The Paradox of Logic


Prof. Dr. Vidya Hattangadi
Director cum Professor of Marketing
Anjuman-I-Islam's Allana Institute of Management Studies

The usual view of logic is that "natural logic" - sometimes called "native wit" - is inborn.  Logic is the art and science of communication. Anything we believe or wonder about or disbelieve needs a logical base; everything thinkable has some initial credibility at first glance, but we are for this very reason required to further evaluate it, otherwise contradictories would be equally true.

Generally, our decision making involves the mind (or the brain) sensory mechanism, perception, cognition and the expression of results. We often will feel, perceive, think, remember and reason in an adaptive conscious and unconscious manner. In our daily lives, when we are faced with problems or just a situation which require a decision, we are often reminded to apply logic and reasoning for the most desired results. Hence, this is a basic reason why logic and reason are so essential in our lives

When the entire humanity is believed to being driven by the logic, why do we find blunders in some of the most glaring incidents in the civilization and more so in recent times?  In a nation like ours where we pride in multiple culture of different religions, castes, creeds, ideologies and fervors due to which the rulings are so very unpredictable. If somebody wants to apply logic to some of happenings today it would be described as holding a feather in the blowing wind.  The latest series of bomb blasts in Mumbai, Delhi, and Gujrat has been condemned by one and all.  The cry for a federal agency to handle cases of terrorism was raised because the present method of co-ordination between the Central and state agencies has been failed and Snot given the desired result. The perennial struggle between the Centre and the state continues unabated their main objective is to prove the dominance of one over the other. Statements flow from all parties as a matter of routine but the attempts to put a stop to such designs of subversive elements remains a major problem and the will to tackle it head on is absent. The state concerned says that it has no prior intimation while the Centre says that information was passed on in time. Where is the logic in the state expecting the Centre to give details of when and where the strikes would occur?

A former Prime Minister convicted for bribing his fellow MPs to vote for his party. A former chief minister convicted of corruption in a land deal and another former chief minister and some of his ministers charge sheeted in a number of corruption cases and facing trial and another convicted on grass scam. The list is much longer. The common man is stupid and has a short memory; the judiciary is over burdened hence all of them are continuing along merrily, neither fear nor shame inhibiting them.

Isn't it bizarre?  in our society today, there is no shame in being convicted of a crime. No fear in being called a criminal. And the fear of being tried prosecuted and sentenced being no deterrent at all in preventing these people, or others, from breaking the law. All these people will bristle at this label criminal being applied to them. But then, what else do we call a person who has been convicted of a crime by a court of law?

Take any system in our country, be it political, medical, law and order, education or banking and finance all of them are bitten with the bug named corruption. What logic could one apply to the corruption?

And, what logic can we apply to the case of reservation? Reservation has not done any good to any strata of Indian society. It's been there for 60 years and only people who have benefited from it our dishonest politicians. The word reservation has been abused in our country. Instead of practicing equality the politicians have created a rift between the people.

Hypocrisy has become the norm of the day. We have unconsciously accepted hypocrisy in all walks of life. Recently, Google employees in Bombay were attacked by Shiv Sena supporters because there was some raunchy content on Orkut! They beat up the security guards and by mistake beaten up the Yahoo employees thinking they were working for Google. It sounds funny isn't it?  The other day, the Police went in the Chennai pubs and bate people pretending to do moral policing. Schools and colleges are defining the dress codes when the kids are watching immoral crap in the daily soap operas. In Bangalore the pubs getting closed at 11p.m. What is the logic in the Government banning AXN and FTV? Is it democracy or autocracy?

In a country that has 1 billion population, 26 crore people living under poverty line, not enough potable drinking water for everyone, basic infrastructure problems of roads, power and education, in a country where so many court cases in backlogs the Government is getting involved in all sorts of superficial tricks. It is busy of doing everything else instead of giving us a working infrastructure, a terror-free environment to live a comfortable life and leave the moral policing on us. We know best what is good for us.

Since 1989 we have been having these coalition governments. We have been witnessing political parties supporting from outside, inside, under, over and what not. Politicians get sold and bought to be in power. Some one said, "Democracy is like the art of running a circus from a monkey cage". In India, it is almost like running the mafia. UPA government supporting the Mayawati BSP government when even the ideologies (apparently political parties are supposed to have one!) do not match!

Logical paradox is defined as an apparently true statement or group of statements that leads to a contradiction. Armed with the laws of logic and a few simple, reasonable, and apparently harmless assumptions, thinkers and philosophers have constructed proofs of the most absurd conclusions. Paradox in a loose sense plays a role in ethics debates too. For instance, it may be considered that an ethical admonition to "love thy neighbor". Isn't this a paradox India has been living with since its independence? Pakistan has been rejecting its role in creating terrorism in India, in destroying the communal harmony and all the while trying to obliterate the national stability of our country. But we still patiently believe in loving our neighbor!  

In the words of Robert Mayer, the author of "How to win any argument without raising your voice" logic is both truth and fiction. It is reality and illusion, magic and mystery. What appears logical to one may not seem logical to another.  While we all believe that logic does not exist in abstract, the logicians go on arguing the limitations of it.   

But, yes, logic can be used to eliminate the hypocrisy. It can be done when a policy stands the test of truth tables and scientific method. Logic can be used when there is no excuse for poor historical decisions to be repeated. 

Dr.Vidya Hattangadi the author is Director cum Professor of Marketing Management at the Allana Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. She can be contacted at

Prof. Dr. Vidya Hattangadi
Director cum Professor of Marketing
Anjuman-I-Islam's Allana Institute of Management Studies

Source: E-mail March 16, 2009


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