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Logic and Semantics in Reasoning

  1. May 7, 2003 #1
    Most men, most of the time, think in words and numbers. A fortunate few of us can sometimes think in entire concepts, seeing both the forest and the trees all at once. The words and numbers with which we use to think are, of course, symbols and are therefore subjective and probably unique to each of us. We usually calculate and rationalize in our rational minds using these symbols sequentially just as we write and speak.
    Communication is possible only if we agree by consensus on the meaning of the words and symbols that we are using to convey our thoughts. The English language unfortunately has many words that have a number of different meanings and connotations depending on the context in which they are being used. This makes precise communication free of ambiguity and misunderstanding extremely difficult if not impossible. This is why formal debates begin with the defining of terms so that we know that at least that we are talking about the same thing.
    Neither Logic nor Mathematics is not subjective. Their formal definitions and rules were invented precisely to prevent any chance of ambiguity or misunderstanding. They are therefore the best and universal tools with which we can use to reason. There are others such as the scientific method and the rules of formation of hypothesis, theory, law to name a few.
    There is some evidence that some women some of the time also think; however, if and when they actually do, they seem to think conceptually versus rationally and therefore our (men's) logic and rationality do not apply. They seem to arrive at their conclusions, sometimes though rarely the same as ours, by wholly different paths having started from wholly different places, merrily skipping over critical step in the process; but, I digress.
    After logic and mathematics in importance in reasoning comes semantics. We (men at least; it does not seem to hamper women at all) cannot debate, discuss or argue successfully or meaningfully if we do not agree to the meaning of the words or symbols we are using. Too often we (again men) argue to the death about something that a third party observer realizes is actually agreement in concept but using different words to say or describe the same thing; but, that neither party can agree on the meaning of the words that they are using. We are then in fact arguing semantics, which is meaningless, pointless and accomplishes nothing but raising tempers and levels of frustration however much fun and great a pastime it may be.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2003 #2
    With the exception of this last one, what all of your descriptions deny is the emotional aspects involved in all types of communication. Logic, for example, is ultimately based on faith that some things are just patently absurd. Although some prefer to believe this is merely an observation of truth, it is obviously a personal perspective and, in my opinion, as much an emotional one as anything else.

    As for men and women having differing styles, men predominantly attempt to argue they are "right" while women tend to be more interested in being "fair". This makes sense in light of the differing roles of the sexes. Men are usually expected to earn a living and even kill in the name of what is right, while women are usually expected to maintain a peaceful and productive household.
     
  4. May 7, 2003 #3
    I enjoyed reading this. It puts a new light on debating that I have never looked at before, I also agree with you.

    If you are debating with a woman you will notice the debate is entirely different (and most likely futile) than if you were debating the same matter with a male. Females also, IMO, seem to convey their beliefs as undebatable, unchanging facts.
     
  5. May 7, 2003 #4
    Men debate beliefs because they are attempting to assert they are right or correct, but fairness issues only make sense in terms of cultural beliefs. These two distinctive approaches can also be seen in terms of progressive and conservative social trends. It also makes sense from the point of view of empowerment. Being relatively the weaker and less empowered sex makes confronting men about their beliefs rather self-destructive for women while confronting them about social norms and fairness issues empowers women.
     
  6. May 7, 2003 #5
    Re: Re: Logic and Semantics in Reasoning

     
  7. May 7, 2003 #6
    Re: Re: Re: Logic and Semantics in Reasoning

    Ok then, just present one example of a logic that is not based on reductio ad absurdum.
     
  8. May 7, 2003 #7
    "I think; therefore, I am."
     
  9. May 7, 2003 #8
    That is not a form of logic, it is a form of reasoning. It says nothing about what is and isn't logical.
     
  10. May 7, 2003 #9
    I am uncertain precisely what you mean in that first sentence. While I favor a logical approach to decision making and problem solving I’m not convinced that logic governs the universe.

    What logic isn't;
    http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html
     
  11. May 7, 2003 #10
    All who think are (exists).
    I think;
    Therefore, I am.

    Virtually any statement that includes the word "therefore" is a form of logic whether the major premise is stated or implied. Logic is a form of reasoning, formal rules of reasoning whether inductive or deductive that if corrected allied and used will insure a logical and correct conclusion.
     
  12. May 7, 2003 #11
    I do not agree with your use of the word 'insure'.

    From the link I provided;
    "Logic will let you analyze an argument or a piece of reasoning, and work out whether it is likely to be correct or not."

    Note that there is nothing to insure the correctness of your conclusion.
     
  13. May 7, 2003 #12
     
  14. May 7, 2003 #13
    Logic is a form of reasoning with rules. Descartes' famous dictum uses classical formal logic, but in and of itself it is not a form of logic but of reasoning that uses logic. Without referring to classical formal logic, I could just as easily say "My floor is brown, therefore I exist" with equally as much reasoning.
     
  15. May 7, 2003 #14
     
  16. May 7, 2003 #15
    Okay, Boulderhead I retact the word "insure". I did not mean it in the universal sense but only the normal usage sense.

    When one starts with a True or true premise and correctly applies logic, one will reach a True or true conclusion. Again, GIGO applies as it always does. Logic is formal reasoning and a tool to guide our reasoning at least as a check. If you magor premise is not true or you logic is faulty then your conclusion is likely to be false. LOGIC MUST BE PROPERLY APPLIED AND USED TO BE VALID just as with math.
    Bye for today.
     
  17. May 7, 2003 #16
    Yes, but my question to you is, How did it become brown? ... So what did the one north pole (oriented) magnet say to the other north pole (oriented) magnet? ... Get the hell out of my way!

    Or, would that be a form of "inductive reasoning?"
     
  18. May 7, 2003 #17
    It became brown because it hates yellow. Then it told me to say, "My floor is brown, therefore I am." :0)
     
  19. May 7, 2003 #18
    Hmm ... sounds like you and you floor have a pretty good understanding of one another. This is good ...
     
  20. May 7, 2003 #19
    Royce, beware of making too many points in one post, or you may drown out the purpose of the post. In fact, I can't say that I'm really positive about which point you are emphasizing, so I will go with the one that is the name of the thread: Logic and Semantics in Reasoning.

    I have to say, you have made a lot of good points in your post. One thing that should be pointed out is that Logic and Mathematics are not perfectly certain. You didn't really say that they were, I know, but you implied it.

    I agree that we should agree on the definition of the words used, especially when there is likely to be a debate on the matter. I also think that we should rid ourselves of terms that have no real meaning, such as "nothingness" or "before the Big Bang".
     
  21. May 7, 2003 #20
    Royce, beware of making too many points in one post, or you may drown out the purpose of the post. In fact, I can't say that I'm really positive about which point you are emphasizing, so I will go with the one that is the name of the thread: Logic and Semantics in Reasoning.

    I have to say, you have made a lot of good points in your post. One thing that should be pointed out is that Logic and Mathematics are not perfectly certain. You didn't really say that they were, I know, but you implied it.

    I agree that we should agree on the definition of the words used, especially when there is likely to be a debate on the matter. I also think that we should rid ourselves of terms that have no real meaning, such as "nothingness" or "before the Big Bang
     
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