DHRUV RATHEE, RAMAYANA AND LOGIC: How logic is misunderstood

One fine day, I was undertaking my regular chore of grazing through social media. Owing to the tendencies of the human brain, I didn’t bother stalling for more than 3 seconds until a video popped up. It was a podcast. The questionnaire was not the taste of my attention, but the question, the answerer, and the answer indeed were. Why the answerer? Well, it was Dhruv Rathee. Duh! The protagonist of ‘A Tale of two cities Nations’.

The question involved the epic Ramayana, and the answer unsurprisingly involved how it is unreal and how its events defy Logic. With a haughty tone, he then sings praise of his very ability to think critically and logically. 

What became clear to me after this was that he somehow tried to put Logic in the same category as a fact verifier. There was also an underlying assumption that Logic is somehow the very entity that validates pragmatism.

What I will go on to show in this article is not the logical basis for Ramayana or contest its mythical standing but instead, go on to show that the project of Logic only validates the argument as long as a specific structure is maintained and that there are no logical minds per se but only logical structures.

Making sense is not logic

When we say that a person is not logical, what we are referring to is a mental state or even personality in some cases. In such cases, it has everything to do with mental faculties of comprehension and expression rather than the structure inherent in Logic. So, the first thing that demands attention is the demarcation of Logic itself. Another thing that a lot of people misunderstand is that anything that doesn’t make sense should be defenestrated. They erroneously conflate ‘sense’ with ‘logic.’ A particular argument may not make sense and yet be ‘valid’ because ‘validity’ is not the same as ‘soundness.’

To learn further about truth and validity refer: http://home.iitk.ac.in/~avrs/PH142/Books/Patrick2012.pdf (1st chapter)


Understanding Truth and Validity: The Ramayana issue

A valid argument only asserts that as long as the premises of an argument are true, the conclusion must be true. It refers to the structure, a formulaic structure, to be precise, rather than the nature of the content of the premises or propositions.

So, when I assert that:

  1. Ram was born x years ago. 
  2. If someone was born, then they must exist. 
  3. Ram is someone who was born; therefore, he must exist.

The first premise of this deductive argument is sort of a claim that lies beyond the scope of Logic and is called what Patric Hurley calls a ‘factual claim.’

Deciding whether it (a factual claim) is fulfilled often falls outside the domain of logic” So, one of the primary tasks of Logic is to track down the reasoning process (one thing following from the other) or the ‘inferential claim’ which in this case is the second and the third argument. 

Furthermore, the argument above is not true or false. Since falsity is not the property of an argument but rather the individual statements that comprise it, the overall argument may be refuted in regard to the conclusion and may incite a declination, but it is valid and logical nonetheless.

 It may or may not be sound, depending on whether the premises are true or false. But how to find out whether they were true? Well! In answering that, I would be addressing an epoch-long predicament of humanity itself.

Connecting the pieces

Now, how is all of this relevant? Well! The apocryphal elements of Ramayana that are judged as untrue or myth purport to claim their actual occurrence. Denying these or affirming these both have nothing to do with the scope of Logic.  

So, if I say Ram is a historical character, or Ram is a mythical character, in both these cases, Logic would have to leave room for subjectivity to take over. The objective portion would be what is followed from the previous premise or what is entailed. As Hurley puts it, “The inferential claim is an objective feature of an argument grounded in its language or structure.”  Whether Dhruv says that Ramayana is mythical and I say that Ramayana is not mythical and the arguments that have been reached have a logical flow, then in both cases, we are being logical and not in the mental sense but only in what we are affirming.

Remember that Ramayana and Logic can or cannot be mutually exclusive depending upon your lense of viewing the narrative.

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