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Skeptics of Tucson Message Board › views on "logic"

views on "logic"

A former member
Post #: 18
Last night's discussion came close to derailing over the question of what logic is and whether it can be universally applicable. This was not the focus of the talk, mind you, but it was naturally related to the broader question of how and why people can fail to think sensibly. I may have made a mistake in attempting to address this first in terms of cognitive categorization--that's simply what occured to me at the time.
My example of a high school algebra teacher demonstrating--mistakenly--that 4.999. . . = 5.0 was rightly criticized by Saul. Yet the point was that the teacher had been formally "correct" in applying the rules of algebra as he'd presented them in recent weeks. Spotting the logical error (one number cannot equal a different number) required applying a different set of rules.
A similar case occured in my Senior year. This time it was the teacher who pointed out that the set of rules (physics: force vector diagrams) could yield an illogical statement when applied to something as simple as walking across a floor.
Without reading further into the likes of Shaw or Godel, I am inclined to accept this as a general principle of cognition/epistemology. No set of rules (for statements, i.e. logic) that we attempt to create is going to apply to all cases. When we continue to apply them to larger or more remote cases, eventually we will find a case in which the rules create a paradox or contradiction. Then we are obliged to amend or alter the rules set. But the revised set is, in its turn, susceptible to the same limitations eventually.
A former member
Post #: 19
Just by chance one of the questions posed last Wednesday--one I had no answer for--is addressed by this month's Scientific American. In a sidebar to an article on childhood learning they state that the notion of different halves of the brain manifesting different skills has been largely debunked. There are differences, but they are not significant (or not nearly as significant as the differences between other mappings). --BB
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