A sociology of formal logic? Essay review of Claude Rosental’s ‘Weaving Self-Evidence: A Sociology of Logic'
journal contributionposted on 2014-02-28, 14:26 authored by Christian Greiffenhagen
Through a variety of case studies, social studies of science – in particular the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) – has demonstrated that scientific experiments and theorems can be open for debate. However, can that also be true for logical arguments? Say, someone accepted the assertion (A), ‘things that are equal to the same are equal to each other’, and the assertion (B), ‘the two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same’, but then had doubts over whether or not to accept also, (Z) ‘the two sides of this triangle are equal to each other’, would we not be tempted to say to them, as Achilles says to the Tortoise in Lewis Carroll’s famous dialogue, that: Then Logic would take you by the throat and force you to [accept] it! … Logic would tell you ‘You can’t help yourself. Now that you have accepted A and B … you must accept Z!’ So you’ve no choice, you see. (Carroll, 1895: 280) If we really had no choice, then what could the sociologist say about logic? However, if (as Carroll’s dialogue was meant to show) logic ‘in itself’ cannot force us to accept any particular next step, then what other factors could create the impression of the self-evident nature of logical reasoning – and could these be social factors?
- Social Sciences
- Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies
CitationGREIFFENHAGEN, C., 2010. A sociology of formal logic? Essay review of Claude Rosental’s ‘Weaving Self-Evidence: A Sociology of Logic'. Social Studies of Science, 40 (3), pp.471-480.
PublisherSAGE Publications / © The Author(s)
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)
NotesThis article was published in the journal, Social Studies of Science [SAGE Publications / © The Author(s)]. The definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0306312709357229.