Many Versions of Logic

Logic is a very important branch of philosophy, which we use invariably in our day to day life. It is true that when people from different cultures or background speak to each other (even talk logically), they can’t understand. For many, it might seem to a heretical statement. But today we have knowledge of many versions of logic like Aristotelian logic, Jaina and Buddhist logics, fuzzy logic, many-valued logic etc. Occasionally there could be dramatic variations in these logic. They are not just different in their style of presentations or representations, but in the content too.

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We have the most common Aristotelian logic which is basically a two-way logic. A statement could either be true or false. Nothing beyond, nothing else.  (Ramu is good or ramu is not good).


We have the fuzzy logic, which has extensive applications in the many of instruments like washing machines, AC etc. Instead of two options, many options are given; more than black and white, we consider also the shades of grey in between white and black. Many would say this is closer to reality, but in many matters we still like to hold onto Aristotelian options of black or white, hot or cold. Many valued logic opens up to more options than just true and false.

catuskoti-4-638We have the famous Catuskoti understanding of Nagarjuna in Buddhist philosophy which speaks of 4 outcomes as shown in the figure. An approximate example for both A and not A from Christian understanding in the mystery of Jesus who is both human and divine. Physics would say that truth depends on the frame of reference (moving or stationary) and the opposites could be true at the same from different frames. A paradox like ‘He always say false’ is another example. Some would say a statement about the future is neither true nor false.

There are evidences of similar use of logic in the scientific areas especially in the field of relevant logic and one of them is called First degree entailment (FDE). Catuskoti when speaking of some aspects like life of the enlightened one would include a fifth possibility called ineffable.

jainism-presentation-30-638We also have the jaina logic called syadvada where a proposition could take 7 possible options. The Jaina emphasises the multiple nature of reality and accepts the standpoint of non-absolutism. One common example given is based on 5 blind men touching 5 different parts of element and claiming that elephant is like their experience.

Logic is a tool which helps us to speak of the reality. When the theory of relativity and quantum physics developed and challenged many of the assumptions of Newtonian mechanics, scientists started to see reality in a different way. This has helped indirectly in the development of many different types of logic like multi-valued logic, relevant logic, intuitionist logic and so on. It is interesting to see that traditional logical systems of Jaina and Buddha philosophy already had multi-faceted analysis of reality.  I have read on a blog of African logic  that logic is peculiar to each culture and their understanding. So it is wrong to posit the western Aristotelian system which was adopted in scientific analysis as the only logic. Thus in a globalized world, when people of different cultures live together, it is essential to understand these multifaceted logical patterns which govern and guide different people and the dialogue based on it is essential to maintain peace and harmony.



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