Betsy Speicher

Question About Logic

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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?

Logic is the method by which we objectively integrate all those other things into the conversation.

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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.

So logic alone doesn't allow you to determine whether it is true or false. Perceptual and/or conceptual evidence is required too.

When determining whether something is true or false, what specific function does logic play that is different than the function of evidence?

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Paul is getting very close to what I am looking for.

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.

What do you mean by "making sense?" What is the difference between something that makes sense and something that doesn't?

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So logic alone doesn't allow you to determine whether it is true or false. Perceptual and/or conceptual evidence is required too.

When determining whether something is true or false, what specific function does logic play that is different than the function of evidence?

One must begin with reality--the evidence of the senses, whether it be cause and effect between entities, or a statement made by someone. Logic is what allows one to integrate this evidence into the rest of one's knowledge without contradiction; i.e., to correctly integrate information, making it knowledge. Divorcing logic from reality leaves one playing in a Kantian phenomenal world, where logic has nothing to do with reality and is useless as the means of gaining knowledge, and thus, as a means of survival.

Man requires a valid method of integrating the evidence of the senses because the nature of a conceptual consciousness is such that his knowledge is not hard-wired into his consciousness, giving him automatic knowledge. Neither is man infallible. If he is to count what he knows as knowledge, he must have a means of verifying the truth or falsehood of his conclusions before it can be counted as knowledge.

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When determining whether something is true or false, what specific function does logic play that is different than the function of evidence?
One must begin with reality--the evidence of the senses, whether it be cause and effect between entities, or a statement made by someone. Logic is what allows one to integrate this evidence into the rest of one's knowledge without contradiction; i.e., to correctly integrate information, making it knowledge.

[...]

Man requires a valid method of integrating the evidence of the senses because the nature of a conceptual consciousness is such that his knowledge is not hard-wired into his consciousness, giving him automatic knowledge. Neither is man infallible. If he is to count what he knows as knowledge, he must have a means of verifying the truth or falsehood of his conclusions before it can be counted as knowledge.

Children learn and integrate an enormous amount of knowledge before age 5, but judging by the delightfully illogical things young children often say, their grasp of logic is tenuous at best.

How do very young children integrate their knowledge without logic? What does being logical add to the process?

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When determining whether something is true or false, what specific function does logic play that is different than the function of evidence?
One must begin with reality--the evidence of the senses, whether it be cause and effect between entities, or a statement made by someone. Logic is what allows one to integrate this evidence into the rest of one's knowledge without contradiction; i.e., to correctly integrate information, making it knowledge.

[...]

Man requires a valid method of integrating the evidence of the senses because the nature of a conceptual consciousness is such that his knowledge is not hard-wired into his consciousness, giving him automatic knowledge. Neither is man infallible. If he is to count what he knows as knowledge, he must have a means of verifying the truth or falsehood of his conclusions before it can be counted as knowledge.

Children learn and integrate an enormous amount of knowledge before age 5, but judging by the delightfully illogical things young children often say, their grasp of logic is tenuous at best.

How do very young children integrate their knowledge without logic? What does being logical add to the process?

A perceptual consciousness integrates sensations automatically into percepts. If one studies children, and those animals who operate on a high perceptual level of consciousness (such as dolphins or elephants), one sees that a great deal can be accomplished on a strictly perceptual level. But man owns a conceptual consciousness, which is not automatic, but requires him first to validate his concepts, and then to integrate his concepts in such a manner that one does not contradict another--i.e., he must consciously determine the truth or falsehood of his concepts in order to validate or prove whether or not they correspond to reality. This is why the discovery of a proper method of non-contradictory integration, i.e., logic, is so important.

I find the search for cause and effect by children very fascinating. Besides testing for sensation (e.g., a child putting everything in his mouth), testing for cause and effect seems to take up most of their time, whether it involves material entities or the reactions of other people around them. Most children show a remarkable patience and persistence in this. This suggests the importance of cause and effect in building the perceptual foundation that man's conceptual knowledge rests on (and why a child's environment plays such an important role in the way he develops mentally).

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A perceptual consciousness integrates sensations automatically into percepts. If one studies children, and those animals who operate on a high perceptual level of consciousness (such as dolphins or elephants), one sees that a great deal can be accomplished on a strictly perceptual level. But man owns a conceptual consciousness, which is not automatic, but requires him first to validate his concepts, and then to integrate his concepts in such a manner that one does not contradict another--i.e., he must consciously determine the truth or falsehood of his concepts in order to validate or prove whether or not they correspond to reality. This is why the discovery of a proper method of non-contradictory integration, i.e., logic, is so important.

------

I would disagree with some of your formulation. Children are using their conceptual faculty as soon as they start using words. I'm not clear on what you mean by "requires him first to validate his concepts." Are you saying that he must do this before he can use his conceptual consciousness? Or before he knows that concepts correspond to reality? Logic was around a long time before the objective demostration of what concepts are and how they correpsond to reality was discovered (ITOE).

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Paul is getting very close to what I am looking for.
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.

What do you mean by "making sense?" What is the difference between something that makes sense and something that doesn't?

By "makes sense" I mean connected. The facts given in an argument must be connected to each other and to the conclusion. Usually, there is an underlying issue of causality or similarity among elements within an argument that connects them and lead to the conclusion.

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Why does man need logic?

Because existence exists. It is primary. Because existence is identity. To exist is to have identity. Because consciousness is identification. To be conscious is to identify. In other words, because identity is independent of consciousness.

Why does man need logic?

Because man's consciousness is not only perceptual but conceptual. And conceptual consciousness - conceptual cognition - is fallible. The basic reason for this fallibility is that man's consciousness is volitional. It is not automatic. As such, it is not automatically correct. In other words, man is capable of errors in his thinking.

Why does man need logic?

Because existence is primary and because of the fallibility of man's volitional conceptual consciousness. Because of these two facts of reality, man requires a method of validating his thinking. He needs a method of validating his conclusions. To claim knowledge - to claim his consciousness has grasped that which exists - man requires a standard and method by which to judge the truth of that knowledge. He needs something to enable him to arrive at conclusions which are in accord with reality.

Why does man need logic?

Because man needs a method of validating his thoughts. He needs a method which enables him to accept a thought as true or to reject a thought as false.

Logic is that method.

Put simply, if man's consciousness were automatically infallible, logic would be superfluous. Man needs logic because the sheer presence of an idea in the mind is irrelevant to whether or not the idea corresponds to reality.

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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 Mercury's post was a good response to this quote. Additionally, I would point out that Causality is a corollary of Identity. Both are laws of logic. As such, on what basis is it claimed that someone 'understands' "causality quite well" but does not "grasp" logic?
Children learn and integrate an enormous amount of knowledge before age 5, but judging by the delightfully illogical things young children often say, their grasp of logic is tenuous at best.

How do very young children integrate their knowledge without logic?

The first quote above, combined with this quote, make me question the concept of the term 'logic' being employed in this conversation. Is the term being used to identify the art of logic or the science of logic? In other words, is it being used to identify the method which men actually employ - ie which they put into practice in governing their thought? Or is it being used to identify the systematic study of this method and the formal elaboration of its principles?

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--------

A perceptual consciousness integrates sensations automatically into percepts. If one studies children, and those animals who operate on a high perceptual level of consciousness (such as dolphins or elephants), one sees that a great deal can be accomplished on a strictly perceptual level. But man owns a conceptual consciousness, which is not automatic, but requires him first to validate his concepts, and then to integrate his concepts in such a manner that one does not contradict another--i.e., he must consciously determine the truth or falsehood of his concepts in order to validate or prove whether or not they correspond to reality. This is why the discovery of a proper method of non-contradictory integration, i.e., logic, is so important.

------

I would disagree with some of your formulation. Children are using their conceptual faculty as soon as they start using words. I'm not clear on what you mean by "requires him first to validate his concepts." Are you saying that he must do this before he can use his conceptual consciousness? Or before he knows that concepts correspond to reality? Logic was around a long time before the objective demostration of what concepts are and how they correpsond to reality was discovered (ITOE).

Children have no choice in the use of their conceptual faculty because that is the nature of human consciousness. Children use words, their first words being those that relate directly to reality. Concepts are built as they learn that "table," for instance, means more than this or that particular table. They are able to do this because the rational faculty is at the base of a conceptual consciousness. They automatically attempt to apply rational rules to what they are learning. The attempt can be seen when a child attempts to apply implicit rules of grammar to his conversation. For instance, it took some doing to explain to my nephew that, yes, you plug something in, but the proper way of expressing the opposite isn't "plugging it out," but "unplugging" it. In other words, implicit logic was used before it was formally defined because that is the nature of man's mind. The problem with leaving this "common sense" without a formal definition and understanding is that a man leaves himself open to false conclusions. The closer this false conclusion is to reality, the greater his error becomes as he abstracts from abstractions (this is why if your premises are wrong, what follows will be wrong, regardless of whatever correct observations you use*). What suffices for a child, who has adults around him to protect him from his inexperience and false conclusions, does not suffice for an adult who is dealing with more complex abstractions which are further from reality. This is why Objectivism teaches that one must not only start with reality, but must reduce his abstractions back to reality.

Since none of these higher functions of a conceptual consciousness are automatic, man requires a method of checking the validity of his thinking all along the way. Knowing kinda sorta how to do this, i.e., utilizing the implicit, or crude logic of common sense, may suffice for one's thinking about subjects close to reality, but as you abstract further from from perceptible reality, mistakes become more pronounced and it becomes very difficult to apply common sense with any confidence. If you doubt this, read the editorial pages of any newspaper, or listen to any political speech, where this kind of thinking leads to very dangerous, real life situations.

* I'm not satisfied with this formulation as it stands and can only hope you get my drift. Consider it an example. :D

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How do very young children integrate their knowledge without logic? What does being logical add to the process?
A perceptual consciousness integrates sensations automatically into percepts. If one studies children, and those animals who operate on a high perceptual level of consciousness (such as dolphins or elephants), one sees that a great deal can be accomplished on a strictly perceptual level.

Very true. I also know quite a few adults who have apparently accomplished a great deal while remaining on the perceptual level.

But man owns a conceptual consciousness, which is not automatic, but requires him first to validate his concepts, and then to integrate his concepts in such a manner that one does not contradict another--i.e., he must consciously determine the truth or falsehood of his concepts in order to validate or prove whether or not they correspond to reality. This is why the discovery of a proper method of non-contradictory integration, i.e., logic, is so important.

What would happen to a man if he didn't employ logic?

I find the search for cause and effect by children very fascinating. Besides testing for sensation (e.g., a child putting everything in his mouth), testing for cause and effect seems to take up most of their time, whether it involves material entities or the reactions of other people around them. Most children show a remarkable patience and persistence in this. This suggests the importance of cause and effect in building the perceptual foundation that man's conceptual knowledge rests on (and why a child's environment plays such an important role in the way he develops mentally).

I find it fascinating too, but that's a subject for a whole 'nother thread.

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Children are using their conceptual faculty as soon as they start using words.

I used to think so, but I currently believe otherwise. I plan to write about it more. Hopefully soon.

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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.

What do you mean by "making sense?" What is the difference between something that makes sense and something that doesn't?

By "makes sense" I mean connected. The facts given in an argument must be connected to each other and to the conclusion. Usually, there is an underlying issue of causality or similarity among elements within an argument that connects them and lead to the conclusion.

Is "connectedness" the essense of "making sense?" I don't think so. I can't make much of a connection, causal or otherwise, between my swimming pool and a Rachmaninoff symphony, but that is not a matter of making sense.

Think of something that doesn't make sense and compare it to something similar that does and ask yourself what caused the difference. You're very close and I think doing that will help you nail it.

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What can be accomplished on a strictly perceptual level has its limits. Knowledge is acquired through a logical identification of the facts of experience and children learn both the facts and methods.

What logic makes possible is objectivity.

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Why does man need logic?

[...]

The basic reason for this fallibility is that man's consciousness is volitional. It is not automatic. As such, it is not automatically correct. In other words, man is capable of errors in his thinking.

[...]

He needs a method of validating his conclusions.

[...]

Logic is that method.

Put simply, if man's consciousness were automatically infallible, logic would be superfluous.

This is a right on target explanation of man's need for logic and its function.

Man needs logic because the sheer presence of an idea in the mind is irrelevant to whether or not the idea corresponds to reality.

This is true when with regard to some abstract conceptual knowledge, but it is definitely false when it comes to the source and ultimate standard for validating knowledge: sense perception.

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Additionally, I would point out that Causality is a corollary of Identity. Both are laws of logic. As such, on what basis is it claimed that someone 'understands' "causality quite well" but does not "grasp" logic?

If you observe very young children, you can see that they do grasp causality in perceptual terms. They see themselves as the cause of things happening and they deliberately initiate actions to make things happen. You can tell by their actions that they understand what to do and how to do it.

When it comes to logic, however, they don't react at all the way they will at age 7 or so. Toddlers know identity and causality, but they do not grasp or even notice contradictions. Contradictions don't bother them. Magicians don't surprise them. They can say something and the exact opposite in the same sentence and it doesn't bother them.

Piaget's famous conservation of water experiment (here) illustrates the difference between a pre-logical and post-logical child.

Children learn and integrate an enormous amount of knowledge before age 5, but judging by the delightfully illogical things young children often say, their grasp of logic is tenuous at best.

How do very young children integrate their knowledge without logic?

The first quote above, combined with this quote, make me question the concept of the term 'logic' being employed in this conversation. Is the term being used to identify the art of logic or the science of logic? In other words, is it being used to identify the method which men actually employ - ie which they put into practice in governing their thought? Or is it being used to identify the systematic study of this method and the formal elaboration of its principles?

I'm using it to mean "the art of non-contradictory identification." I mean that toddlers may understand identity and causality, but very few understand non-contradiction.

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A perceptual consciousness integrates sensations automatically into percepts. If one studies children, and those animals who operate on a high perceptual level of consciousness (such as dolphins or elephants), one sees that a great deal can be accomplished on a strictly perceptual level. But man owns a conceptual consciousness, which is not automatic, but requires him first to validate his concepts, and then to integrate his concepts in such a manner that one does not contradict another--i.e., he must consciously determine the truth or falsehood of his concepts in order to validate or prove whether or not they correspond to reality. This is why the discovery of a proper method of non-contradictory integration, i.e., logic, is so important.

------

I would disagree with some of your formulation. Children are using their conceptual faculty as soon as they start using words. I'm not clear on what you mean by "requires him first to validate his concepts." Are you saying that he must do this before he can use his conceptual consciousness? Or before he knows that concepts correspond to reality? Logic was around a long time before the objective demostration of what concepts are and how they correpsond to reality was discovered (ITOE).

Children have no choice in the use of their conceptual faculty because that is the nature of human consciousness. Children use words, their first words being those that relate directly to reality. Concepts are built as they learn that "table," for instance, means more than this or that particular table. They are able to do this because the rational faculty is at the base of a conceptual consciousness. They automatically attempt to apply rational rules to what they are learning. The attempt can be seen when a child attempts to apply implicit rules of grammar to his conversation. For instance, it took some doing to explain to my nephew that, yes, you plug something in, but the proper way of expressing the opposite isn't "plugging it out," but "unplugging" it. In other words, implicit logic was used before it was formally defined because that is the nature of man's mind. The problem with leaving this "common sense" without a formal definition and understanding is that a man leaves himself open to false conclusions. The closer this false conclusion is to reality, the greater his error becomes as he abstracts from abstractions (this is why if your premises are wrong, what follows will be wrong, regardless of whatever correct observations you use*). What suffices for a child, who has adults around him to protect him from his inexperience and false conclusions, does not suffice for an adult who is dealing with more complex abstractions which are further from reality. This is why Objectivism teaches that one must not only start with reality, but must reduce his abstractions back to reality.

Since none of these higher functions of a conceptual consciousness are automatic, man requires a method of checking the validity of his thinking all along the way. Knowing kinda sorta how to do this, i.e., utilizing the implicit, or crude logic of common sense, may suffice for one's thinking about subjects close to reality, but as you abstract further from from perceptible reality, mistakes become more pronounced and it becomes very difficult to apply common sense with any confidence. If you doubt this, read the editorial pages of any newspaper, or listen to any political speech, where this kind of thinking leads to very dangerous, real life situations.

* I'm not satisfied with this formulation as it stands and can only hope you get my drift. Consider it an example. :D

I understand what you are saying. Sorry, but I don't see how it addresses my question other than in a general way. :D Kid use the word "table" as a concept not necessarily a fully formed concept. They can clearly distinguish the specific object called a table from all other objects within his range of awareness as well as his background. They don't need to see a bunch of tables to grasp 'table.'

Nor do I understand how you address the issue of your statement: "requires him first to validate his concepts."

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Man needs logic because the sheer presence of an idea in the mind is irrelevant to whether or not the idea corresponds to reality.
This is true when with regard to some abstract conceptual knowledge, but it is definitely false when it comes to the source and ultimate standard for validating knowledge: sense perception.
Since the statement was about 'ideas in the mind', is the claim here that sense perceptions are ideas in one's mind?
I'm using it to mean "the art of non-contradictory identification." I mean that toddlers may understand identity and causality, but very few understand non-contradiction.
I would say that they grasp non-contradiction as "well" as identity and causality at that age. For instance, just as a toddler is able to 'identify' mommy, he is able to reject 'not mommy'.

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I'm using it to mean "the art of non-contradictory identification." I mean that toddlers may understand identity and causality, but very few understand non-contradiction.
I would say that they grasp non-contradiction as "well" as identity and causality at that age. For instance, just as a toddler is able to 'identify' mommy, he is able to reject 'not mommy'.

What do you base your statement on?

For the reasons already indicated, plus my years of first-hand experience as a very observant mother interested in the cognitive development of my own child, comparing notes with other mothers and observing their children, and reading the research in cognitive development, I have to disagree.

In particular, note the vast differences in methods of cognition between the stages of cognitive development identified by Piaget and repeated confirmed by other developmental scientists (with my comments in parentheses):

Sensorimotor period (years 0–2) (pre-conceptual, implicit identity and causality)

Preoperational period (years 2–7) (explicit identity and causality, first-level concepts, pre-logical)

Concrete operational period (years 7–11) (implicit awareness of non-contradiction, higher level concepts)

Formal operational period (years 11–adulthood) (explicit logic)

For a nice summary description of each stage, see Wikipedia (here).

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This is a right on target explanation of man's need for logic and its function.
So do I win a cupie doll? :D

No, but I may quote you when I present my own views. :D

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What do you base your statement on?
Observation of a child I raised and observation of family children etc.. I provided an example of what I was talking about as well - one from repeated personal experience. Is it claimed the example does not fall within the category being identifying as 'non-contradiction' (implicit or otherwise)? If not, why not? A contextual definition of the term would be helpful since some of the examples in the provided link appear not only to demonstrate what I would call 'implicit identity' but also 'implicit non-contradiction'. For instance, it is stated during the 'preoperational stage' a child can "classify objects by a single feature: e.g. groups together all the red blocks regardless of shape or all the square blocks regardless of color." To me such an activity would seem to involve both identity and non-contradiction. Yet the parenthetical breakdown you provide indicates even an implicit awareness of non-contradiction doesn't develop until after the preoperational period.

Therefore, obviously we are not applying the same contextual idea of 'non-contradiction' (and perhaps not the same ideas of 'identity' and 'causality') here. So how are you defining these terms for purposes of this conversation?

Additionally, how are these issues related to the topic of the thread?

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Is it claimed the example does not fall within the category being identifying as 'non-contradiction' (implicit or otherwise)? If not, why not? A contextual definition of the term would be helpful since some of the examples in the provided link appear not only to demonstrate what I would call 'implicit identity' but also 'implicit non-contradiction'.

I'm not talking about a child recognizing that A is A and B is not A. By non-contradiction I mean the recognition that there is something wrong with saying that something is both A and non-A at the same time and in the same respect.

For instance, a toddler who only knows the present tense may say "It's here and it's gone." He doesn't understand why he can't have his cake and eat it too. When someone says something nonsensically contradictory, such as a very simple joke, he doesn't get it because he doesn't recognize there is something wrong with a contradiction. He's not surprised or even interested when a magician does something he knows can't be done. Pre-logical children in the Piaget conservation of water experiment don't realize that the an amount (A) of water isn't more (A+x) water in a different container.

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Is it claimed the example does not fall within the category being identifying as 'non-contradiction' (implicit or otherwise)? If not, why not? A contextual definition of the term would be helpful since some of the examples in the provided link appear not only to demonstrate what I would call 'implicit identity' but also 'implicit non-contradiction'.
I'm not talking about a child recognizing that A is A and B is not A. By non-contradiction I mean the recognition that there is something wrong with saying that something is both A and non-A at the same time and in the same respect.
Would that not mean the child's recognition that there is "something wrong" with saying, for instance, that the block in your hand is both a square and a circle? If so, then given the example of what a 'preoperational stage' child can do, it would seem that child has some "grasp" of non-contradiction. If, on the other hand, that is not an example of what you mean here by non-contradiction, then the meaning of the term is still unclear.

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