LOGIC. The Theory Of Inquiry (1938) by John Dewey – An oksimo Review – Part 1

eJournal: uffmm.org, ISSN 2567-6458, Aug 16 -Aug 18, 2021
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

SCOPE

In the uffmm review section the different papers and books are discussed from the point of view of the oksimo paradigm. [2] Here the author reads the book “Logic. The Theory Of Inquiry” by John Dewey, 1938. [1]

PREFACE DEWEY 1938/9

If one looks to the time span between Dewey’s first published book  from 1887 (Psychology)  until 1938 (Logic) we have 51 years of experience.  Thus this book about logic can be seen as a book digesting a manifold knowledge from a very special point of view: from Logic as a theory of inquiry.

And because Dewey  is qualified as one of the “primary figures associated with the philosophy of pragmatism” [3] it is of no surprise that he in his preface to the book ‘Logic …’ [1] mentions not only as one interest the ” … interpretation of the forms and formal relations that constitute the standard material of logical tradition”(cf. p.1), but within this perspective he underlines the attention   particularly to  “…  the principle of the continuum of inquiry”(cf. p.1).

If one sees like Dewey the “basic conception of inquiry” as the “determination of an indeterminate situation” (cf. p.1)  then the implicit relations can enable  “a coherent account of the different propositional forms to be given”. This provides a theoretical interface to logical thinking as thinking in inferences as well as an philosophical interface to pragmatism as a kind of inquiry which sees strong relations between the triggering assumptions and the possible consequences created by agreed procedures leading from the given and expected to the final consequences.

Dewey himself is very skeptical about the term ‘Pragmatism’, because
“… the word lends itself [perhaps]  to misconception”, thus  “that it seemed advisable to avoid its use.” (cf. p.2) But Dewey does not stay with a simple avoidance;  he gives a “proper interpretation”  of the term ‘pragmatic’ in the way that “the function of consequences” can be interpreted as “necessary tests of the validity of propositions, provided these consequences are operationally instituted and are such as to resolve the specific problem evoking the operations.”(cf. p.2)

Thus Dewey assumes the following elements of a pragmatic minded process of inquiry:

  1. A pragmatic inquiry is a process leading to some consequences.
  2. These consequences can be seen as tests of the validity of propositions.
  3. As a necessary condition that a consequence can be qualified as a test of assumed propositions one has to assume  that “these consequences are operationally instituted and are such as to resolve the specific problem”.
  4. That consequences, which are different to the assumed propositions [represented by some expressions]  can be qualified as confirming an assumed validity of the assumed propositions, requires that the assumed validity can be represented as an expectation of possible outcomes which are observably decidable.

In other words: some researchers are assuming that some propositions represented by some expressions are valid, because they are convinced about this by their commonly shared observations of the propositions. They associate these assumed propositions with an expected outcome  represented by some expressions which can be interpreted by the researchers in a way, that they are able to decide whether an upcoming situation can be judged as that situation which is expected as a valid outcome (= consequence). Then there must exist some agreed procedures (operationally instituted) whose application to the given starting situation produces the expected outcome (=consequences). Then the whole process of a start situation with an given expectation as well as given procedures can generate a sequence of situations following one another with an expected outcome after finitely many situation.

If one interprets these agreed procedures as inference rules and the assumed expressions as assumptions and expectations then the whole figure can be embedded in the usual pattern of inferential logic, but with some strong extensions.

Dewey is quite optimistic about the conformity of this pragmatic view of an inquiry and a view of logic: “I am convinced that acceptance of the general principles set forth will enable a more complete and consistent set of symbolizations than now exists to be made.”(cf. p.2) But he points to one aspect, which would be necessary for a pragmatically  inspired view of logic which is in ‘normal logic’ not yet realized: “the need for development of a general theory of language in which form and matter are not separated.” This is a very strong point because the architecture of modern logic is fundamentally depending on the complete abandonment of meaning of language; the only remaining shadow of meaning resides in  the assumptions of the property of being ‘true’ or ‘false’ related to expressions (not propositions!). To re-introduce ‘meaning’ into logic by the usage of ‘normal language’ would be a complete rewriting of the whole of modern logic.

At the time of writing these lines by Dewey 1938 there was not the faintest idea in logic how such a rewriting of the whole logic could look like.

With the new oksimo paradigm there could perhaps exist a slight chance to do it. Why? Here are the main arguments:

  1. The oksimo paradigm assumes an inference process leading from some assumed starting situation to some consequences generated by the application of some agreed change-rules.
  2. All situations are assumed to have a twofold nature: (i) primarily they are given as expressions of some language (it can be a normal language!); (ii) secondarily these expressions are part of the used normal language, where every researches is assumed to have a ‘built-in’ meaning function which has during his/her individual learning collected enough ‘meaning’, which allows  a symbolically  enabled cooperation with other researchers.
  3. Every researcher can judge every time whether a given or inferred situation is in agreement with his interpretation of the expressions and their relation to the given or considered possible situation.
  4. If the researchers assume in the beginning additionally an expectation (goal/ vision) of a possible outcome (possible consequence), then it is possible at every point of the sequence to judge to which degree the actual situation corresponds to the expected situation.

The second requirement of Dewey for the usage of logic for a pragmatic inquiry was given in the statement  “that an adequate set of symbols depends upon prior institution of valid ideas of the conceptions and relations that are symbolized.”(cf. p.2)

Thus not only the usage of normal language is required but also some presupposed knowledge.  Within the oksimo paradigm it is possible to assume as much presupposed knowledge as needed.

RESULTS SO FAR

After reading the preface to the book it seems that the pragmatic view of inquiry combined with some  idea of modern logic can directly be realized within the oksimo paradigm.

The following posts will show whether this is a good working hypothesis or not.

COMMENTS

[1] John Dewey, Logic. The Theory Of Inquiry, New York, Henry Holt and Company, 1938  (see: https://archive.org/details/JohnDeweyLogicTheTheoryOfInquiry with several formats; I am using the kindle (= mobi) format: https://archive.org/download/JohnDeweyLogicTheTheoryOfInquiry/%5BJohn_Dewey%5D_Logic_-_The_Theory_of_Inquiry.mobi . This is for the direct work with a text very convenient.  Additionally I am using a free reader ‘foliate’ under ubuntu 20.04: https://github.com/johnfactotum/foliate/releases/). The page numbers in the text of the review — like (p.13) — are the page numbers of the ebook as indicated in the ebook-reader foliate.(There exists no kindle-version for linux (although amazon couldn’t work without linux servers!))

[2] Gerd Doeben-Henisch, 2021, uffmm.org, THE OKSIMO PARADIGM
An Introduction (Version 2), https://www.uffmm.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/oksimo-v1-part1-v2.pdf

[3] John Dewey, Wikipedia [EN]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dewey

Continuation

See part 2 HERE.

MEDIA

Here some spontaneous recording of the author, talking ‘unplugged’ into a microphone how he would describe the content of the text above in a few words. It’s not perfect, but it’s ‘real’: we all are real persons not being perfect, but we have to fight for ‘truth’ and a better life while being ‘imperfect’ …. take it as ‘fun’ 🙂

OKSIMO MEETS POPPER. The Oksimo Theory Paradigm

eJournal: uffmm.org
ISSN 2567-6458, 2.April – 2.April  2021
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

CONTEXT

This text is part of a philosophy of science  analysis of the case of the oksimo software (oksimo.com). A specification of the oksimo software from an engineering point of view can be found in four consecutive  posts dedicated to the HMI-Analysis for  this software.

THE OKSIMO THORY PARADIGM
The Oksimo Theory Paradigm
Figure 1: The Oksimo Theory Paradigm

The following text is a short illustration how the general theory concept as extracted from the text of Popper can be applied to the oksimo simulation software concept.

The starting point is the meta-theoetical schema as follows:

MT=<S, A[μ], E, L, AX, ⊢, ET, E+, E-, true, false, contradiction, inconsistent>

In the oksimo case we have also a given empirical context S, a non-epty set of human actors A[μ] whith a built-in meaning function for the expressions E of some language L, some axioms AX as a subset of the expressions E, an inference concept , and all the other concepts.

The human actors A[μ] can write  some documents with the expressions E of language L. In one document S_U they can write down some universal facts they belief that these are true (e.g. ‘Birds can fly’).  In another document S_E they can write down some empirical facts from the given situation S like ‘There is something named James. James is a bird’. And somehow they wish that James should be able to fly, thus they write down a vision text S_V with ‘James can fly’.

The interesting question is whether it is possible to generate a situation S_E.i in the future, which includes the fact ‘James can fly’.

With the knowledge already given they can built the change rule: IF it is valid, that {Birds can fly. James is a bird} THEN with probability π = 1 add the expression Eplus = {‘James can fly’} to the actual situation S_E.i. EMinus = {}. This rule is then an element of the set of change rules X.

The simulator X works according to the schema S’ = S – Eminus + Eplus.

Because we have S=S_U + S_E we are getting

S’ = {Birds can fly. Something is named James. James is a bird.} – Eminus + Eplus

S’ = {Birds can fly. Something is named James. James is a bird.} – {}+ {James can fly}

S’ = {Birds can fly. Something is named James. James is a bird. James can fly}

With regard to the vision which is used for evaluation one can state additionally:

|{James can fly} ⊆ {Birds can fly. Something is named James. James is a bird. James can fly}|= 1 ≥ 1

Thus the goal has been reached with 1 meaning with 100%.

THE ROLE OF MEANING

What makes a certain difference between classical concepts of an empirical theory and the oksimo paradigm is the role of meaning in the oksimo paradigm. While the classical empirical theory concept is using formal (mathematical) languages for their descriptions with the associated — nearly unsolvable — problem how to relate these concepts to the intended empirical world, does the oksimo paradigm assume the opposite: the starting point is always the ordinary language as basic language which on demand can be extended by special expressions (like e.g. set theoretical expressions, numbers etc.).

Furthermore it is in the oksimo paradigm assumed that the human actors with their built-in meaning function nearly always are able to  decided whether an expression e of the used expressions E of the ordinary language L is matching certain properties of the given situation S. Thus the human actors are those who have the authority to decided by their meaning whether some expression is actually true or not.

The same holds with possible goals (visions) and possible inference rules (= change rules). Whether some consequence Y shall happen if some condition X is satisfied by a given actual situation S can only be decided by the human actors. There is no other knowledge available then that what is in the head of the human actors. [1] This knowledge can be narrow, it can even be wrong, but human actors can only decide with that knowledge what is available to them.

If they are using change rules (= inference rules) based on their knowledge and they derive some follow up situation as a theorem, then it can happen, that there exists no empiricial situation S which is matching the theorem. This would be an undefined truth case. If the theorem t would be a contradiction to the given situation S then it would be clear that the theory is inconsistent and therefore something seems to be wrong. Another case cpuld be that the theorem t is matching a situation. This would confirm the belief on the theory.

COMMENTS

[1] Well known knowledge tools are since long libraries and since not so long data-bases. The expressions stored there can only be of use (i) if a human actor knows about these and (ii) knows how to use them. As the amount of stored expressions is increasing the portion of expressions to be cognitively processed by human actors is decreasing. This decrease in the usable portion can be used for a measure of negative complexity which indicates a growng deterioration of the human knowledge space.  The idea that certain kinds of algorithms can analyze these growing amounts of expressions instead of the human actor themself is only constructive if the human actor can use the results of these computations within his knowledge space.  By general reasons this possibility is very small and with increasing negativ complexity it is declining.

 

 

 

CASE STUDY 1. FROM DAAI to ACA. Transforming HMI into ACA (Applied Cultural Anthropology)

eJournal: uffmm.org
ISSN 2567-6458, 28.July 2020
Email: info@uffmm.org

Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

Abstract

The collection of papers in the Case Studies Section deals with the
possible applications of the general concept of a GCA Generative Cul-
tural Anthropology to all kinds of cultural processes. The GCA paradigm
has been derived from the formalized DAAI Distributed Actor-Actor In-
teraction theory, which in turn is a development based on the common
HMI Human Machine Interaction paradigm reformulated within the Sys-
tems Engineering paradigm. The GCA is a very general and strong theory
paradigm, but, saying this, it is for most people difficult to understand,
because it is highly interdisciplinary, and it needs some formal technical
skills, which are not too common. During the work in the last three
months it became clear, that the original HMI and DAAI approach can
also be understood as the case of something which one could call ACA
Applied Cultural Anthropology as part of an GCA. The concept of ACA
is more or less directly understandable for most people.

case1-daai-aca-v1