Betsy Speicher

Question About Logic

59 posts in this topic

On another thread Janet Busch wrote:

I have always wanted to understand logic to the point that I could think and argue the way Brian does. He is ruthless in his logic. And honest. But I have neither the knowledge of grammar, nor schooling in logic to accomplish this.

Logic is extremely important, but I have found that my own views on logic are very often quite different from that of other strong advocates of logic.

To stimulate thinking, I'd like to pose a question. I have my own answer but I don't want to prejudice the discussion, so I'll hold off on giving it for a while.

Here's the question: Why do we need logic?

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Here's the question: Why do we need logic?

To guide us through indentifying facts of reality not immediately perceivable to us.

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Here's the question: Why do we need logic?

To guide us through indentifying facts of reality not immediately perceivable to us.

That should actually say, "To guide us through the process of identifying facts of reality not immediately perceivable to us."

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On another thread Janet Busch wrote:
I have always wanted to understand logic to the point that I could think and argue the way Brian does. He is ruthless in his logic. And honest. But I have neither the knowledge of grammar, nor schooling in logic to accomplish this.

Logic is extremely important, but I have found that my own views on logic are very often quite different from that of other strong advocates of logic.

To stimulate thinking, I'd like to pose a question. I have my own answer but I don't want to prejudice the discussion, so I'll hold off on giving it for a while.

Here's the question: Why do we need logic?

I think this is a great topic and a thread that needs to be discussed. I am in complete agreement with Janet's quote. I have been admiring Brian's arguments and one of my goals is to reach the level he is at when it comes to logic and presenting my views. Janet is right. Brian is ruthless in his logic and I love it.

My initial reaction to the question: Why do we need logic?

Why do we need the Law of Idenity? Why must we insist on the fact that A is A and not non-A? Why do we need logic?

Look around, the majority of mankind has decided that they don't need logic let alone the Law of Identity.

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We need logic to identify and integrate the facts of reality... logic is the law of identity put into epistemological action. Without logic, we are stuck with an objective reality, governed by identity, whose components are unknowable. "There's something out there, but the hell if I know what it is."

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Here's the question: Why do we need logic?

To guide us through the process of identifying facts of reality not immediately perceivable to us.

Could you give me an example?

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My initial reaction to the question: Why do we need logic?

Why do we need the Law of Idenity? Why must we insist on the fact that A is A and not non-A? Why do we need logic?

Look around, the majority of mankind has decided that they don't need logic let alone the Law of Identity.

OK, so why do we need the Law of Identity?

Is our need for the Law of Identity different, in any respect, from our need for logic? If so, in what way is it different? Are there some situations where you require one more than the other?

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We need logic to identify and integrate the facts of reality... logic is the law of identity put into epistemological action. Without logic, we are stuck with an objective reality, governed by identity, whose components are unknowable. "There's something out there, but the hell if I know what it is."

Don't we also use our perceptual capacity to identify and integrate the facts of reality? How does the function of logic differ from sense perception? What does using logic do for us that only using logic does?

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In the context of a society, we need logic to have an objective discussion, towards a specified conclusion.

There are many things we need in order to have an objective discussion including knowledge. What's so special about logic?

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Don't we also use our perceptual capacity to identify and integrate the facts of reality? How does the function of logic differ from sense perception?

There are perceptual and conceptual forms of integration, logic differs by providing a means of conceptual integration.

What does using logic do for us that only using logic does?

Logic is how we use our rational faculty to know reality. Qua human survival, it is the proper use of the uniquely human tools our nature grants us.

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We need logic to identify and integrate the facts of reality... logic is the law of identity put into epistemological action. Without logic, we are stuck with an objective reality, governed by identity, whose components are unknowable. "There's something out there, but the hell if I know what it is."

Don't we also use our perceptual capacity to identify and integrate the facts of reality? How does the function of logic differ from sense perception? What does using logic do for us that only using logic does?

Logic involves the rules of reality. These are not perceptual, but conceptual rules. Their basis is non contradiction. All the rest is derived from non contradiction.

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Logic involves the rules of reality. These are not perceptual, but conceptual rules. Their basis is non contradiction. All the rest is derived from non contradiction.
Why do we need rules based on non-contradiction?

(It looks like Arnold may be homing in on my own understanding of why we need logic.)

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On another thread Janet Busch wrote:
I have always wanted to understand logic to the point that I could think and argue the way Brian does. He is ruthless in his logic. And honest. But I have neither the knowledge of grammar, nor schooling in logic to accomplish this.

Logic is extremely important, but I have found that my own views on logic are very often quite different from that of other strong advocates of logic.

To stimulate thinking, I'd like to pose a question. I have my own answer but I don't want to prejudice the discussion, so I'll hold off on giving it for a while.

Here's the question: Why do we need logic?

Logic is man's basic method of grasping cause-and-effect in order to succeed in a cause-and-effect reality. Logic enables man to isolate and grasp essentials when confronted with a hash of concretes, abstractions, or combination of both. With logic, man is able to properly sort the data he is confronted with. From these essentials, man is able to maintain his grasp of cause-and-effect while above the perceptual level of consciousness. In so doing, man is able to grasp principles (actionable abstractions) and thus project present, past and future events. By acting upon logical principles, man prospers.

Man needs logic in order to live, i.e., to pursue values. As such, it is a biological need. Logic, in establishing a mental cause-and-effect context, enables man to remain in contact with reality at every step of his mental process.

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Logic is man's basic method of grasping cause-and-effect in order to succeed in a cause-and-effect reality.

Is that really true?

When I think of someone employing a method in order to grasp cause and effect, I think of experimentation and the scientific method. I think of my son in his high chair dropping a spoonful of cereal onto his tray and watching go plop! Then he would do it again. Then he would drop some cereal onto the floor and watch it land with a plop. Then he would do it again.

At eight months of age, he did not have a grasp of logic and, judging by his later behavior and speech, he didn't really begin to grasp it until about age five, but watching the satisfied look on his face when the cereal hit the floor, I think he understood causality quite well.

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OK, so why do we need the Law of Identity?

Without the Law of Identity an individual can not answer the following question?

What is it?

Logic, which is the art of non-contradictory identification, allows an individual to determine whether or not his identification is true or false.

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Logic, which is the art of non-contradictory identification, allows an individual to determine whether or not his identification is true or false.

Is that really true?

How does logic allow you to determine whether the following identification is true or false: "Betsy was wearing shoes when she wrote this post."

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Logic, which is the art of non-contradictory identification, allows an individual to determine whether or not his identification is true or false.

Is that really true?

How does logic allow you to determine whether the following identification is true or false: "Betsy was wearing shoes when she wrote this post."

Because I am sitting in Oregon and have no perceptual or conceptual evidence associated with your identification or claim, I consider this example as being arbitrary. Because this is an arbitrary claim it can not be regarded as true or false.

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On another thread Janet Busch wrote:
I have always wanted to understand logic to the point that I could think and argue the way Brian does. He is ruthless in his logic. And honest. But I have neither the knowledge of grammar, nor schooling in logic to accomplish this.

Logic is extremely important, but I have found that my own views on logic are very often quite different from that of other strong advocates of logic.

To stimulate thinking, I'd like to pose a question. I have my own answer but I don't want to prejudice the discussion, so I'll hold off on giving it for a while.

Here's the question: Why do we need logic?

We need logic to determine why something about an argument doesn't make sense. Or why one's own understanding of an argument doesn't make sense. There are many fallacies involving deductive logic and a few involving inductive logic. Most reasonable people can read a simple argument and determine if it makes sense or not based on the connections that the argument makes between the idea and perceptual facts, which is the value of examples. When it comes to complex and abstract arguments, it may be difficult to determine the relationship between the idea and the perceptual facts, especially if the argument is false. By identifying a logical fallacy in an argument, one can begin to see where the mental process failed to tie an idea to perceptual reality. One also uses logic to tie one's ideas to perceptual reality by making sure there are no fallacies in one's thinking (such as Betsy is going in her follow-up questions to several responses in this thread).

For instance, to argue about Marx's theory of value and labor, and grasp its specific relationship to reality, can require a long, detailed study. But once one grasps the logical relationship of value to reality, one can refute the entire argument by showing that it rests on the fallacy of the stolen concept.

The most important thing is to get a fundamental grasp and knowledge of what the laws of logic and the fallacies are. And then learn to apply them in specific arguments, starting with simple to more complex arguments. This includes applying them to one's own thinking.

Ayn Rand's famous dictum "check your premises" really means have you applied logic to all of your thinking.

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-----------

(such as Betsy is going in her follow-up questions to several responses in this thread).

----

Opps. The above should read (such as Betsy is doing in her follow-up questions to several responses in this thread).

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Why do we need logic?

In other words, what is the value of logic in man's life? What function or purpose does it serve (or could it serve, if it isn't doing so already)? To put this another way, why be logical?

(I'm not quite sure why Betsy chose the term "need" in posing the question. "Need" tends to be used interchangeably with "value" in many contexts, but "need" is actually narrower in scope and implications, in my view.)

For those interested in doing a little research in the literature of Objectivism, an excellent place to begin is with the on-line Ayn Rand Lexicon, especially the entries on logic, contradictions, and reason. The OPAR chapter on Objectivity is also quite interesting, particularly the formulation, "Objectivity as volitional adherence to reality by the method of logic."

In essence, my answer to the question "Why be logical?" (or why be rational) is: "To live." Logic aids living by rooting out purported identifications of reality that cannot, in fact, be correct because of contradictions, which can't exist in reality (and lead to destruction if we try to make them exist). As rational animals, we need accurate identifications of reailty in order to live.

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Logic involves the rules of reality. These are not perceptual, but conceptual rules. Their basis is non contradiction. All the rest is derived from non contradiction.
Why do we need rules based on non-contradiction?

(It looks like Arnold may be homing in on my own understanding of why we need logic.)

It comes down to a standard or reference, for understanding and debate. Without an objective standard of "right", we can never be right. We need a standard where there is no ambiguity in ascertaining "right", (that one cannot be right and wrong at the same time, in the same respect). That can only be provided by the law of non contradiction (that contradictions don't exist, -- except in wrong ideas).

Logic is the recognition of the law of non contradiction, which is the tool for man to make sense of the world around him. If something appears contradictory, he knows he need to check his thinking.

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---------------

(I'm not quite sure why Betsy chose the term "need" in posing the question. "Need" tends to be used interchangeably with "value" in many contexts, but "need" is actually narrower in scope and implications, in my view.)

-----------

Briefly, without going to far off topic, "need" designates an objective requirement of man's life whereas "value" involves man's recognition of that need and choice to pursue that need. The need is what the value seeks to achieve. Peter Keating needs independence but he does not value it. I value steak because I need food when I'm hungry. In some contexts, the terms are interchangeable.

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Logic, which is the art of non-contradictory identification, allows an individual to determine whether or not his identification is true or false.

Is that really true?

How does logic allow you to determine whether the following identification is true or false: "Betsy was wearing shoes when she wrote this post."

Because I am sitting in Oregon and have no perceptual or conceptual evidence associated with your identification or claim, I consider this example as being arbitrary. Because this is an arbitrary claim it can not be regarded as true or false.

How are you able to read a newspaper article?

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Logic is man's basic method of grasping cause-and-effect in order to succeed in a cause-and-effect reality.

Is that really true?

I think it is, but I am open to learning.

When I think of someone employing a method in order to grasp cause and effect, I think of experimentation and the scientific method. I think of my son in his high chair dropping a spoonful of cereal onto his tray and watching go plop! Then he would do it again. Then he would drop some cereal onto the floor and watch it land with a plop. Then he would do it again.

At eight months of age, he did not have a grasp of logic and, judging by his later behavior and speech, he didn't really begin to grasp it until about age five, but watching the satisfied look on his face when the cereal hit the floor, I think he understood causality quite well.

I think what you have called the "scientific method" is actually a part of the science of logic: it is necessary to induction. To a child, this implicit understanding is as far as he can go in grasping logic. In an adult, much more sophisticated methods involving statistics and controlled experiments may be learnt and applied.

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