Page 6 - Judaic Logic
P. 6







ABSTRACT.

Judaic logic: A Formal Analysis of Biblical, Talmudic and Rabbinic Logic is an
original inquiry into the forms of thought determining Jewish law and belief, from the impartial
1
perspective of a logician .

Judaic Logic attempts to honestly estimate the extent to which the logic employed
within Judaism fits into the general norms, and whether it has any contributions to make
to them. The author ranges far and wide in Jewish lore, finding clear evidence of both
inductive and deductive reasoning in the Torah and other books of the Bible, and analyzing the
methodology of the Talmud and other Rabbinic literature by means of formal tools which
make possible its objective evaluation with reference to scientific logic. The result is a highly
innovative work - incisive and open, free of clich├ęs or manipulation.

Judaic Logic succeeds in translating vague and confusing interpretative principles and
examples into formulas with the clarity and precision of Aristotelian syllogism. Among the
positive outcomes, for logic in general, are a thorough listing, analysis and validation of the
various forms of a-fortiori argument, as well as a clarification of dialectic logic. However, on
the negative side, this demystification of Talmudic/Rabbinic modes of thought (hermeneutic
and heuristic) reveals most of them to be, contrary to the boasts of orthodox commentators, far
from deductive and certain. They are often, legitimately enough, inductive. But they are also
often unnatural and arbitrary constructs, supported by unverifiable claims and fallacious
techniques.

Many other thought-processes, used but not noticed or discussed by the Rabbis,
are identified in this treatise, and subjected to logical review. Various more or less
explicit Rabbinic doctrines, which have logical significance, are also examined in it. In
particular, this work includes a formal study of the ethical logic (deontology) found in
Jewish law, to elicit both its universal aspects and its peculiarities.

With regard to Biblical studies, one notable finding is an explicit formulation
(which, however, the Rabbis failed to take note of and stress) of the principles of
2
adduction in the Torah, written long before the acknowledgement of these principles
in Western philosophy and their assimilation in a developed theory of knowledge.
Another surprise is that, in contrast to Midrashic claims, the Tanakh (Jewish Bible)
contains a lot more than ten instances of qal vachomer (a-fortiori) reasoning.

In sum, Judaic Logic elucidates and evaluates the epistemological assumptions which
have generated the Halakhah (Jewish religious jurisprudence) and allied doctrines. Traditional
justifications, or rationalizations, concerning Judaic law and belief, are carefully dissected and
weighed at the level of logical process and structure, without concern for content. This
foundational approach, devoid of any critical or supportive bias, clears the way for a timely
reassessment of orthodox Judaism (and incidentally, other religious systems, by means of
analogies or contrasts). Judaic Logic ought, therefore, to be read by all Halakhists, as well as
Bible and Talmud scholars and students; and also by everyone interested in the theory, practice
and history of logic.




1
Avi Sion is the author of Future Logic: Categorical and Conditional Deduction and
Induction of the Natural, Temporal, Extensional and Logical Modalities, which is a large-scale
study in generic formal logic and epistemology.
2
The testing, and confirmation or rejection, of hypotheses - i.e. of beliefs, and equally of the
reasons or explanations put forward in support of beliefs.
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11