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May 14, 2008

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As much as this may sound horrible and cruel, I almost have a inner desire to see a scandal rock the emergent church structure just to show that sin is the underlining problem of their whole dilemna is sin. Again, I know that sounds horrible, but I just desire for them to see that they can't make a claim that 'absolute truth' leads to nastiness while at the same time their 'inabsolute truth' is making people nasty as well.

I know, its horrible but most have to admit that secretly they desire it too! Right?!

Oh well....

Good analysis Melinda. At times it seems the one fundamental of the EM is a "leap of agnosticism".

What does it mean to have a truth irrespective of 'subjectivity' (using that term very broadly as I don't really believe in the subject/object distinction)? Let's look at the laws of logic: they are possible only for a being that can abstract an indeterminate variable from concrete contexts. Such, for example, doesn't seem to be possible with chimpanzees: they are in some sense bound to their context, to use the objects that are within their field of vision (i.e. they don't go searching for an object to fulfill a function but can take it up if it is in front of them), and seem to be incapable of seeing goals as motile, as their own bodies are (e.g., the prospect of pushing an object to get it closer doesn't figure into their motor-experiential structure).

For the chimpanzee, then, there can be no 'correspondence' as the meaningful proposition A = A is not part of the chimpanzee's mind/world and therefore cannot be 'compared' in order to see if the correspondence is instantiated. To say that the laws of logic are 'true' outside of subjectivity (again, used very broadly) is to deny that truth requires a comparison that allows for a correspondence relation in the first place.

To say that the laws of logic are universal is to say that, for any set of beings that can exist in such a way as to extract abstract independent variables in the way needed to grasp the laws of logic, these laws are natural consequences of such a capacity and this can be demonstrated by examining the meaningful structure of the action of abstraction and of abstractions themselves. In this way the laws of logic are necessary structures of abstraction itself but cannot be understood apart from the capacities of subjects to so abstract. Similarly, they are genuine truths (even universal truths insofar as they are necessary aspects of all abstractions) while not being 'objective' in the traditional philosophical sense.

How can someone who doesn't believe in the absolute truth claims of the Bible even call themselves a Christian? Jesus was pretty clear about His claims. Either you believe them, or you don't. End of story.

Jesus said, Whom do men say that I am?

And his disciples answered and said, Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elias, or other of the old prophets.

And Jesus answered and said, But whom do you say that I am?

Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Logos, existing in the Father as His rationality and then, by an act of His will, being generated, in consideration of the various functions by which God is related to his creation, but only on the fact that Scripture speaks of a Father, and a Son, and a Holy Spirit, each member of the Trinity being coequal with every other member, and each acting inseparably with and interpenetrating every other member, with only an economic subordination within God, but causing no division which would make the substance no longer simple."

And Jesus answering, said, "What?"

The question, as it is for every so-called 'postmodernist' that I'm familiar with, is always context: I have a hard time that the Trinitarian dogma is "pretty clear" in the Biblical texts and only makes sense once you bring in a foreign metaphysic to the biblical text. Similarly, the drive for 'systematic theology' is not found in the Biblical text (strange, no, that no Biblical author provided us with any text remotely similar to, say, Aquinas?), but itself depends on a very different understanding of Logos than John intended: namely an epistemology that reduces truth to propositional truth.

With so many potential interpretive contexts shouting to be accepted as *the* one to be accepted, the 'orthodox' view that is 'in' scripture (through the mediation of a non-scriptural approach), things simply aren't as simple as one might like to imagine.

The first part of the question was "On the theology behind the emerging church, you reject the idea that there's an absolute truth. So what boundaries are there on theology that churches are teaching?" Mclaren responds "Obviously that's a challenge." Mclaren then proceeds to make several truth claims about the Catholic Church, evangelicals, claims that the gospel has been watered down to accomodate modernity, calls his critics naive, implies that nobody has a pure pristine understanding of the Gospel, and that "it seems to me we're all in danger of screwing up." We would have to reject Mclaren's view of truth he's advocating, and accept the view of truth he rejects, in order to even consider the validity of any of his claims. He's essentially exempting his own view from itself. Isn't this a textbook self-refuting position am I missing something?

"To say that the laws of logic are 'true' outside of subjectivity (again, used very broadly) is to deny that truth requires a comparison that allows for a correspondence relation in the first place."

If I understand this correctly, the comparison does not itself make something true, but merely confirms that it is objectively so.

But do the laws of logic exist apart from the process of abstraction? Are we denying it its veracity by saying that it is a necessary feature of abstraction (as a genuine act of some beings and their relation to beings) but *is* not without a creature that can so abstract? Its existence depends on the context of a being that is capable of abstracting, but similarly is a necessary feature of that abstraction and thus is not arbitrary.

McClaren's comments are clearly self-refuting. The man is in a confused fog.

You can bank on this - if the EC still exists 25 years from now the underlying theology of whatever EC exists at that time will be radically different than what today's EC purports to believe. Of course this assumes you can get a contemporary statement of faith from the EC, which they go to all measures to avoid. They have no bedrock. Dupes all.

Great analysis, Melinda. The point about being careful to use the term *objective* truth as opposed to "absolute" is well taken.

Another way to look at McLaren is to think of him as someone who does not show adequate respect for his predecessors, those that did the hard work to develop the theology he so cavalierly dismisses. This shows deep immaturity on his part.

McLaren, like most every narcissist, believes that any point of view contrary to his own is doing violence to his very person. This is why every disagreement is personal for him. Traditional Christians believe that homosexuality is immoral, and thus all crimes against homosexuals must be laid at their doorstep. This, of course, is slander, since it is simply not true. So, for McLaren, it's not good enough to offer a respectful argument against traditional Christians; he must slander them personally.

I am, frankly, sick and tired of his passive aggressive venom.

"But do the laws of logic exist apart from the process of abstraction? Are we denying it its veracity by saying that it is a necessary feature of abstraction (as a genuine act of some beings and their relation to beings) but *is* not without a creature that can so abstract? "

I would replace the word "creature" with a personal being. Simply put, God.


"Its existence depends on the context of a being that is capable of abstracting, but similarly is a necessary feature of that abstraction and thus is not arbitrary."


It's existence depends on God.
If I understand what you are saying, that is.

But existence itself, in the substance/property metaphysic put forward by, e.g., J.P. Moreland, puts the laws of logic as a necessary correlate to existence; it does not depend on any particular being, but is a necessary aspect of all existing beings.

But if we were make the laws of logic contingent on the existence of a particular being, then they aren't universal or necessary.

But this still fails to answer my question: would the laws of logic be denigrated in some way if its existence were to be formulated in the way that I proposed?

If the laws of logic rely on God, I would think they would be both universal and necessary since God created and maintains everything that exists.

I found the following argument helpful in exploring the nature of logic with relation to God:

http://www.carm.org/atheism/transcendental_outline.htm

Here is an excerpt from the articles summary:

"Logical absolutes exist. Logical absolutes are conceptual by nature, are not dependent on the space, time, physical properties, or human nature.

They are not the product of the physical universe (space, time, matter) because if the physical universe were to disappear, logical absolutes would still be true. Logical Absolutes are not the product of human minds because human minds are different, not absolute. But, since logical absolutes are always true everywhere and not dependent upon human minds, it must be an absolute transcendent mind is authoring them. This mind is called God."

What I'm trying to do is to provide an alternative account to the more traditional approach that you are discussing. So merely quoting the traditional approach does nothing to demonstrate whether the view I give is consistent or possible. So I ask again: does the view I give, of the laws of logic being a necessary aspect the process of abstraction which depends on the existence of a being that can abstract, denegrate the laws of logic or somehow make them impossible?

Also, in response to the CARM article, I am not saying that the laws of logic are "the product of human minds" as it is not an arbitrary creation of any given mind. However, it is a necessary aspect of one of the mind's relations to the world. This, of course, implies that this mind (using that term loosely) can have non-logical relations with beings as well, as in the case of the chimpanzee (e.g., when the human engages in a practical, rather than theoretical/reflective, relation with things). But know that I am not proposing a human genesis of the laws of logic, despite those laws' dependence on the existence of an abstracting being.

Touche Frank,

What I find perplexing about this whole postmodern movement is that there is no such thing as a consistent postmodernist. When it comes to cancer diagnosis and treatment, there is no truth for you or me; instead the postmodernist goes in for surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment. What the patient's conceptual framework might be is irrelevant to the fact that she has cancer and will die without proper and timely treatment. When their cars break down or if they need a plumber or an electrician, this distinction between true for me and my culture and true for you and your culture becomes a pile of smelly rubbish; they consult the nearest mechanic or call the nearest plumber or electrician to get help. When they look for the cheapest source of gasoline, they shop around and pick the gas station with the cheapest rates. true for you but not for me becomes irrelevant; either the gas is cheap or it is not.

It seems to me that no one can be a truly consistant postmodernist. Reality has a cruel way of asserting itself.

Michael,

Question: can you give me a list of names of those who are 'postmodernists' in your mind?

Kevin,

I think you and Louis are talking past each other, equivocating on the word "logic".

The primary meaning of logic is the successful attempt (as opposed to an unsuccessful attempt, or an accidental success) to develop beliefs [for one's self] which conform to reality.

But used metonymously, it can refer to those true things *to which* one's beliefs conform.

So, yes, the laws of logic are subjective to those who can abstract; But the truths to which those subjective laws conform, do not require abstraction.

I'm not sure metonymy is really needed. First and foremost we are related to things, not to representations or abstractions that we then somehow mentally 'substitute' for or take as what's 'out there.' We must have our relation to "true things" before any such substitution could happen in the first place.

Also, as I said earlier, I don't think 'subjective' really has a correlate in our relation to the world, partially for the reason just given above: we are always already related to the world and we cannot even think of ourselves without some recourse to that 'outer' world, so the classical distinction simply can't come into play.

Could I ask you to quickly elaborate on that last sentence: "But the truths to which those subjective laws conform, do not require abstraction."

I'm not sure why the "need" for metonymy is a relevant consideration; I probably missed something along the thread. At any rate, metonymy is being used, whether necessary or not.

Also, I don't know what you mean by "we are related to 'true things', not abstractions" (paraphrased). Do you mean that we only abstract about true things? If so, I would say that we can abstract about abstractions.

You say that you don't think 'subjective' really has a correlate in our relation to the world, partially because we are related to true things; the meaning, again, of which, I am uncertain.

As to the elaboration: logic is a term we use to describe the conformatory relation between reality and perception. Since one of those things being compared is sentience, then if no sentience existed, there would be no logic.

There would, however, be truth. For example, one certain truth in such a scenario would be that there exists no sentience.

That is not an accurate summary: I am claiming that we must have access to and be related to things before we have abstractions that can motonymically (is that a word or how you spell it?) be related to said reality. If we began with abstractions or representations we would have no claim to knowing if they really do 'connect' with reality in any way. In short, we must be related to the reality in a genuine way if we are to 'compare' any abstraction or representation with that reality, hence our relation with the real (rather than a representation *of* the real) must occur first.

For your elaboration, I don't see it: if there were no sentient being to speak of the 'not' (as in "there exists no sentience"), then what being is thinking this such that the thought can then correspond to reality (*the* 'definition' of truth according to Evangelical counter-postmodernists). Truth must be equivocal and you need to provide a new definition of truth such that it doesn't require a 'connection' between thought and reality.

Kevin,

Just jumping in here. No new definition of truth would be needed; Agilius' statement "one certain truth in such a scenario would be that there exists no sentience" is simply nonsensical (for the sake of argument - no harm there). Without sentience, there would exist no certainty about the faithful correspondence of non-existent statements.

A clearer phrase might be "one fact" or "one actuality," which avoids at least one mutual exclusion.

The correspondence theory of truth does not exclude these other senses of the word truth - it is not a narrow, wooden definition. A statement is true even if hypothetically no mind exists capable of rendering it. That is, the condition exists regardless of cognitive aptitude. A tree is not an ocean. Period.

The same unanimity applies to the laws of logic. Describing them as merely "being a necessary aspect the process of abstraction which depends on the existence of a being that can abstract," is a mis-characterization. Logic is not merely a necessary way in which rational minds encounter reality. It does not refer exclusively to the mind-environment relationship. Its province is concrete existence, mind-independent reality, and while sentient beings enjoy the privilege of apprehending these laws, and are necessarily governed by them in their thinking, to cast logic (or truth) merely as functions of the mind-object relationship is to make them cognitive referents rather than references to the actual state of affairs.

Hypothetically speaking, this would turn logic into a rather silly kind of argument. We do not assert logical statements as being true in the classical sense because "that is how they appear to me," but because that is how they must be independently of me.

>> I am claiming that we must have access to and be related to things before we have abstractions that can motonymically (is that a word or how you spell it?) be related to said reality.

Again, I don't know what you mean by "related to things". I'm related to my parents, but surely this is not the same as what you are saying.

>> For your elaboration, I don't see it: if there were no sentient being to speak of the 'not' (as in "there exists no sentience"), then what being is thinking this such that the thought can then correspond to reality (*the* 'definition' of truth according to Evangelical counter-postmodernists).

No being exists in the scenario that I have proposed, so you are right to say that in such a scenario no thought can conform to reality.

But I am proposing a scenario from the point of a world in which sentience exists, much the same way you have done by examining my scenario from the same point.

>> Agilius' statement "one certain truth in such a scenario would be that there exists no sentience" is simply nonsensical (for the sake of argument - no harm there). Without sentience, there would exist no certainty about the faithful correspondence of non-existent statements.

Your argument commits suicide. By arguing about a world "without sentience", as you have done above, you are essentially making the same type of argument that I did - except my argument doesn't commit suicide - thus lending credence to my position.

Such a scenario is not non-sensical, as I, and now you, have proven.

>> A statement is true even if hypothetically no mind exists capable of rendering it. That is, the condition exists regardless of cognitive aptitude. A tree is not an ocean. Period.

I agree, and have said this before.

>> Logic is not merely a necessary way in which rational minds encounter reality. It does not refer exclusively to the mind-environment relationship. Its province is concrete existence, mind-independent reality, and while sentient beings enjoy the privilege of apprehending these laws, and are necessarily governed by them in their thinking, to cast logic (or truth) merely as functions of the mind-object relationship is to make them cognitive referents rather than references to the actual state of affairs.

It seems to me that if a 3 year old guesses that 2+2=4, that he is not using logic.

So it is only the *purposeful* application of sentience which can even begin to be called logic; That is to say, even a purposeful application is not "logical", if the conclusion does not conform to reality - thus the necessary conformatory relation.

"But if we were make the laws of logic contingent on the existence of a particular being, then they aren't universal or necessary."

Something can be contingent and necessary, if the contingency is a logical rather than an ontological relation. Take, for example:

If A is a triangle, then A has three sides.

It is the case that the consequent is a necessary condition for the antecedent, but it is also the case that the antecedent could not be the case if the consequent were not the case. So, the necessary condition is a contingent condition whose absence would make the antecedent impossible, for one cannot have triangles without three sides.

In the same way, according to classical theism, it cannot be the case that there was a time when numbers did not exist (for God is 3) since they are eternally present in the mind of God. In a sense, then, numbers are contingent, since they depend on God. But they are also necessary insofar as they participate eternally in the being of that which is necessary, and thus no possible world exists in which He does not exist.

Of course, one can reject classical theism. But that means that in some possible world you can't count your blessings, since there are no numbers. :-)

Read St. Thomas and call me in the morning. :-)

Frank

Hi Agilius,

I engaged Kevin's stream of proposals last night to try to answer his charge. You might consider re-reading my post with this in mind.

Sage,

"A tree is not the ocean" is a completely unnecessary relation to the essence of being a tree in logical analysis. The law of identity is often posited as A = A, but all that we really need is simply A, that something is itself. By adding the "= A" we are again requiring some sort of comparing function, some being that can compare A with itself (whatever that means).

But if we are going to go further into ontological analysis, we cannot speak of this particular tree without also taking into account, for example, the sun and water that keep it in existence, the ground in which it is growing, the nutrients that it receives, and even the tree's history--that a storm caused its trunk to split, that the "T + C" in a heart was scratched into it by two local lovers, etc. This historically situated tree is what we are first and foremost related to, not some abstract logical being that has its necessary properties that we somehow use to understand that it is a tree and yet can't seem to list even somewhat exhaustively what those are or, in some cases, that we don't even share our reasons for thinking that something is similar to another (I can't think of the book, but a psychologist examines various shapes and even if people agree that one shape is similar to another, their reasons for thinking so are vastly different and rarely agree). Even my understanding of the concept of tree is colored by and constituted in this concrete relationship with things (not representations).

This is my claim that we are first and foremost related to beings before we are related to abstractions: that I do not find myself in a world constituted by determinate abstract properties, but I am first related to the phenomenally rich world of cars, spoons, 'house rules,' doors, walking, opening, and other beings and projects. The reduction of our relation to the world to representations is a poor understanding not only of the nature of perception (yes, the one found in practically every psychology and philosophy textbook you can find, the one that has the classic distinction between 'sensation' and 'perception'), but also of our relation to the world. Perhaps to parrot Frank: Read Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty and call me in the morning. And if that medication is not strong enough, I can give you a slew of other works in psychology, philosophical psychology, sociology, and anthropology that further argue for their claims. :oD

Now, for your claim of logic's "province [being] concrete existence, mind-independent reality," I would simply have to beg to differ on very particular grounds. You seem to think that seeing logic as a necessary aspect of the mind-world relationship somehow makes logic's relation with the world ephiphenomenal? One of the primary 'presuppositions' (I put it in quotes for the benefit of those who ground meaning in logic, or foundationalism) of truth is that I genuinely relate to things as they are. All that I am claiming is that the practices that bring about our experience of beings in terms of logic (or, perhaps better put, that attune us to the determinate properties of things) is merely one set of practices. Yes, it is a set of practices that does give us access to beings in a particular way (i.e. through logical categories), but logical laws are simply inefficient when dealing with other practices (not all other practices, but it is not universally applicable).

A. David Milner and Melvyn A. Goodale, for example, have presented extended arguments and much experimental data to demonstrate the existence of two visual streams: one dealing with representations and property-pick-up and the other dealing with an object's relation to action. There are strange cases of patients who are essentially blind to an objects properties, but can effortlessly pick it up and use it despite not being able to 'see' it in the traditional sense (blindsight is a common term for this scenario). Then we also have cases of people who can give you incredibly accurate descriptions of a thing's properties, but are incapable of picking it up, using it, or placing it in the appropriate slot at the right orientation. Thus, at the level of perception, we have two ways of relating to objects--representational and practical--that are not reducible to the former, as classical theories demand.

We can then go into the structure of practices themselves, which we could reference Ricoeur, Bourdieu, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and a host of other thinkers in various fields (Jeff Malpas' _Place and Experience: A Philosophical Topography_ is a very good introduction), which structure differs from logic's structure. In one we have finite laws, determinate properties, and clear-cut universal relations. Practices, on the other hand, relate to a particular body, its capacities and skills, its particular state at any given time (sober, inebriated, in excrutiating pain, etc.), its history, culture, and upbringing, and so on. Most of these, as expertly argued by Bourdieu and Tim Ingold, are not reducible to a series of laws that are somehow 'shared' by members of the society, but themselves have a very visceral bodily motile component. Beyond Merleau-Ponty, Shaun Gallagher's _How the Body Shapes the Mind_ is an excellent analysis of the body's role in our lives.

But of course now this is an incredibly long post with (admittedly) lots of name dropping and requiring a large background understanding in order to aptly discuss it, which understanding is impossible to set out in this limited forum. So...sorry? Or, I hope, enjoy!!! ;o)

Kevin,

Admittedly I (and probably anyone else still interested) am not familiar with all of the writers you've shared. Am I correct in saying your view is that logic is one of several innate modes of interfacing reality? That, because it requires a sentient mind, it is not itself necessary nor universal (a mind-independent reality)? And that the thrust of these ideas is that the laws of logic deal with a function of cognition (the ordering of objects, or perception) rather than the actual nature of reality?

If this is your proposal (and that of the writers you've mentioned), then this is a rather wholesale re-characterization of logic as a modality of apprehending reality, an innate cognitive tool, with no necessary bearing on reality apart from cognition. It would be like saying, "The laws of logic are necessary components of sentient thought, but they hold no necessary information regarding concrete reality apart from our ability to perceive."

This would obviously defeat itself since, if logic were merely an aptitude of perception that informs the cognitive interfacing of reality without providing any necessary information about reality, it would aid us not one bit in our perceptions or conceptions of reality. It would be an ability with no bearing, a tool with no use, a senseless sense. Logic must refer to the universe apart from our own apprehension of reality, otherwise it can tell us nothing whatever about the world we encounter.

Just to follow up: If logic holds any explanatory or conceptual information for us about the world, then it must refer to something other than a mere process of perception.

Kevin said,
"Are we denying it its veracity by saying that it is a necessary feature of abstraction?"

My answer above explains why this would deny its veracity - that is, its conveying accurate information about reality. (Just because we can formally state the laws of logic does not predicate their existence on language or sentience.)

No, logic is not "innate" or foundational in any sense. In fact, our practical modes of relating to things is non-logical (not illogical); Milner/Goodale's work shows this at the level of perception (that property perception and action perception have different structures) and Merleau-Ponty/Heidegger/Bourdieu/Gallagher/Dreyfus show this at the level of action.

But I'm not arguing that logic has no veracity, or no relation to things. Let me use an example: find a pen and put it in front of you. Now, simply pick it up and start writing a letter to someone. When you do so the independent properties of the pen are not a matter of concern and you could effectively write without knowing its 'objective' properties; in fact, you could be completely wrong about its size, color, weight, etc.). Now find another pen and start writing about the first pen's properties.

These, it could be argued (and most of the people mentioned above would argue), are two modes of relating to the pen, two ways of disclosing the pen's being. In one case the pen *is* a tool that effaces itself in its use and exists as a pen only in relation to its being situated with other beings and projects: paper, writing, interlocutors, etc. In the other case the pen *is* an object with properties, which examination divorces it from the context in which it is seen *as* a pen.

In both cases we relate to the being of the pen: it *is* something with which to write (within a particular context of the project of writing with its objects, values, and purposes) and it *is* an independent object with its particular properties. But only in the latter context, when the pen is divorced from its 'natural' context as that with which to wrige, do the laws of logic apply. The most important point, however, is that when disclosing the pen as an object with independent properties one cannot take it up and write with it; the two ways of relating to the pen are incompossible at any given time.

This practical incompossibility of the being of the pen (of what the pen *is*) is part and parcel to the so-called "postmodern" issue with metanarratives: when one works within the practice of perceiving the pen's properties (one metanarrative) one cannot comprehend the pen in terms of its use as bodily taking it up has a different (temporal, spatial, contextual) structure with its own kind of hermeneutical narrative.

So, in both cases we are genuinely disclosing the being of the pen and doing so in terms of logical analysis *does* disclose the pen in its being. In this sense logical analysis is intimately related to an object's being, though it is derivative from our practical relation with beings. So it is not universal in the sense that logical relations play a part in *all* of our relations with things. However, when we take up a particular relation with beings--that of abstractly relating to particular beings and their properties--then logic universally applies.

So, in short, yes logic is intimately connected with beings, but it is only one modality and, in relation to human existence, it is secondary to and derived from our practical non-logical relations with things (in a 'privative' way, as Heidegger would put it: as divorcing things from their natural context in our practical concern).

I can understand that this is hard to understand and making this point is really the hardest thing to get across for us 'continental' types to any 'analytic' types (insofar as there is a marked distinction, though I don't think there is). But I hope I'm progressively doing better at making it clearer.

I think I see your position - let me just ask you a fairly straightforward question. Do the laws of logic pertain merely to one modality of interfacing reality? Or do they pertain to reality itself regardless of whether anyone uses logical reasoning to perceive / abstract / interface the world?

(I understand logical thinking is not the only cognitive framework in town. Figurative language, the scientific method, non-analytical pragmatics - etc. My question is not the predominance of logic, whether it needs to remain ever-present in our thoughts. It seems to me that you consider logic merely a cognitive tool without any necessary basis in concrete, mind-independent reality. Hence my question to you.)

Ah, now that is an interesting question and one that divides many in the Heideggerian/post-Heideggerian tradition (which I is what I've been trying to expound). I myself am somewhat divided on it.

By taking the view that logical analysis does disclose genuine 'properties' of beings--more or less determinate abstract properties--then there is a sense in which they are nascent in beings, apart from the existence of any abstracting beings. But as soon as we speak of laws as something that is 'followed,' then the presence of a being who so follows the rules seems absolutely necessary. So I am very hesitant to say that, say, A = A somehow 'exists' out there in the world (or as 'part' of every particular being) apart from a being capable of making the comparison of A with itself, I will again repeat that it is a necessary aspect of some of our relations with beings. So I don't think it is merely a "cognitive tool" as that makes the abstract relation too contingent--as if I simpy use the laws of logic sometimes in abstract analysis, but could just as well do without it. They play an essential role in one mode of our concrete relations with beings and so are constitutive of that relation, rather than being a mere pragmatic add-on.

Admittedly, the place of logic within my own thought is still a somewhat new issue for me to address, as can perhaps be seen as I've been struggling to put it into words, doing my own on-the-cuff phenomenological analysis, as it were. So thanks for pushing the issue and, hopefully, helping me get clearer on my own view. :o)

A very slight addition:

By taking the view that logical analysis does disclose genuine 'properties' of beings--more or less determinate abstract properties [and (probably most importantly) their abstract relations]--etc.

I would answer my own question thusly:
Logical reasoning can be applied to abstract notions such as properties, numbers, propositions, and it can be applied to physical entities to determine the nature of their existence. However, the use of logical rules is not merely the expression of innate cognitive processes that are necessary and universal; rather, the rules of logic themselves are exhibited within the fabric of reality. Even as we administer logical reasoning to the abstract concepts and concrete objects we encounter, we find support for the credence of these rules in the world we observe. Whenever I intuit that an apple is not both red and not-red at the same time and in the same manner, I am not merely exercising an innate cognitive faculty. I am acknowledging something absolute and necessary about the nature of reality.

Thus the rules of logic are not merely rules of thought, but are (fundamentally) rules of existence. As these rules inhere the natural world, they precede thought, and provide a natural basis for ordering our thinking accordingly. Deriving the rules of logic from reality (the universe itself), we go on to develop these laws in the various abstract disciplines - number theory, religion, ethics, et al. Wherever we turn our attention - whether to physical entities, abstract ideas, or the relations between the two - we find logic is inextricably present governing whatever transpires.

Hope this helps!

Or, perhaps you are confusing the sign with the signified - the proposition A = A with the situation it describes.

It seems to me that you have arbitrarily restricted the laws of logic to one mode of relating with the world and with abstractions - period. Logic does not only operate within the mental processes of analysis. The rules of logic are discovered in reality as a fundamental set of ordering principles.

We follow the rules of logic in the same way we follow the rules of gravity, thermodynamics, and covalence.

On the first post, there is a lot for me to agree with. I've already said many times that logic is related to reality.

On the second post, though, I will have to disagree: my 'restriction' was not 'arbitrary.' In our practical relations to things the laws of logic play little to no role. When I am walking down the street and deftly navigate around objects while my mind is racing about my concerns for the day, there is no need of A = A. The analysis of the nature of practices shows a very different relation to things. Again, Milner/Goodale's work demonstrates this well: we have people who simply cannot give you accurate descriptions of objects (including 'objective' orientation), and yet can very aptly stretch out their hand, pick it up, and use it. Similarly, you can have individuals who can give you a very accurate description of a thing's properties (again, including its orientation), but if asked to pick it up they reach in the wrong direction. There is a disconnect between the perception of properties and the perception of affordances for action.

Similarly, Merleau-Ponty's analysis of embodiment (see Shaun Gallagher's _How the Body Shapes the Mind_ for a good, modern introduction to this topic) and Bourdieu's analysis of habitus in societies/cultures argues for the non-rational nature of practices: practices, while normative, largely do not occur through rule following. When you're approaching a person and you accidentally stand too close, making them step back to maintain their 'personal space,' they don't do so because of a rule that "one should stand thus-and-such far away from one's interlocutor," but because it "throws them off," it's "uncomfortable." In this case the body naturally pulls away, it finds your imposition into its space aversive, etc. It is not a question of logically following abstract rules (boy that would be time consuming), but of retaining an equilibrium, a homeostasis in relation to its environment and relations.

On your last point: if following the rules of logic were like following the laws of nature, then the possibility of illogicality would be destroyed. If anything (and I might be able to grant this point, when properly understood), logic plays a normative role, not a causal role.

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