The past few blogs have concluded that human experiences, both our own experiences and the experiences of others, can provide assistance in our search for what is true.  However, they can also be very misleading.  Isaac Watts explains it succinctly:  “. . .we are deceived by our senses, by our imaginations, by our passions and appetites; by the authority of men, by education and custom.” [1]  Therefore, if we want to find out what is true, we must have more help than can be provided by our experiences.

Another resource we can utilize is our reason and logic.  Using reason and logic does not mean we disregard human experience.  In fact, logic must use experience as Trueblood notes:

A great part of the life of reason lies in the consideration of the fruitful relationship between experience and thought.  The mere experience, though necessary, is never sufficient, for it must be analyzed and developed by a rational process of ordered thinking. [2]

Kant compares thinking to the flight of a bird.  In flight a bird needs air to support its wings just as the wings of our airplanes need air.  In thinking we need experience to support our reasoning. [3]  The role of logic is to assist us in our search for truth by giving us methods of examining what our culture has taught us, where our senses lead us.  It can help us correct our errors. [4]  So let us take our own experiences plus the experiences of others and examine what logic can tell us about how we know what is true.  We will first examine inductive logic and then deductive logic.


[1]   Isaac Watts, Logic:  The Right use of Reason in the Inquiry after Truth (Morgan, PA:  Soli Delo Gloria Publications, 1996), pp. 2-3.

[2]   David Elton Trueblood, General Philosophy (New York:  Harper & Row:  1963), p. 70.

[3]   Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, ed. Mortimer J. Adler (Chicago:  Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1990), p. 16.

[4]   Watts, 206-209.

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