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Sojobo



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unnamed? wrote:
If by nature, the logical response is always slower than the visceral response, it doesn't make sense that the visceral response can ever be grounded first in logic.

Your visceral response is genetically programmed to be faster than the logical, but the triggers to which you respond aren't genetically programmed, they are trained. To use the example in the story - if you are trained to find the idea of climate change unacceptable, you will viscerally respond to logical demonstrations of climate change with disbelief.

If, on the other hand, you are brainwashed to respond to logic positively and illogic negatively, you will viscerally respond positively to logical things, and negatively to illogical things.
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nathan



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Precisely, Mojo Sojobo.

Well put.
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sojobo wrote:
Unnamed? wrote:
If by nature, the logical response is always slower than the visceral response, it doesn't make sense that the visceral response can ever be grounded first in logic.

Your visceral response is genetically programmed to be faster than the logical, but the triggers to which you respond aren't genetically programmed, they are trained. To use the example in the story - if you are trained to find the idea of climate change unacceptable, you will viscerally respond to logical demonstrations of climate change with disbelief.

If, on the other hand, you are brainwashed to respond to logic positively and illogic negatively, you will viscerally respond positively to logical things, and negatively to illogical things.


I wonder how someone of the neutrosophic mindset would respond.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sojobo wrote:
Unnamed? wrote:
If by nature, the logical response is always slower than the visceral response, it doesn't make sense that the visceral response can ever be grounded first in logic.

Your visceral response is genetically programmed to be faster than the logical, but the triggers to which you respond aren't genetically programmed, they are trained. To use the example in the story - if you are trained to find the idea of climate change unacceptable, you will viscerally respond to logical demonstrations of climate change with disbelief.

If, on the other hand, you are brainwashed to respond to logic positively and illogic negatively, you will viscerally respond positively to logical things, and negatively to illogical things.

This is an interesting theory, but it's never been tested empirically to the best of my knowledge. It may be premature to state the case quite so factually. My first thoughts are thus:

1. We do have genetic triggers for emotions (they're not strictly learned). We have both triggers and responses that are derived from evolution. This point isn't necessarily relevant at the moment, since we're really discussing emotional response to cognitively-complex concepts, but it may be important later to recall that not all triggers are learned...

2. The ability to correctly judge logical problems and to explain them changes with age. This has been demonstrated repeatedly, in multiple languages and cultures (English, Dutch and French, off the top of my head). This makes the idea of instilling logical priority from a young age problematic at best. For instance, the Piagetian model of cognitive development has kids being severely limited in their ability to perform even rudimentary logical operations* until the age of 7, and then gradually developing simplistic, concrete logic through age 11. Abstract reasoning develops around puberty. Granted, these are more like "guidelines" of logical development, but it's been almost universally demonstrated that telling a 5-year-old that "if all dogs are animals, and this is a dog, therefore it's an animal" is true, but "if rain makes the road wet, and this road is wet, therefore it rained" is not true doesn't result in an increase in their ability to think in an operational way. With most young children what you get is arbitrary explanations - "the dog is an animal because he's like Roger, my dog at home."

So, you'd have to adapt your model of logical indoctrination to the development of children... which I suppose is far from an insurmountable problem. I'm still not certain it would have the effect nathan proposes, however. Identifying a logically valid argument doesn't guarantee one arrives at a true conclusion, because the structure of the argument only guarantees the transitivity of truth assuming it's present in the propositions. This is a logically valid statement:
1. If Obama were born in Kenya he would not be eligible to be President.
2. Obama was born in Kenya.
3. Therefore, he is not eligible to be President.

Whether it's a true statement depends on the truth value of the propositions in 1 and 2. How do we know if a proposition is true? It's entirely possible to reach ridiculous conclusions based on impeccable logic. Being trained as a logician doesn't make one better able to judge the honesty of a person, or the credibility of a news source. And that's the problem. These people aren't necessarily succumbing to fallacious logic, they're falling victim to a failure of vetting their sources - or vetting less thoroughly sources that offer them opinions with which they agree, or to seeking out sources that agree and failing to seek out sources that disagree...

So this last part is interesting because it goes back to the visceral response. It turns out that people encode information into memory better if it's meaningful to them personally. Concepts that are self-affirming (such as things that agree with your POV) are more likely to be encoded and retrieved than those that aren't (generally speaking). This has nothing to do with your ability to think rationally - it's Just How We Are.


* If you're a follower of Hume, of course, accepting the existence of your own sock drawer when you leave the room means you're not necessarily fully developed intellectually.
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Sojobo



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
This is an interesting theory, but it's never been tested empirically to the best of my knowledge. It may be premature to state the case quite so factually.

[backpedal] Well. . . the second part is an if-then, so it's not quite stated as fact [/backpedal], but I certainly see your point. It does come off a bit overconfident.

Dogen wrote:
We do have genetic triggers for emotions (they're not strictly learned). We have both triggers and responses that are derived from evolution. This point isn't necessarily relevant at the moment, since we're really discussing emotional response to cognitively-complex concepts, but it may be important later to recall that not all triggers are learned...

I didn't mean to suggest all triggers were learned. If nothing else, there are obviously plenty of unlearned, triggered responses from infants. But the triggers we've been talking about are based in knowledges you test new learning against, which seems to make it pretty much definitional . . . which you've just said much more presisely than I have. I should process your comments fully before I respond. Smile

Dogen said many smart things, which I feel were well summed up when he wrote:
This makes the idea of instilling logical priority from a young age problematic at best.

Agreed. But there's gotta be some room for it, as I have amassed a tremendous quantity of anecdotal evidence that some people just will not respond to logic, now matter how loudly you scream it at them, but other people just do, even when it disagrees with their preconceptions. I advocate the training that made some just do.

Dogen wrote:
Identifying a logically valid argument doesn't guarantee one arrives at a true conclusion, because the structure of the argument only guarantees the transitivity of truth assuming it's present in the propositions.

Logic is an end in its own self. It is so precise and beautiful and clean. Logical fallacies are a nails-on-chalkboard-whanged-funnybone-cold-wet-dog-nose-in-the-small-of-the-back torment to me. Can't you see how lovely these boards would be with even half of the logical fallacy and self-contradiction removed?

But seriously, it might not guarantee, but it would sure as hell help. Your example is one in which it looks like it wouldn't help much, but I think very few people bother with even that level of breakdown. If they did, the conversation would be about eligibility, and not "I ain't gonna believe him 'til he come to my house and show me the certificate."


*I don't even accept the existence of my sock drawer when I'm in the room.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sojobo wrote:
Logic is an end in its own self. It is so precise and beautiful and clean. Logical fallacies are a nails-on-chalkboard-whanged-funnybone-cold-wet-dog-nose-in-the-small-of-the-back torment to me. Can't you see how lovely these boards would be with even half of the logical fallacy and self-contradiction removed?

But seriously, it might not guarantee, but it would sure as hell help. Your example is one in which it looks like it wouldn't help much, but I think very few people bother with even that level of breakdown. If they did, the conversation would be about eligibility, and not "I ain't gonna believe him 'til he come to my house and show me the certificate."

Heh. I'd love to see the use of logic more widespread. It would definitely save time... probably money. Politics might be less fractious. Who knows? What I do know is it probably wouldn't end ridiculous debates... it would just make them more intelligent. Assuming people learned logic just because they were taught it. Wink
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Unnamed?



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sojobo wrote:
Unnamed? wrote:
If by nature, the logical response is always slower than the visceral response, it doesn't make sense that the visceral response can ever be grounded first in logic.

Your visceral response is genetically programmed to be faster than the logical, but the triggers to which you respond aren't genetically programmed, they are trained. To use the example in the story - if you are trained to find the idea of climate change unacceptable, you will viscerally respond to logical demonstrations of climate change with disbelief.

If, on the other hand, you are brainwashed to respond to logic positively and illogic negatively, you will viscerally respond positively to logical things, and negatively to illogical things.


I see now. Interesting idea. I'm not sure I'd want logic to permeate every aspect of our society, but a push for teaching people at a young age to recognize the importance of logic would have its benefits.
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:08 am    Post subject: mutual knowledge and individual knowledge. Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
Sojobo wrote:
Logic is an end in its own self. It is so precise and beautiful and clean. Logical fallacies are a nails-on-chalkboard-whanged-funnybone-cold-wet-dog-nose-in-the-small-of-the-back torment to me. Can't you see how lovely these boards would be with even half of the logical fallacy and self-contradiction removed?

But seriously, it might not guarantee, but it would sure as hell help. Your example is one in which it looks like it wouldn't help much, but I think very few people bother with even that level of breakdown. If they did, the conversation would be about eligibility, and not "I ain't gonna believe him 'til he come to my house and show me the certificate."

Heh. I'd love to see the use of logic more widespread. It would definitely save time... probably money. Politics might be less fractious. Who knows? What I do know is it probably wouldn't end ridiculous debates... it would just make them more intelligent. Assuming people learned logic just because they were taught it. Wink


That's idealistic at best dogen. Formal systems investigated with great mathematical rigor have been clearly shown to be unrelated to the mechanisms of the mind, and more importantly, incompatible.

The problem with logic is that it relies not only upon communication, but causality as well.

For example, if you were to ask two different individuals to come up with the definition of a particular word off the top of their heads, they won't usually use the same sequences of words.

Why you ask?

Well, the definitions they would come up with are based on their own individual experiences, and no two human beings ever have the exact same experiences.

In the purely logical society you describe, there would only be more violence and hate, squabbling over the inevitably dwindling resources needed to survive.

Who would be the risk taking explorer who seeks novel experiences and places, the cynical protester disillusioned by the society that wronged him, or the moral theist who gives to the poor when he himself can barely scrape by?

It can be argued that those individuals are irrational, not acting in their best interests. But in risking their individual resources for their causes, they indirectly change the society they live in for the greater good.

A logical and predictable world is not one I would want to live in.
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nathan



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
2. The ability to correctly judge logical problems and to explain them changes with age. This has been demonstrated repeatedly, in multiple languages and cultures (English, Dutch and French, off the top of my head). This makes the idea of instilling logical priority from a young age problematic at best. For instance, the Piagetian model of cognitive development has kids being severely limited in their ability to perform even rudimentary logical operations* until the age of 7, and then gradually... [etc]

Agreed, but I feel that's a secondary issue. There is a distinction to be made between the recognition of logic, and the process of logic. One is just a label, the other is content. The fact that the content doesn't get filled in until later doesn't mean we can't emotionally tag the label to which future content will become affixed. As children become older, their understanding of political theory (Communists are bad!) and theology (Jesus is good!) grows and matures, but this conceptual evolution takes place over preexisting emotional content that is, at least initially, based purely on an understanding that we as adults would consider incomplete and inconsistent. A child's understanding of most things is a caricature, but the emotional content is entirely real, and that emotional content colors future portraits.

Don't worry about children understanding logic. Just teach them that it's implicitly good, and at a fundamental level - that logic, in and of itself, is a way of judging higher than all others. Logic is Jesus, and illogic is the devil who tempts us. They can fill in the details later.

Quote:
I'm still not certain it would have the effect nathan proposes, however. Identifying a logically valid argument doesn't guarantee one arrives at a true conclusion, because the structure of the argument only guarantees the transitivity of truth assuming it's present in the propositions. This is a logically valid statement:
1. If Obama were born in Kenya he would not be eligible to be President.
2. Obama was born in Kenya.
3. Therefore, he is not eligible to be President.

Whether it's a true statement depends on the truth value of the propositions in 1 and 2. How do we know if a proposition is true? It's entirely possible to reach ridiculous conclusions based on impeccable logic

True, but the likelihood of consensus is higher among a population in which every member accepts the validity of logical justification. There may be many logically consistent statements that lead to false ends, but if they share a mechanism, there is at least a means of arbitration that is universally applicable.

If I can show that one of Sojobo's assumptions is inconsistent with another, he will accept that one should be rejected or refined. On the other hand, if Zeke rejects logical primacy on its face, well that's that. He's got his opinion and I've got mine and never the twain shall meet. Smoking don't cause no cancer and that is fuckin' that.
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Sojobo



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nathan wrote:
If I can show that one of Sojobo's assumptions is inconsistent with another, he will accept that I have completely misunderstood one of the two.

Fixed.
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Unnamed?



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nathan wrote:

Agreed, but I feel that's a secondary issue. There is a distinction to be made between the recognition of logic, and the process of logic. One is just a label, the other is content. The fact that the content doesn't get filled in until later doesn't mean we can't emotionally tag the label to which future content will become affixed. As children become older, their understanding of political theory (Communists are bad!) and theology (Jesus is good!) grows and matures, but this conceptual evolution takes place over preexisting emotional content that is, at least initially, based purely on an understanding that we as adults would consider incomplete and inconsistent. A child's understanding of most things is a caricature, but the emotional content is entirely real, and that emotional content colors future portraits.

Don't worry about children understanding logic. Just teach them that it's implicitly good, and at a fundamental level - that logic, in and of itself, is a way of judging higher than all others. Logic is Jesus, and illogic is the devil who tempts us. They can fill in the details later.


Anecdotally, this at least makes sense to me. People I've met who have had good educations with strong science and math backgrounds tend to hold logic in high regard. They've probably been taught the importance of logic before they actually fully understood it.

However, I agree with Thy (maybe not for the same reasons) that logic shouldn't be "judged higher than all others" in all aspects of society. Certainly its importance must be emphasized, but I'd imagine there'd be a lot to lose if people judged all actions and decisions based on whether they were logical.
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Mr_Moustache



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Inestigations, p. 94 wrote:
It is not only agreement in definitions, but also (odd as it may sound) agreement in judgements that is required for communication by means of language. This seems to abolish logic, but does not do so. - It is one thing to describe methods of measurement, and another to obtain and state results of measurement. But what we call 'measuring' is in part determined by a certain constancy in results of measurements.



The fact that I am quoting this instead of writing the last part of my paper on Dummett is seriously disturbing.

also, edit: html is a bitch
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mouse



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unnamed? wrote:

However, I agree with Thy (maybe not for the same reasons) that logic shouldn't be "judged higher than all others" in all aspects of society. Certainly its importance must be emphasized, but I'd imagine there'd be a lot to lose if people judged all actions and decisions based on whether they were logical.


i don't think that's what being argued for here, though - just that rational argument should take precedence over emotion in debates. there is always room for imagination, but imagined "facts" should not be allowed to be held the equal of established ones when one is discussing things like the president's birthplace or global climate change.
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Unnamed?



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that this is the general feeling of the conversation. My response was mostly directed at Nathan, who said:

nathan wrote:
at a fundamental level - that logic, in and of itself, is a way of judging higher than all others. Logic is Jesus, and illogic is the devil who tempts us. They can fill in the details later.


I'm likely misinterpreting, or maybe he was just exaggerating to be funny, but this seems to me like indoctrinating kids to not just value logic, but also to make it their supreme form of judgement. Besides, if you teach kids to have a visceral disgust for any illogical argument, then that'll permeate not only the debates in society but all other aspects as well.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nathan wrote:
Don't worry about children understanding logic. Just teach them that it's implicitly good, and at a fundamental level - that logic, in and of itself, is a way of judging higher than all others. Logic is Jesus, and illogic is the devil who tempts us. They can fill in the details later.

Yeah. I think Sojobo and I kind of came to that conclusion (or, I came to appreciate that position as plausible) in the post to which you're replying above.

Quote:
True, but the likelihood of consensus is higher among a population in which every member accepts the validity of logical justification. There may be many logically consistent statements that lead to false ends, but if they share a mechanism, there is at least a means of arbitration that is universally applicable.

If I can show that one of Sojobo's assumptions is inconsistent with another, he will accept that one should be rejected or refined. On the other hand, if Zeke rejects logical primacy on its face, well that's that. He's got his opinion and I've got mine and never the twain shall meet. Smoking don't cause no cancer and that is fuckin' that.

I'm less certain of this. I agree that emphasizing logic might improve certain situations (if I never had to hear another ad hominem, tu quoque or false dichotomy again I'd be thrilled), but I don't know that it would have any effect at all on big questions - or even stupid questions with ridiculously big impacts, like Obama's country of origin or religion. So far we've been speaking in terms of formal logic, and while that's super handy (and typically stronger), that isn't where most of our debates lie. The world is simply too opaque to speak in terms of truth, but rather in terms of probability. Has Zeke abandoned logic completely, or has he decided the evidence isn't clear and he must thus decide on the basis of what seems likely? Once we move into informal logic all of the cognitive biases become overwhelmingly important in how they color our view of information, altering our perception of what makes up "all probable things." A Venn diagram of "things Zeke thinks are possible" and "things nathan thinks are possible" may not have any overlap, and there may be no mechanism of formal logic to bridge that gap.

Sojobo's correction of your post is a perfect example. The weight of logical validity - and errors in formal logic - depends on being able to arrive at the truth. Rather than admit defeat or change his argument, he has only to show an alternate explanation for his propositions which has yet to be ruled out. Ideally, eventually he'd find one that was both possible in the face of your evidence and probable in his own mind. And then you're hooped.
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