Conclusions. Ends. Termini. What do we know about conclusions and how do they effect us?
If one comes to a conclusion, he should have examined all of the pertinent information and the point at which he ends up is the conclusion he has reached. In some cases it is the only conclusion that is possible, and therefore probably a true cessation of examination. In other cases it is the better of two or more conclusions, though any other conclusions may be just as valid barring more evidence to weight the true conclusion to one or another of the possibilities. Coming to a conclusion is sometimes subjective, but can also be, and in its pure form should always be, objective.
If one jumps to a conclusion, he is likely skipping much of the examination process in order to arrive at a pre-determined or narrowly defined terminus of thought. One sees “A” and one sees “B” and concludes that there is a correlation, connection, or other symbiosis between them. One then concludes that “A” led to “B”, or “B” is the result of “A”. Jumping to a conclusion is always subjective and quite often wrong. Even if subjective conclusions are the terminus of thinking, and even if they are correct in their final conclusion, they are anti-logical and fallaciously arrived at due to the nature of subjective reasoning itself.
In other words, let’s say there is a murder investigation being undertaken by a police agency. Let’s say that the lead detective feels that the spouse of the deceased is the guilty party and subjectively arrives at that conclusion due to prior experience, instinct, body language, or whatever other subjective reasoning might be involved. If the spouse is guilty, but only the subjective evidence is presented, the subjective conclusion will bear no weight in court room testimony and will likely not even lead to an arrest warrant. If, on the other hand, objective evidence, such as forensics, points to a reasoned conclusion, or corroborates subjective reasoning, there will likely be a warrant, and very possibly a conviction. Conclusions need evidence to be valid. They are weakened and made worthless by emotion, supposition, inference, incomplete or unthought out lines of information.
Conclusions are a part of logical consequence, which is itself a fundamental concept in logic. It is the relation that holds between a set of sentences (or propositions) and a sentence (proposition) when the former “entails” the latter. For example, ‘Kermit is green’ is said to be a logical consequence of ‘All frogs are green’ and ‘Kermit is a frog’, because it would be “self-contradictory” to affirm the latter and deny the former. Logical consequence is the relationship between the premises and the conclusion of a valid argument. These explanations and definitions tend to be circular; the provision of a satisfactory account of logical consequence and entailment is an important topic of philosophy of logic.
Therefore, while saying that ‘All frogs are green’, if one were to say that ‘Kermit is green,’ one could not logically conclude that he was a frog, since there are other things that are green, such as grass. But to say that ‘All frogs are green’, and then to say that ‘Kermit is a frog,’ one must conclude that Kermit is green.
So, in other words, the truth of the conclusion depends on both the truth of the antecedents and the relationship of logical consequence between the antecedents and the conclusion. The conclusion might NOT be true if not all frogs were green. Logical consequences or inferences by deductive reasoning are a major aspect of epistemology that communicates to the general public hypotheses about causality of risk factors.
In other words, if one comes to a conclusion because it is the ONLY possibility, logically, evidentiarily, maybe even reasonably, then that conclusion holds some weight and is worth arriving at, and maybe even forwarding to others. If, on the other hand, one comes to a conclusion based on emotion, subjective reasoning, prejudice of any sort, and otherwise unsubstantiated by a preponderance of logic and objective evidence, then that conclusion is likely worthless, and only accidentally and incidentally correct, if it is in, in fact, correct at all.
Conclusions are where the mind usually stops working. We must each be responsible for those conclusions that cause a cessation of thought, particularly as they effect others. It is in this area of subjectivity that prejudice begins and reason dies.