More Notes for Creating a Solution to the Logocentric Predicament
Thus far in our journey of navigating a solution to the logocentric predicament much has been discussed. The plasticity of reason, post facto thinking (after the fact of the theoretical primitive), etc. Now, my argument that the circularity of logic could be escaped by asserting that we are post facto arguing, in that, we are arguing after the fact of the presupposition of the theoretical primitive. Therefore, the explanation of its warranting isn’t circular in that it has already been warranted. We are not warranting it, only explaining how it came to be such. In regards to reason vs. logic’s primacy, we have quite an issue. Following our conception of plastic or malleable reason, we lined out that it is the process of reasoning is that gives it form. Whether that form is logical, illogical, etc. is what we are discussing. Therefore, would it not be correct to say that formation is normative? Is it not prescribed by the thinker, by the reasoner themself? Obviously, this conclusion is one derived from inference and supposed laws of inference. This is obviously the predicament when it comes to the normativity of logic. In asserting logic falls into the whole problem of alternative as I have called it, we have supposed it as our norm. There is a quasi-argumentation ethics here, though the truth of the normativity isn’t necessarily asserted by the appearance of a practical contradiction. Nevertheless, the assertion of logic’s normativity supposes that one accepts the norm itself. As for trivialism, only inferential organization, or explosion, arises from it. That trivialism is the consequence of the abandonment of inference laws is again a conclusion derived from laws of inference. But, we can say that the state which is a consequence of the abandonment of logical (i.e., necessary) laws (of inference) is certainly a state in which the opposition to contradiction has and has not been abandoned. A quasi-trivialism is in a sense the result, therefore. Let us, following all this, key in on the idea of the theoretical primitive in conjunction with all that which we’ve discussed.
The theoretical primitive’s justificatory conditions are its supposition. But, why is this case? We can appeal to analyticity. The signifier “theoretical primitive” denotes to us the pre-semiotic content of “that concept whose justificatory conditions are its supposition. We have appealed to analyticity; this is our first presupposition, besides the presupposition of the theoretical primitive itself. Next, the main objective we hold is proving the law of non-contradiciton. Now, whether we prove the law of non-contradiciton to be minimally or maximally a law, does not matter to us. The only way we could ground such a law would be through the theoretical primitive. Because we are all post facto arguing in that we are arguing after the fact of the presupposition of the theoretical primitive, we can argue without being viciously circular in that it has already been justified as has the other laws of logic which we will outline. One cannot accuse of vicious circularity because the theoretical primitive has been presupposed and therefore justified, and with this justification those principles analytically extricable from the theoretical primitive too are justified. Robert Hanna in “Kant, Wittgenstein, and Transcendental Philosophy,” speaks of transcendental arguments:
(1) S [sentence/statement]
(2) S presupposes APNP [a priori necessary presupposition].
(3) Therefore, APNP. (Hanna 83)
APNP is the condition of possibility of S being the case. Hanna’s objective is to establish that logic is transcendental which is to say, the condition of possibility of statements being the case is logic. Ultimately, I’ll say that Hanna is right about logic being transcendental as well as categorically and normatively justified, if and only if “Explosion” is ruled out, but the issue is the fact that we can see no non-arbitrary way to just rule out explosion.
Why cannot we presuppose logic to be the case? Why must there be this supposed Principle of Sufficient Reason? Quite simple: the Principle of Sufficient Reason, in Erik and I’s “modified” usage of the term, means that all statements require grounding, proof, etc.; now, if this where not the case, then we would be able to infer any conclusion to be true without a need for proving it to be true, i.e., without Erik and I’s Principle of Sufficient Reason we have trivialism/non-logical pluralism. Therefore, the proof for logic/the solution to the logocentric predicament is also the proof for Erik and I’s Principle of Sufficient Reason.
Ultimately, following Kant, pure general logic seems to be the perfect candidate for being the theoretical primitive. Pure general logic, unlike transcendental logic, is not ontically restricted, i.e., it isn’t chained down to a specific object, nor to the empirical psychological subject. Pure general logic is also not synthetic, but rather analytic a priori. As Tyke Nunez in his essay “Logical Mistakes, Logical Aliens, and the Laws of Kant’s Pure General Logic” says, “[pure general logic] holds of all concepts and all objects … [and] it does not depend on anything psychological or the existence of any specific kind of object in the empirical world” (Nunez 4). But, when we go about justifying logic, we are going about justifying that judgments are “evaluable according to [the] norms [of logic]” (Nunez 4). Thus, if logic is normatively binding, then one can “only evade the force of logic’s norms by opting out of the activity of judging altogether” (Nunez 5). Therefore, it seems pure general logic needs to be normative as well. For, if they are (justified) norms, then they are “constitutive norms for thinking … [and, therefore,] the only way to evade the force of logic’s laws is to opt out of the activity of the activity of thinking and judging altogether” (Nunez 5). Again, pure general logic is not about objects. Pure general logic does not say what is the case. On the contrary, pure general logic “merely articulate[s] thought’s nature” (Nunez 7). For Kant, “the law of non-contradiction is the fundamental law of pure general logic” (Nunez 12). Pure general logic, therefore, as the theoretical primitive would solve our problem in that, not only does it contain analyticity in that it is “the paradigm of logical analyticity,” but it also contains the law of non-contradiction (Hanna 102). It would, therefore, solve the problem of the logocentric predicament in that our very presupposition of it is not only justified but justifies (pure general logic). Therefore, the logocentric predicament, which simply asserts that logic must presuppose itself is no longer a problem for us in that we do presuppose pure general logic, which is exactly why it is justified. Therefore, post facto, we have demonstrated analyticity and non-contradiction. All that would have to be done after this is to justify logic’s normativity.
Okay, so we’ve lined out how we can solve the logocentric predicament. So, what is preventing us from doing so? Well, we must warrant that 1. pure general logic is the theoretical primitive 2. explain how pure general logic contains a. analyticity and b. non-contradiction. Steps 2a and 2b could be simplified into one in that analyticity can be derived from any principle of non-contradiction, as Kant says in the Critique of Pure Reason, “For if a judgment is analytic, whether negative or affirmative, its truth can always be sufficiently known according to the principle of [non-]contradiciton” (Critique of Pure Reason 185; A151-B190). Furthermore, “It must therefore be admitted that the principle of [non-]contradiction is the universal and altogether sufficient principle of all analytic knowledge” (Critique of Pure Reason 185; A151-B191).
But, why is the theoretical primitive justified when it is supposed? Well, we can say that the theoretical primitive is that which is always supposed to be the case by all thinking, things, etc. We can justify something as the theoretical primitive. For example, when reasoning is done, we can say a priori, following out theory of reasoning, that plastic reason is interpellated for the use of itself. As Kant said in the Critique of Practical Reason, “Nothing worse could happen to these labors than that someone make the unexpected discovery that there is and can be no a priori cognition at all. But there is no danger of this. It would be tantamount to someone’s wanting to prove by reason that there is no reason” (Practical Philosophy 146; 5:12). Obviously, and we should note this, the logocentric predicament is not a proof for reason’s unjustifiability. At the very most, the logocentric predicament is a proof that logic is seemingly unjustifiable. And, at the very least, the logocentric predicament is, as we’ve gone over, nothing less than the proof for logic being justified. Again, though, why is the theoretical primitive justified by its very presupposition? Hanna says, “since all rational theorizing, explanation, and justification whatsoever presuppose logic, it follows that pure general logic must also be the a priori essence of all rational theorizing, explanation, and justification whatsoever” (Hanna 102). So, in this sense, the theoretical primitive is justified in that it is the a priori essence of what it means to be justified. The theoretical primitive is justified in virtue of the fact that justification itself supposes the theoretical primitive. Therefore, the very conditions of justification of all things is the supposition of the theoretical primitive because the theoretical primitive is the a priori essence of justification (and what it means to be justified). Thus, the theoretical primitive, in the supposition of itself — so, in the case of logocentric predicament, logic is supposing itself — meets the only condition of justification that exists for it, again, because, first, it is the theoretical primitive, nothing precedes it, and, second, it is the theoretical primitive, all justification (and all other theoretical constructions) supposes it.
Once trivialism, or non-logical pluralism as we have called it, dispenses with premises and just asserts statements as true, things only get harder. One could argue that this is the very movement from non-logical pluralism to trivialism, and I would absolutely agree. The transformation of non-logical pluralism into trivialism is propelled by the abandonment of reason. By this I mean, with non-logical pluralism, the reasoning, i.e., the inference for why the premises entail a certain conclusion did not have to be logical. Or, in other words, non-logical pluralism still has reasons for belief, it is just that those reasons are non-logical. Trivialism, then, is the abandonment of reason.
Following all that has been said, we wil address to anticipated rejections: 1. “Do you not assume the theoretical primitive when you justify it?” Simply, to this, we can say that we are engaging in post facto explanation not ex ante justification. This is to say, the theoretical primitive has already been presupposed. We are not justifying it before the supposition, rather we are explaining it after the supposition. 2. “Muh circularity.” Some may say that we enter into infinite regress, but I disagree. We enter into infinite progress. The difference is this, and it is also spatio-semantical: infinite regress is where the grounds of justification continually crumble, and nothing is justified; infinite progress is where the grounds of justification continually build themselves up and justification takes place. The theoretical primitive infinitely justifies itself. All other logical primitives, to use Bahnsen’s term from Presuppositional Apologetics, fall in the face of the theoretical primitive. Therefore, if we can warrant that logic is the theoretical primitive, then logic will be justified; the logocentric predicament will become a proof of logic’s justification rather than a predicament for logic’s justification. What takes place after this will be an issue of normativity. Why not rather illogic? Two things: 1. The very question supposes the theoretical primitive as well as logic (assuming it isn’t the theoretical primitive) and 2. We can appeal to Kant’s theory of pure general logic (assuming it is the theoretical primitive).
: By “pre-semiotic content” I mean that content which is signified. For example, when I look at a tree, the word “tree” signified, but to another the word “donkey” could be signified, but either way, that which signifies is what I’m talking about. I care for the pre-semiotic content, not the sign itself.