not as aware of this philosophical dilemma than others before him. He stated the same question in the following manner: “The real question is: Is there anything we can think of which, by the mere fact that we can think of it, is shown to exist outside our thought?

Every philosopher would like to say yes, because a philosopher’s job is to find out about the world by thinking rather than observing. If yes is the right answer, there is a bridge from pure thought to things. IF not, not” (God Delusion,Pg. 82).”

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