• frank
    1.7k
    Imagine little Jonestown, cut off from the rest of the world. Their logic textbooks were accidently misprinted and now they're all wrong about what's logical and what's not.

    Does this scenario make sense? If it does, then what does that imply about logic? If it doesn't, how did you arrive at that conclusion?

    This is sort of ripped off from Haugeland's essay Truth and Rule-Following.
  • LD Saunders
    314
    Well, since the truth of a proposition does not depend on the number of people believing it, I'm not sure how such a situation would undermine logic. In fact, my guess is that the community would be quite dysfunctional, and not get along as well as a community that did adhere to logic.
  • Fusilli Al Dente
    6
    I have a lot of trouble imagining such a community. Logic is not an idea. It is mathematical tool inherent to human thought. I guess that, even if all logic books were misprinted, burned, etc., logic would prevail as an unconscious thought process.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    Does this scenario make sense?frank

    I don't believe it makes sense. There's a reason that Boole's text, for example, was called The Laws of Thought. Logic is a way that we think about things. So we're not going to just pick it up from a book. Books can help us refine this type of thinking, and we can learn ways that other people think in this manner that we might not have thought of ourselves--at least not in short order--but it's not as if we're blank slates to be written on when it comes to logic. It's a way we already think, a way human brains naturally work.
  • eodnhoj7
    183
    While that "logic" may be wrong to the outside civilization, it will still exist as a framework which determines the movements of that community.

    Or they may learn there own logic in the respect the books do not line up with the various abstract and empirical realities they deal with.
  • frank
    1.7k
    Well, since the truth of a proposition does not depend on the number of people believing it, I'm not sure how such a situation would undermine logic. In fact, my guess is that the community would be quite dysfunctional, and not get along as well as a community that did adhere to logic.LD Saunders

    How dysfunctional?
  • frank
    1.7k
    Logic is a way that we think about things.Terrapin Station

    But then why do we teach students to detect illogical arguments?
  • frank
    1.7k
    Or they may learn there own logic in the respect the books do not line up with the various abstract and empirical realities they deal with.eodnhoj7

    Like what?
  • macrosoft
    511
    Their logic textbooks were accidently misprinted and now they're all wrong about what's logical and what's not.frank

    This is a nice point. I've often found it amusing when folks accuse one another of logical fallacies without reflecting on the authority of the texts they read to get these fallacy objections. Personally I 'believe' in logical fallacies, but I'd say they have some kind of phenomenological/empirical foundation. When we remove the emotionally loaded concepts to generate examples, most of us I think tend to agree that this or that move is fallacy, at least after some reflection. So I think TS is right that logic is a kind of hardwired thing that we merely formalize in textbooks (which also makes a kind of calculus possible, convenient for complicated cases.)
  • frank
    1.7k
    So you believe logic is innate?
  • macrosoft
    511
    But then why do we teach students to detect illogical arguments?frank

    While the foundations are shared, intelligence is finite. In complicated cases, it's not always easy to parse the complexity. And then in a real world context there are usually emotions involved. To some degree teaching logic seems related to teaching adulthood. Think before you leap. Look carefully to avoid the kind of thinking that will lead to disaster.
  • macrosoft
    511
    ↪macrosoft So you believe logic is innate?frank

    Yes, roughly.
  • frank
    1.7k
    While the foundations are shared, intelligence is finite. In complicated cases, it's not always easy to parse the complexity. And then in a real world context there are usually emotions involved. To some degree teaching logic seems related to teaching adulthood. Think before you leap. Look carefully so to avoid the kind of thinking that will lead to disaster.macrosoft

    So if everyone could arrive at the same level of emotional maturity, we would all automatically have the ability to distinguish the logical from the illogical?

    How would you explain the innateness of logic?
  • macrosoft
    511
    So if everyone could arrive at the same level of emotional maturity, we would all automatically have the ability to distinguish the logical from the illogical?frank

    No. It's not only emotional maturity. It is also (seems to me) something like math, especially pure math. Some have more of knack for this than others. Maybe it's something like a certain 'space' in the imagination. Some people have more of this kind of space and can 'turn around' more complicated objects for consideration.

    How would you explain the innateness of logic?frank

    I don't know. Depends what you mean by explain. Ultimately I think we have lots of brute facts, or at least they are brute facts given the structure of our cognition (logic hardwiring.) In this case, I'm guessing that someone has studied it and found some predictive algorithms from some vector of attributes to some other vector of attributes --which is maybe what most mean by explanation. But I haven't looked into it. My sense of its innateness (that it is there for whatever reason) mostly comes from working with logic and math.

    *We seem to assume some kind of mutual notion of logic and rationality whenever we sincerely communicate.
  • frank
    1.7k
    Giving an account of why logic is innate would be structured by logic. Is that a problem? Maybe it would be in some cases, but not all? I'm thinking of an account that says logic is divine, and so bound to lead to right answers. What's the alternative, I wonder.
  • macrosoft
    511
    Giving an account of why logic is innate would be structured by logic. Is that a problem?frank

    It might be if one insisted on the impossible project of working without presuppositions or history. I'm glad to no longer feel that itch.

    I'm thinking of an account that says logic is divine, and so bound to lead to right answers. What's the alternative, I wonder.frank

    An answer may lurk in exploring the meaning of 'right answers.' Do we perhaps mean that the answer simply accords with our logic? Then logic is bound to lead to the right answers, since right answers are those we are led to by logic. (Of course this is circular, because I guess logic is the/a word that tries to get at exactly what we can't get 'behind' in our thinking. Logic is what it is, like God.)
  • frank
    1.7k
    It might be if one insisted on the impossible project of working without presuppositions or history. I'm glad to no longer feel that itch.macrosoft

    No longer? What changed?

    An answer may lurk in exploring the meaning of 'right answers.' Do we perhaps mean that the answer simply accords with our logic? Then logic is bound to lead to the right answers, since right answers are those we are led to by logic. (Of course this is circular, because I guess logic is the/a word that tries to get at exactly what we can't get 'behind' in our thinking. Logic is what it is, like God.)macrosoft

    I think logic can lead to the wrong answer: GIGO. But if logic is part of our make-up because it provides a survival advantage, then our theories may also seem right to us because believing them provides a survival advantage, not because they're true.

    Do you think illogical statements can be truth-apt?
  • eodnhoj7
    183
    Part of logic is attaching an inherent symbolism to concepts with the quantity and quality of the symbols determining the nature of not just the reasoning but the language as well.

    For example observing a standard "and" or "or" symbol symbol in certain logics (I can't put it up because of the ipad) gives not just an intuitive persception of the connectors but determines the language. "And" may be one word, both/and while similar is a separate concept.

    Certain languages have multiple meanings for a word/symbol while others have less. The symbolic nature of the language, and it's inherent meanings attached determine the nature of the language. Some languages, such as German, are reputed to be more precise than English. In turn we see the German cultures having a higher degree of precision in mashing, logic/philosophy than there English counterparts.

    In these respects the symbol takes on the nature of an art form relative to the culture, and while an expression of the culture is a means of forming it through time.

    In a separate respect,

    While the language may be the same, under this example, the books may not reflect the nature of the reality they live in. A Greek book may reflect barbarian tribes as cruel while the interactions with the natives may reflect a more of a curiosity (rather than savagery) on part of the natives.

    The book may argue certain chemical combination for gun powder, but in light of little resource the settlers may have to find some alternative means of creating it.
  • matt
    92
    One of my favorite hipster philosophy quotes about truth is that it is subjective ~ SK
  • eodnhoj7
    183
    thanks for the objective statement...lol.
  • macrosoft
    511
    No longer? What changed?frank

    With the help of various influences, I started to see language in a new way. The project of building a certain kind of 'word castle' appeared both less and less possible and important. Our 'natural' grasp of existence seems to be top-down, not bottom-up. We interpret one another with the whole of individual grasps of existence as a whole. The bottom-up approach starts with a mostly unquestioned project and grasp.

    The 'groundless ground' that Lee Braver writes about is really fascinating to me right now. I think this 'groundless ground' is the big, dark think we depend on, nevermind the appeal of building everything up securely from atoms that are somehow intelligible apart from that big, dark ground. And then I got more formal scientific training, so that philosophy as super-science again became less plausible.

    While the question 'What should I believe?' is indeed important, it seems to have an irreducibly personal dimension that connects it to 'Who shall I try to be as a whole?'
  • macrosoft
    511
    I think logic can lead to the wrong answer: GIGO. But if logic is part of our make-up because it provides a survival advantage, then our theories may also seem right to us because believing them provides a survival advantage, not because they're true.frank

    I understand you and agree with you in this context. I've been studying things like artificial neural networks lately. I think they are great metaphors. Our theories are trained on particular sets of data. We assume without being able to help it that our experience so far is useful for preparing for the future, even if we 'logically' know better. It gets very tangled, because we doubt what believe in part because of the theory of evolution. But theoretically that makes this same theory of evolution suspect, as one more theory. In practice, though, I 'believe' in the theory of evolution --and lots of other models that subvert themselves and one another at least a little bit. While we try to make it all cohere, one of my models tell me that we usually ignore all kinds of such self-subversion and interference between our models. At any given time, our attention is here or there. It just can't be all places at once, guarding against all possible dissonance. Instead it seems like the greatest or most currently relevant dissonance comes to the foreground. Our blanket is a little too small. Our feet get cold. We fix the blanket. Then our shoulders get cold.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    But then why do we teach students to detect illogical arguments?frank

    Read the rest of the post: "Books [and teaching] can help us refine this type of thinking, and we can learn ways that other people think in this manner that we might not have thought of ourselves--at least not in short order--but it's not as if we're blank slates to be written on when it comes to logic. It's a way we already think, a way human brains naturally work."
  • frank
    1.7k
    While we try to make it all cohere, one of my models tell me that we usually ignore all kinds of such self-subversion and interference between our models.macrosoft

    Is logic part of the concept of world coherence?
  • frank
    1.7k
    Sure. Philosophical tradition says that innate knowledge is exercised into existence. If the circumstances for triggering a certain formation never happens, the knowledge remains latent.
  • frank
    1.7k
    I notice that no one believes logic is not innate. But explore that anyway; what if it's basically community norms?
  • macrosoft
    511
    Is logic part of the concept of world coherence?frank

    Yes, IMO, if we takelogic in a wider sense.

    I notice that no one believes logic is not innate. But explore that anyway; what if it's basically community norms?frank

    This is a good theme. I can relate to understanding logic more generally in terms of the community's norms for speaking. Some ideas are so 'hot' that merely approaching them with detachment is guilty and suspect. @Jake is exploring this in another thread. Maybe lots of us allow ourselves dangerous thinking in private without finding it worth the trouble to hold that part of the space open. It seems to me that 'deep' individually is related to a distance on some level from what everyone believes. With no distance there is just total self-righteous immersion. This is the mob-self, and I think there is something in us that loves sinking into the warmth of the mob.

    And yet also something (stronger in some than in others) that loves a kind of 'violence' against everything settled.
  • frank
    1.7k
    This is the mob-self, and I think there is something in us that loves sinking into the warmth of the mob.macrosoft

    James Comey talked about that in his book.
  • ssu
    712
    Does this scenario make sense? If it does, then what does that imply about logic? If it doesn't, how did you arrive at that conclusion?

    This is sort of ripped off from Haugeland's essay Truth and Rule-Following.
    frank
    If their logic is totally wrong, it's simply useless. You cannot use it in solving practical problems or anything. It cannot be used as it's intended. It basically becomes just scripture that you have to memorize that doesn't make sense. Sure, the teacher can read it out loud and they can try to fathom about what the hell is logic about, but likely it will just remain something utterly useless and difficult, which just has to be memorized to pass the test on the subject and be forgotten later. Likely the subject is just a lot more difficult and a lot more hated than 'logical' logic.

    Think about going to Church in Medieval Times. The ordinary folk gathered around in the biggest structure that has been built (the Church) and a priest started the sermon in latin. Likely people (except Italians perhaps) didn't understand anything what was said, but who cares. People gather to worship, the priest mumbles something that people cannot understand and everyone's happy afterward. Later you had huge turmoil in Christianity when the Bible was translated to other languages and ordinary people could read and intrepret the Holy book.

    That might be the similar case when "logic" is taught in Jonestown. The teacher makes his or her bravest effort to reason the illogical logic and the more capable students simply memorize things like "if A>B>C then C>A". It's not hard to memorize that one, actually.
  • frank
    1.7k
    The usefulness of logic indicates what (about the logicalness of the world)? Or is that just a wrong question?
  • LD Saunders
    314
    When you asked how dysfunctional the group would be, I think they would be extremely dysfunctional. Think about it. We go home, and turn on the light switch, to turn the lights on. Why? Because there is a logical inference that since it has worked in the past, we may as well give it a try. In other words, our most basic assumptions regarding causation are based on logic, so if their logic was all wrong, then they could not even figure out how to repeat a successful process, and they would likely go extinct rather fast. They would definitely be likely to win the Darwin prize.
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