TOK Task #5 – Reasoning

Pure logic is only concerned with the structure of arguments. The validity of an argument is independent of the truth or falsity of its premises.

If something is logical, is it valid? Furthermore, what does it mean to be valid or have information that is valid? In terms of Theory of Knowledge, something that is valid is something that follows two premises and forms a conclusion.

In the natural sciences, validity is interpreted to mean that the result is something that agrees with what the scientific population has proven thus far and is what they believe at that time. Even if logical reasoning and deduction is utilised to make conclusions, the premises do not necessarily have to be true. For example, just because two premises form a sound conclusion does not mean that it is valid.

For example:

Premise 1: Eukaryotes are a type of cell
Premise 2: Eukaryotic cells have a nucleus
Conclusion: All cells have a nucleus.

According to scientific evidence this statement is not true despite the fact that the argument is valid. Both premises are true, yet this does not make the final argument true. This shows that the validity of an argument is independent from the truth or falsity of its premises.

However, on the other hand, the validity of an argument can also be connected to the truth or falsity of its premises.

For example:

Premise 1: The United States has a president.
Premise 2: The president lives in the White House.
Conclusion: The president lives in the White House.

This would show that the validity of an argument is related to the truth or falsity of its premises as in this case, both premises are known to be true. Therefore, the way the statements are interpreted is all dependent on the structure of the language.

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