Lukasiewicz's keywords


Logic and Philosophy

"I examined the great philosophical systems, proclaiming the universal causality of phenomena, in the light of that logic. I made sure that all of them, Kant's criticism not exckuded, fall into nothingness when subjected to logical criticism. They become a collection of loose ideas, sometimes brilliant, but devoid of scientific value."
(Farewell lecture by Prof. Jan Lukasiewicz, delivered in the Warsaw University Hall on March 7, 1918, in Selected Works, North Holland, Amsterdam 1970, p. 85).

"Logic, with mathematics, might be compared to a fine net which is cast into immense abyss of phenomena in order to cath the pearls that are scientific syntheses. It is a powerful instrument of research, but an instrument only. Logic and mathematics judgements are truths only in the world of ideal entities. We shall probably never know whether these entities have counterparts in any real objects"
(Creative elements in Science [1934], in Selected Works, op. cit., p.12).

"When we approach the great philosophical systems of Plato or Aristotle, Descartes or Spinoza, Kant or Hegel, with the criteria of precision set up by mathematical logic, these systems fall to pieces as if the were houses of cards. Their basic concepts are not clear, their most important theses are incomprehensible, their reasoning and proofs are inexact, and the logical theories which often underlie them are practically all erroneous. Philosophy must bu reconstructed from its very foundations; it should take its inspiration from scientific method and be based on the new logic. No single individual can dream of accomplish this task. This is work for a generation and for intellects much more powerful than those yet born"
("On determinism" [1946], in op. cit., pp. 111-2).

 "I wish to point that logistic not only is not a philosophical trend, but is not associated with any trend in philosophy [...] Now, it is certainly obvious that a person may do research work on syllogistic, and analogously on proof theory, while professing indifferently empiricism or rationalism, realism or idealism, or taking on these issues no standpoint at all. In logistic, as in arithmetic, no definite philosophical point of view is either explicitly assumed or clandestinely accepted. Logistic is not philosophy nor does it pretend to replace philosophy."
("Logistic and Philosophy" [1936], in op. cit., p. 222).

"I should like here to formulate my own opinion on this matter [the Carnap's denial of metaphysics] and to dissociate myself from the opinions of the Vienna Circle and from Carnap's opinion in particular. I have shifted my interests from philosophy to logistic, and the latter, not because of its content but because of its method, has greatly affected my opinion of philosophy. All this had happened even before the Vienna Circle was formed. [...] Metaphysical problems have been left unsolved, though, I think, they are not unsolvable. But they must be approached with a scientific method, the same well tested method which is used by a mathematician or a physicist. And above all people have to learn to think clearly, logically, and precisely. All modern philosophy has been incapacitated by the inability to think clearly, precisely, and in a scientific manner.
[...] In the light of these considerations, the difference between my standpoint on metaphysics and that of the Vienna Circle, and Carnap in particular, become clear. Carnap rejects metaphysical issues as meaningless because, following Kant, he counts as metaphysical propositions only those which claim to represent knowledge about something which remains completely outside all experience, e.g. the essence of things, things-in-themselves, the absolute, etc.. With such an interpretation of metaphysics I can agree with Carnap's opinion. But in fact we are not concerned with such a concept of metaphysics, which, as is commonly known, emerged from an erroneous interpretation of a title of Aristotelian works. There are problems, for instance those of the structure of the universe, which have always been included in philosophy, and in particular in metaphysics, regardles of whether or not one is inclined to call them metaphysical. For Carnap all these questions are only problem of language or, more strictly, problems of the syntax of language. [...]
I think that my standpoint is more cautious and more rational than the radical standpoint of Carnap and the Vienna Circle"
(Ib., pp. 226-233).

  Back to Lukasiewizc's main page

© Polish Philosophy Page, ed. by F. Coniglione -