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Distinction Between Logic and Reasoning
What is logical is not always reasonable
A significant portion of moral theory derives from meta-ethics (one of three branches of ethics) that does not believe that moral knowledge exists or that words such as moral or good can even be defined. Meta-ethics focuses on the words of ethical statements and not on human behaviors that are deemed right or wrong. Scientific fact, observation and human experience are not directly applied to the ethical reasoning's of meta-ethics. This narrows the scope of inquiry into the nature of morality and it produces indeterminate conclusions for meta-ethical propositions. The fundamental problem is that evolutionary ethics is a scientifically based theory while meta-ethics is a philosophically based.. The logic of meta-ethics leads one to believe that words like morality cannot be defined; that good and goodness cannot be defined. Ostensibly, since morality cannot be defined one cannot determine the right or wrongness of a behavior. The logic of meta-ethics in about the words of ethical statements, and not ethical actions. see science and ethics What seems logical is not always reasonable. The logic of meta-ethics leads to the idea rape is neither right or wrong. This runs counter to reason and centuries of human experience.
The naturalistic fallacy, a popular meta-ethical theory does not think one can derive moral conclusions using non-moral facts. But, in fact it can be reasonably said that ethical systems evolve over thousands of years, strongly influenced by behavioral facts, observation and human experience. For example, if there are facts of public record showing an increase of accidents when alcohol is involved while driving, one cannot logically lead to the moral conclusion that one ought not drink alcohol and drive. Logic says a moral position cannot be concluded from the facts, but reason says otherwise.
What is problematic here is that the logic of meta ethics is a two-dimensional analysis of carefully selected words that excludes science, experience, and history as variables. The words of logician's address the symbols of morality, good, and goodness, but not the substance of these words and their derivation over centuries of civilization building. Moreover, the static logics of meta-ethics encounters a linguistic problem best exemplified in the writings of linguist S. I. Hayakawa. In his book, Language and Thought In Action he states "The symbol is not the thing the thing symbolized; The map is not the territory: The word is not the thing." The words morality, good, and goodness are symbols that are derived from thousands of years of observation of human behavior; some behaviors good, some, bad, some better than others. In theory, the idea of morality evolves from the specific term (moral, as in a specific behavior) and moves toward the general term (morality). If science, experience and history can be used in creating a theory of evolutionary ethics one can arrive at a reasonable and credible outcome. However, if these considerations are left out, then the logic of the metaphysician's is correct in saying a theory of evolutionary ethics is not possible because such a theory would use non moral facts to arrive at moral conclusions, thus, violating the rules of logic.
An example of logic and reason
Logic applied to morality begs the question of whether words can be equated with mathematics. At every turn, logic attempts to quantify morality in this way.
Which is most likely to occur to you: Being eaten by a shark, or being struck by lightning. Statistics show that a person is twice as likely to be bitten by a shark than stuck by lightening. It logically follows from the information given that it is more dangerous to swim in the ocean than walk out in the open where lightning could strike you. The logical process we are talking about here involves only the variables presented on your computer screen. But, what is logical is not always reasonable particularly if I limit the number of variables to only what is on paper or a computer screen. In the proposition there is the word "you." If we do not consider the context of "you" in the proposition we might arrive at a faulty conclusion. Since I do not swim in the ocean I have no chance of being bitten by a shark Reasoning includes an interactive component—a relationship between the words in a sentence and the person reasoning. A person's circumstances; the context of the words; science; and history can modify the outcome of moral analysis. Moral reasoning takes two-dimentions words off a piece of paper and adds needed information to the questions that arise. One cannot separate human experience from the words humans create to describe it.You could solve the shark and lightning question logically but it would be such a detailed mechanical process you might end up with a hundred pages of words and lose sight of the object of analysis. Logic is worthwhile to us in some places, and not in others. What is forgotten by logician's is that single words express very complex reductions in thinking. When the appropriate words are used in a thesis a person is able to traverse an immense galaxy of concepts in a few short sentences. Logic related to human behavior is ill-equipped to convey the complexity of human experience. Moral terminology such as good and moral are terms that can be said to have evolved from billions of social issues over centuries of time that are related to human behavior. In this respect, it would be difficult to separate human experience from human morality.
Conclusions of logic can be misleading. Take the following example. David Hume claimed that normative statements cannot be derived from empirical facts. The focus here is on empirical facts that are leading reasoning people to believe "logic" has chosen the right term for comparison with a normative statement. If equivalent terms* are not used in an argument, its conclusions will be misleading. Here, empirical facts are not the equivalent term to be compared with a normative statement. If normative statements derive directly from human experience, and indirectly from facts used to describe experience, then Hume's logic is flawed from the begriming. A reasoning person trusts a theoretician such as Hume to present an argument of equivalent and proper terms. But if they are not equivalent or proper, a reasoning person will be led to mistaken conclusions.
Consider, that it is not from facts that normative statements emerge, rather from from human experience which in part is explained by facts.
*The idea of equivalance takes lengthy explanation. Instead think of the word "a proper term" in its palce.
version 1.3 1/5/05
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re: moral science, science and ethics