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Do you always think logically?
Posted: 11 June 2011 08:18 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Trying to put this as simply as I can.
Logic, or more precisely deductive logic and reasoning based on that is an intellectual construct that was devised to predict outcomes in long term. As human mind absorbed more and more information and processed that information to make meanings, this intellectual construct came to be used more and more till a delusion is created that everything is necessarily explicable and deductive logic is the only path to follow.
Reality is quite different. We make many decisions, some profound and most life saving/surviving, intuitively. We are basically animals just with highly developed social hierarchy.
As humans, we also make decisions, almost subliminally, on fudgy experience clouds, where our choices are not the best but the sufficiently functional ones. This is a trait that is akin to biological evolution where speciation happens bit by bit with just enough good choice – not the best.
If we are to choose between two clocks, one dead (the hour and minute hands stopped) and another running but say, plus minus fifteen minutes of accuracy, we will choose the later. This is not a logical choice, but a practical one. If we define a clock as a machine to tell us time, the dead clock does that twice in a day and the running (but inaccurate) clock never gives a correct time.
Logic was devised as an intellectual support – a mind prosthetic. We have come to take it as intelligent and rational mind itself. I posit that pursuing the dogma of reasonable explanation of everything may be unreasonable.

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Common sense is not so common. - Voltaire

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Posted: 11 June 2011 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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No.

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“More than at any time in history, mankind faces a crossroads.  One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. 
Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly”—Woody Allen

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Posted: 11 June 2011 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Obviously we do not always think logically, especially when we go out and buy things we do not need. However, I think I always, or at least try to, think logically when it comes to big picture things. When it comes to the world, or religion, or politics, it is important to make sure we think logically because that is the best way forward.

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Posted: 11 June 2011 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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We always think logically if only on a substandard level. Even if we’re considered to be illogical—for instance, labelled psychotic—we still have internal logic to our thoughts.

Do we always think clearly? Do we always think in ways that maximize our situation? Clearly, no to these two questions. But I see thought itself as following logical tracks no matter what, with the exception of someone who’s medicated or somehow neuro-impaired beyond a functional level.

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. . . for it is God who I speak about, even when I speak about myself. For, to know God is to know myself.
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Posted: 11 June 2011 08:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Recommended readings: google the terms “cognitive illusions,” “heuristics and biases,” and “fast and frugal heuristics” to get references for lots of psychological studies of how people actually do think. 

One of the problems with the question: Do we think logically? is that there are various logics available.  Formal logic (based on Aristotle’s three laws) was for a long time thought to apply directly to the world.  Today, we recognize this isn’t the case, rather it is the logic of categorical discourse and necessary to preserve meaning in propositions.  Another logic is dialectics, which the Marxists believed applied directly to the world.  Today, we know this isn’t the case, but it is a logic of change and transformation.  And there are other logics out there as well.

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Posted: 12 June 2011 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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burt - 11 June 2011 08:08 PM

Recommended readings: google the terms “cognitive illusions,” “heuristics and biases,” and “fast and frugal heuristics” to get references for lots of psychological studies of how people actually do think. 

One of the problems with the question: Do we think logically? is that there are various logics available.  Formal logic (based on Aristotle’s three laws) was for a long time thought to apply directly to the world.  Today, we recognize this isn’t the case, rather it is the logic of categorical discourse and necessary to preserve meaning in propositions.  Another logic is dialectics, which the Marxists believed applied directly to the world.  Today, we know this isn’t the case, but it is a logic of change and transformation.  And there are other logics out there as well.

I see another problem. Logic is an acquired trait of mind. We do not have data if any other life on earth has a mind or a mind capable of logical reasoning. From purely natural point of view, logical thinking do not seem necessary for survival at species scale or for natural selection.
Furthermore, logical domains are self consistent systems like geometry or topology so a logically consistent result of a proposition may not be a fundamental truth. Science, which is based on logical consistency is in an ever expanding progression of revision of old logics replaced with new ones. We see a chancy, indeterminate physical world both at quantum and cosmic scale where logical progressions of macro world seem difficult.
So we are in a situation where in both metaphysical and physical levels logic has serious limitations.
Are we missing something fundamental here? Something fundamental about the evolution of mind?

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Common sense is not so common. - Voltaire

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Posted: 12 June 2011 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Pabitra M: “…logical thinking do[es] not seem necessary for survival…”

Yes, we do logic. It is a skill that can be taught and honed. Unlike instinct. It is true that logical thinking has not generally been necessary for survival but it is what has made us Earth’s dominant species with more power than any species before us. Without it I doubt we’d have survived the last couple of glaciations. It is what may, if we’re smart and lucky enough, enable us to survive forever. Unlike, so far, 99% of other species that have ever lived.

Pabitra M: “So we are in a situation where in both metaphysical and physical levels logic has serious limitations.”

Depends what you mean by ‘physical’ and “metaphysical.” If you’re using ‘meta’ in the sense of ‘beyond’ physics then I think it is meaningless, or at least useless. Logic has nothing to do with anything beyond logic and neither does physics, despite it’s non-intuitiveness.

“Some say that metaphysical propositions were neither true nor false but strictly meaningless, as were religious views. Others, such as Karl Popper, argued that metaphysical statements are not meaningless statements, but rather not fallible, testable or provable statements i.e. neither empirical observations nor logical arguments could falsify metaphysical statements to show them to be true or false. Hence, a metaphysical statement usually implies an idea about the world or about the universe, which may be reasonable but is ultimately not empirically testable.” (Wiki on metaphysics.)

I’d agree with Popper’s view but would go further: If such ideas are not empirically testable I see no reason to regard them as having any sort of bearing on what is real or true. Neither should they influence how we view the world or act in it. To me they are just woo. Science can get us ever closer to reality and truth. Woo will always be out of reach because, like religion, it is not true. Not real. It can seem real in a subjective sense and as such, real only to oneself. It has no reality beyond that. I find that unimpressive,  shallow. I think in this I am with David Deutsch, my latest favorite philosopher scientist.

Hope I’m not being subjective in my choice of favorites. I don’t think so. Unlike Alan Turing or Sam Harris,  Deutsch is not even good looking. But what a mind!  I’ll stick with his.  Until I find a better one. I’m not infallible and am always open to persuasion by reason. Looks notwithstanding.

[ Edited: 12 June 2011 10:47 AM by Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (Rob) ]
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Posted: 12 June 2011 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Pabitra Mukhopadhyay - 12 June 2011 09:02 AM

I see another problem. Logic is an acquired trait of mind. We do not have data if any other life on earth has a mind or a mind capable of logical reasoning. From purely natural point of view, logical thinking do not seem necessary for survival at species scale or for natural selection.
Furthermore, logical domains are self consistent systems like geometry or topology so a logically consistent result of a proposition may not be a fundamental truth. Science, which is based on logical consistency is in an ever expanding progression of revision of old logics replaced with new ones. We see a chancy, indeterminate physical world both at quantum and cosmic scale where logical progressions of macro world seem difficult.
So we are in a situation where in both metaphysical and physical levels logic has serious limitations.
Are we missing something fundamental here? Something fundamental about the evolution of mind?

I would offer this solution…

We developed into animals who are logical and reasonable about what we are looking at. That is the origin of our ability to reason about ideas. It remains innate. We learn logic a second time when we become conscious of it and apply it to symbolized systems like language.

We like our logic “complete” in our vision and prefer the same completeness with our thoughts. From our little primate perspective, any time we try to complete our logic, we can only make a tautology. We don’t need a fundamental truth to survive but we do like to be sure about we are looking at.

Certainty in our thoughts is like a vestigial tail from our vision. Or a vestigial eyeball.

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Delude responsibly.

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Posted: 12 June 2011 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Yes we should abandon logic because our emotions are so much a better way to reason.

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Why is there Something instead of Nothing: No reason or ever knowable reason.

Kissing Hank’s Ass
The Way of the Mister, Vol. 1: Reparative Therapy

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Posted: 12 June 2011 04:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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GAD - 12 June 2011 10:52 AM

Yes we should abandon logic because our emotions are so much a better way to reason.

Not a matter of either/or.

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Religion is good for one thing: making you feel better while someone else rules you.  Religion is more a reflection than a cause of conflicts. The causes lie in conflicting cultural mores and traits.

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Posted: 12 June 2011 08:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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GAD - 12 June 2011 10:52 AM

Yes we should abandon logic because our emotions are so much a better way to reason.

Emotions provide us with reasons to seek out logic, wouldn’t you say?

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. . . for it is God who I speak about, even when I speak about myself. For, to know God is to know myself.
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Posted: 12 June 2011 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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nonverbal - 12 June 2011 08:04 PM
GAD - 12 June 2011 10:52 AM

Yes we should abandon logic because our emotions are so much a better way to reason.

Emotions provide us with reasons to seek out logic, wouldn’t you say?

Indeed.

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Why is there Something instead of Nothing: No reason or ever knowable reason.

Kissing Hank’s Ass
The Way of the Mister, Vol. 1: Reparative Therapy

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Posted: 12 June 2011 08:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Nhoj Morley - 12 June 2011 10:24 AM
Pabitra Mukhopadhyay - 12 June 2011 09:02 AM

I see another problem. Logic is an acquired trait of mind. We do not have data if any other life on earth has a mind or a mind capable of logical reasoning. From purely natural point of view, logical thinking do not seem necessary for survival at species scale or for natural selection.
Furthermore, logical domains are self consistent systems like geometry or topology so a logically consistent result of a proposition may not be a fundamental truth. Science, which is based on logical consistency is in an ever expanding progression of revision of old logics replaced with new ones. We see a chancy, indeterminate physical world both at quantum and cosmic scale where logical progressions of macro world seem difficult.
So we are in a situation where in both metaphysical and physical levels logic has serious limitations.
Are we missing something fundamental here? Something fundamental about the evolution of mind?

I would offer this solution…

We developed into animals who are logical and reasonable about what we are looking at. That is the origin of our ability to reason about ideas. It remains innate. We learn logic a second time when we become conscious of it and apply it to symbolized systems like language.

We like our logic “complete” in our vision and prefer the same completeness with our thoughts. From our little primate perspective, any time we try to complete our logic, we can only make a tautology. We don’t need a fundamental truth to survive but we do like to be sure about we are looking at.

Certainty in our thoughts is like a vestigial tail from our vision. Or a vestigial eyeball.

But we didn’t start out logical and reasonable, we used our general pattern recognition abilities which include the ability to see partial patterns and extend them.  That involves a more general sort of logic than the standard Aristotelian.

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Posted: 12 June 2011 10:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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GAD - 12 June 2011 08:10 PM

Indeed.

Do emotions arrive in our hearts logically? I don’t think all of them do, but what about most of them?

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. . . for it is God who I speak about, even when I speak about myself. For, to know God is to know myself.
Brother Mario

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Posted: 12 June 2011 10:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’ve heard it said that there are two different sorts of emotions, one is mental, what writers and film makers try to evoke.  The other is visceral, based on immediate lower brain stem responses.  The mental aspect of emotions requires a narrative to cast experiences evoking emotion into a context.  So follows narrative logic rather than categorical logic.  In either case, though, if you observe carefully, I think you’ll see that the physical basis of the emotion is a full body pattern of viscero-autonomic and kinesthetic sensation.

Back in about 1985 I was talking to a psychologist in San Francisco who used MDMA (Ecstasy) in his clinical practice - it was legal at the time and he said it was very useful.  His view was that the effect of the drug was to sever the connection between the embodied sensations of an emotion and its mental component.  That’s why he liked it in therapy, patients could work through very traumatic experience without the body resistance that would normally block memory.  He said that patients also reported being very stiff the day after a session, again he connected it to the relaxation of bodily tensions released by the drug.

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Posted: 12 June 2011 10:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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nonverbal - 12 June 2011 10:06 PM
GAD - 12 June 2011 08:10 PM

Indeed.

Do emotions arrive in our hearts logically? I don’t think all of them do, but what about most of them?

No, I don’t think so. Do you have an example.

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Why is there Something instead of Nothing: No reason or ever knowable reason.

Kissing Hank’s Ass
The Way of the Mister, Vol. 1: Reparative Therapy

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