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Simplicity

  • Roy Harrod
Chapter

Abstract

IN the foregoing chapters we have dealt in turn with certain categories of existents: namely continuities, simple concomitances, repetitions of complex structures. In each case we have developed arguments which have implied denying the truth of the Heracleitean hypothesis, anyhow in application to our range of observations and to the existents in question. In each case the inductive argument outlined has been framed in relation to the type of existent in question; the mode of argument has been appropriate to the type; the most fundamental argument of all, namely the direct use of the principle of experience, is appropriate for dealing with continuities as such. Those who make the consideration of symbols their starting-point in logical studies may be surprised at finding such ad hoc and particular concepts as continuity and repetition playing a part in an analysis of the most fundamental logical principles. In each case, leverage for argument was derived from the special characteristics of the concept. It may be claimed that this is a sign that the principles set forth do not belong to the highest level of abstraction. That may be so. It does not follow that the principles are incorrect. In logic, as in other studies, we cannot hope to find the most abstract principles ready made by some innate precognition. We have to climb to the highest level of abstraction by the humdrum method of getting an understanding of the true principles operating at a lower level. I cannot forbear repeating my suspicion that the over-ambitious and over-hasty attempt to formulate logical principles at the most abstract level has diverted the minds of logicians from the fundamental problems of their subject.

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1974

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  • Roy Harrod

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