## What can logic do without information?

• 599
Imagine you are born as adult, fully intelligent, in a completely empty universe. What does it even mean to be intelligent without having no any information about anything? Or do we get born with some kind of basic information with which we could then derive some basic concepts and eventually geometry and math? By the way, what are the minimum necessary concepts to derive the concept of colors?
• 676
Imagine you are born as adult, fully intelligent, in a completely empty universe.
I can't really imagine that. Perhaps you should ask someone who's entered a sensory deprivation chamber because that's the closest you can get to being conscious in an empty universe.

What does it even mean to be intelligent without having no any information about anything?
I don't think there can be an intelligent being who literally doesn't know anything.

Or do we get born with some kind of basic information with which we could then derive some basic concepts and eventually geometry and math?
It's an old philosophical problem. Some philosophers believe we are born with a blank slate. I'm thinking of empiricists such as Locke and Hume.
• 599

We usualy get born with two eyes and one nose. With the help then of the sense of touch, perhaps that's sufficient to derive everything else in the Platonic realm of geometry and math, and who knows what else is there.
• 7.2k
that's sufficient to derive everything else in the Platonic realm of geometry and math, and who knows what else is there.

I doubt it. Without sensory input the brain would not develop beyond a mush of cells.

Mathematics is the recognition of patterns - no patterns, no maths.,

And without other folk, no language within which to enjoy one's existential angst.

Just a blank.
• 1.3k
What does it even mean to be intelligent without having no any information about anything?

Quite a bit of behaviour emerges from learning how to react to a posteriori information, in Kant's lingo. Still, pure reason, i.e. a priori cognition only, is also possible. Mathematics, being language about language, has gradually become exclusively a priori, i.e. pure reason.

Or do we get born with some kind of basic information with which we could then derive some basic concepts and eventually geometry and math?

When you look at the basic beliefs, i.e. system-wide premises, in propositional logic (14 axioms), standard number theory (9 axioms) and standard set theory (10 axioms), you can clearly see that these axiomatic beliefs look arbitrary, speculative, and without possible justification. The fact that we readily adopt these seemingly arbitrary beliefs certainly suggests that they could be somehow part of our nature, i.e. our innate disposition.

Seriously, there is nothing rationally meaningful about these basic beliefs. That does not mean that they are wrong. It just means that reason itself is not possible without having such basic, unjustified, and therefore seemingly unreasonable beliefs. In other words, the foundations of reason are not reasonable.
• 7.2k
Quite a bit of behaviour emerges from learning how to react to a posteriori information, in Kant's lingo. Still, pure reason, i.e. a priori cognition only, is also possible. Mathematics, being language about language, has gradually become exclusively a priori, i.e. pure reason.

Kant was wrong.

Mathematics is the recognition of patterns - no patterns, no maths.

Logic is just grammar; ways of putting symbols together. Nothing to symbolise means no symbols.
• 903
:point:
• 2.8k
By the way, what are the minimum necessary concepts to derive the concept of colors?
I don't see how a color is a concept, or how it could be derived from prior concepts. It is a brute sensation. Actually, concepts are composed of colors. In this sense, colors are one of the basic building blocks of concepts. Every thought you have isn't composed of words. They are composed of colors, shapes, sounds, tactile sensations, etc. Words are themselves composed of these things. You can't use words without having eyes and ears, or the sense of touch for braille.

The form our knowledge takes is dependent upon the types of senses we have. The types of senses we have is dependent upon the process of natural selection.
• 599

It is communicated as a concept. Black to white grayscale is a simple concept of linear variable, brightness varies from 0 to 255 for example. So then RGB frame for color concept is combination of three such variables: Red, Green, Blue. But it might not be a simple combination, don't know.
• 345
Logic without information from the real world is entirely abstract.
Logic with information from the real world is real.
They are two entirely distinct domains.

As for logic without information, one can construct pretty Mandelbrot pictures, which are entirely abstract.
• 17
Yea, I think logic requires some sort of substance to use it upon. Also, I think some of the logic/intuition that a newborn is born with, comes from the genetic information that is passed to him/her.
• 667

Logic without science is religion.
• 17
Haha yes, logic becomes whatever tf' you want it to be.
• 1.3k
the concept of colors?

Is a completely different thing from colors themselves. The "concept of colors" can be anything, from 4 numbers representing the degree of red, blue and green, to just one concept "color" which represents each color. Both of these renditions do not let you see color however if you've never seen it
• 667
I think logic requires some sort of substance to use it upon.

Logic without science is religion.

Haha yes, logic becomes whatever tf' you want it to be.
• 875
Nothingness has no content whatsoever, but can still be spiritual. "Emptiness is empty" says the Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra
• 34
I cannot think of a better definition of pure mathematics than the title of this thread. Pure logic provides a structure to the hypotheticals we might postulate and definitions we might construct.

Logic validates reasoning as a specific epistemology* validates the assumptions from which we reason.

*(I was about to say science or observation but some live in a different epistemological world.)
• 1.3k
Mathematics is the recognition of patterns - no patterns, no maths.,

Well, no. That is science. That is not mathematics.

Look at first order (predicate) logic, i.e. the language of mathematics.

It is a syntax/grammar along with the 14 axiomatic rules of propositional calculus that operates on variables that do not need to represent anything. For example, the following logic statement says that a particular real function f is continuous in point $x_{0}$:

$\forall \epsilon \gt0\,\exists \delta \gt0\,\forall x\in D:|x-x_{0}|\lt\delta \implies |f(x)-f(x_{0})|\lt\epsilon$

This logic statement expresses an abstraction ("continuity") about another abstraction ("real function"). It is an idea about another idea. These ideas are not part of the physical universe. They are merely concepts that live in a Platonic world constructed from scratch from basic rules as building bricks.

Such abstract, Platonic world is not observable and has nothing to do with observation.

Science and engineering do indeed end up using these abstractions in a real-world context, but then, very tightly governed by an empirical regulatory framework that seeks to maintain correspondence.

It is absolutely not advisable to use this kind of abstractions directly, in a real-world context, without empirical regulations.
• 5.3k
Imagine you are born as adult, fully intelligent, in a completely empty universe. What does it even mean to be intelligent without having no any information about anything? Or do we get born with some kind of basic information with which we could then derive some basic concepts and eventually geometry and math? By the way, what are the minimum necessary concepts to derive the concept of colors?

A very difficult scenario to make sense of. What would a lonely existence in an empty universe be like as an experience? Since the universe is empty the only thing left to become aware of, as a consciousness, would be the self. Would I as a conscious being, alone and surrounded by nothing, ever become aware of myself?

I don't remember myself as a child. Yes, I did feel mental and physical pain but my childhood, as is probably everyone's, could be described as a house with the lights on but without any occupants. So, even with constant external pressure, gently and sometimes violently, impressing upon me my own selfhood, the realization escaped me until the late teens and even then it was a very dim sense of selfhood. Only later, much much later, did I ever become aware of my own self and that process involved a great deal of prodding by the external world. If this description fits most of us then, it would be nigh impossible for a single inhabitant of an empty universe to know the only truth knowable in such a universe viz. knowledge of its own existence.

The self exists only in relation to a not-self. There must be an other against which a conscious being collides into and through that meeting become self-aware; an empty universe is devoid of such an opportunity and so it must be that a single denizen of an empty universe will find it next to impossible to gain the single piece of knowledge avaialble to it.
• 1.3k
Logic validates reasoning as a specific epistemology* validates the assumptions from which we reason.

We cannot validate the assumptions, i.e. the first principles, from which we reason, because they cannot be justified.

We can generally also not validate the entire theory that rests on these assumptions. If you can prove in a sufficiently-powerful first-order theory (The problem starts occurring from Q, i.e. Robinson's arithmetic) that it is consistent, then it is necessarily inconsistent (Gödel's second incompleteness).

Hence, provable consistency implies inconsistency. It simply means that the theory is lying to you about its consistency, and through the principle of explosion, about absolutely anything it says. Therefore, you cannot trust anything such theory tells you.

Many of the first order theories described above can be extended to complete recursively enumerable consistent theories. This is no longer true for most of the following theories; they can usually encode both multiplication and addition of natural numbers, and this gives them enough power to encode themselves, which implies that Gödel's incompleteness theorem applies and the theories can no longer be both complete and recursively enumerable (unless they are inconsistent).

If the first incompleteness applies, then the second one automatically applies too (second incompleteness is provable from first incompleteness).
• 7.2k
Mathematics is the recognition of patterns - no patterns, no maths.,
— Banno

Well, no.

...and then you try to demonstrate this, using patterns...

Cutting out the slack, I'm pointing out that the private language argument shows that the world hypothesised in the OP cannot happen. Language is essentially social.
• 1.3k
Cutting out the slack, I'm pointing out that the private language argument shows that the world hypothesised in the OP cannot happen. Language is essentially social.

Machines very well understand (formal) language. Machines are not necessarily social.

#!/usr/bin/env lua

print("hello world")
print("I can correctly parse this. What would there be social about me?")

• 7.2k
...understand...
• 5.3k
#!/usr/bin/env lua

print("hello world")
print("I can correctly parse this. What would there

How are you doing that? Color and all.
• 1.3k
How are you doing that? Color and all.

Put it in a code block with the "< >" button.
• 1.5k
What does it even mean to be intelligent without having no any information about anything?

That's a fantastic question!

I suppose the short answer would be, in that case, then all logic would become completely abstract. Like (first order logic/language) mathematics without any real world applications. Or, in theoretical physics; the 10th dimension. Or, in philosophy, the Platonic world and metaphysics, et al.
• 1.4k
One can't draw good reasonable, that is logically arrived at conclusions in daily life without...what, scientific experimentation? I can't use, say, deduction, process of elimination - me, just running through some recent conclusions and how i reached them. Or are these religious processes?
• 366
We become adult by the world, the forces and elements which create the environment where we exist.

Anything we ever learn is also thanks to the world.

Our frames of reference are world-logical.

If it was to cease to exist, what exactly is the worth of what you know? If you know what a 'tree' is, how can it be applied? You would laze off.

Anyway it's not an empty universe if you exist.
• 34
We cannot validate the assumptions, i.e. the first principles, from which we reason, because they cannot be justified.

Seeing a live grenade in the room justifies my assumption that a live grenade is in the room. It may be an illusion but I can only act on my perceptions. I deduce that I should get the f*** out of the room as soon as possible.

That's the nature of science. Empirical experience is either consistent with or contrary to our logic tempered world model. When it contradicts we update our assumptions. When it falls in line with the experience we predict we take that as justification (even if only as a pragmatic model element) those assumptions from which we deduce the effects of circumstances and behaviors. I can't see how you could deny that process by which we all carry out our daily lives.

[edited addendum] I concur with your points about incompleteness. But there's a base level of primary logic which is consistent with respect to its own procedures. This is to say there is no internal contradictions.
Alternatives are systems which directly contradict their own rules (like the reasoning of the political left.) Of course we see how limited pure axiomatic logic is when we extend slightly further and construct infinite systems about which we wish to assert and prove/disprove propositions. But in practical terms Godel's incompleteness proof is not terribly meaningful. We don't work with infinite systems we just pretend to by leaving vague our level of finite precision and bounds. We do this specifically to see what we can deduce that's independent of the actual choice of precision and bounds.
• 189
What does it even mean to be intelligent without having no any information about anything?

I think you have posed a malformed question that has mislead commenters into an wrong direction. I think you/we/they have to first address/answer "What does it even mean to be intelligent .".

The intent of your question, however, might relate to a notion I've had for >10 yrs concerning static intelligence vs dynamic vs ??. One aspect of my notion on that is that all objects/structures have various degrees of static intelligence related to the manner which their structure is organized to impart a *potential* ability to reduce uncertainty or transform other energy/structures into higher/lower forms of organization. e.g., a complex crystal structure and self-replicating growth could be thought of in this light as having higher static intelligence compared to a steel rod or drop of water. Likewise, a catalyst in a chemical process has a smart ability to transform other molecular structures into higher/lower forms of molecular organization.

In this line of my theories, an approach to address your question, I'd say that the healthy human is born with the high static intelligence (e.g., structures & catalysts) that affords it a high potential dynamic intelligence. Yet to unlock, mature, the potential dynamic intelligence requires information and an experience of the physics/mechanics that governs it. The static intelligence might be the 'nature' and the information/environment might be the 'nurture' that is required for an actualized human intelligence.

I am not wording this in any kind of tight manner, just quickly conveying the general concept direction.

Hope this contributes towards elevating the discussion.
• 39
If you define intelligence as your "capacity to acquire and utilize knowledge", then you would know very little inside an empty universe. You need to make observations to acquire knowledge.

When you are born as a baby, your brain requires certain things to develop. If you were born as a baby in an empty environment without needing food, your brain would not develop properly. This is true with other animals as well. Without a stimulating environment, your brain does not learn. Learning is a part of development, you start learning when your brain has very high plasticity and making many new connections.

You say born as an adult though, but consider what that means. An adult animal has a brain that has been stimulated during the crucial development of the brain. You learned a language for one. It took your brain a few years in a very stimulating world to learn basic things, by seeing, listening, touching, tasting and smelling the world.

"do we get born with some kind of basic information with which we could then derive some basic concepts and eventually geometry and math?"

I would say no. We're more of a blank slate. You may be interested in learning about feral children. There is at least a couple of good studies on it. There is Dina Sanichar, who was raised by wolves.

"What can logic do without information?"

Logic needs information. You need to make observations. That's why science was able to push into places that philosophers could not reach. They went out and made observations, and created experiments to make precise observations. How do you infer something, if you have no observations to infer with?
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