Stepping Stones

The notion that a good deal depends upon logic is more a prayer than a fact. If logic is goodness, the dependency varies with the science as indeed it varies down to all acts and expressions. And to tell the truth, we can hardly be certain at any point of the goodness of any act or expression. We require essentially a common sense spectrum that militates against harm by placing positive values at the top and warns against evil by placing the values that lead to evil at the bottom.

We are therefore thrust into the very question which Peirce raises at the close of his note below. I shall venture to suggest that logic is not a stepping stone to metaphysics. Rather metaphysics is nothing more or less than what can be logically deduced, inferred and adduced from Reality. And that logic is indeed a mode within reality of determining what reality is. It is like a cane for the blind. Or a map for a traveler. That is the sense in which logic is a stepping stone. It is NOT prior to but a means to that exists within the All.

Peirce: CP 2.121 Cross-Ref:††

121. All the other sciences but those five, according to the principles herein to be defended, depend upon Logic. I do not mean merely that they practice logical reasoning: they draw principles from the theory of logic. This dependence will be most direct and intimate for those sciences which stand nearest after Logic in the scheme of the sciences; yet even those which are most remote, such as History on the Psychical side, and Geology on the Physical side, have sometimes to make direct appeal to the theory of evidence. Besides that, all these Descriptive sciences must be founded upon Classificatory Sciences. Now that the classificatory sciences have to make appeal to the science of rationality, and always have done so, in order to determine what they are to think of the reality of their own classifications, will not be denied. Moreover, the Classificatory Sciences are and must be founded upon the Nomological Sciences. Here we find the psychologists, on the one side, together with Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Descartes, and all the founders of nomological physics, on the other, making direct appeal to the theory of logic. In addition to that, these Nomological Sciences cannot avoid depending upon Metaphysics. It is when they promise themselves that they will not make any metaphysical assumptions that they are most in danger of slipping too deep into the metaphysical slough for deliverance, precisely because one cannot exercise control and criticism of what one does unconsciously. At a later stage of our logical studies this dependence of nomology upon metaphysics will appear very evident. As to Metaphysics, if the theory of logic which is to be developed in this book has any truth, the position of the two greatest of all metaphysicians, Aristotle and Kant, will herein be supported by satisfactory proof, that that science can only rest directly upon the theory of logic. Indeed, it may be said that there has hardly been a metaphysician of the first rank who has not made logic his stepping-stone to metaphysics.

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