Logic and Semantics in Reasoning

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Main Question or Discussion Point

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.
 

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  • #2
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Originally posted by Royce

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.
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.
 
  • #3
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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.
 
  • #4
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Originally posted by kyle_soule
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.
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.
 
  • #5
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Originally posted by wuliheron
With the exception of this last one, what all of your descriptions deny is the emotional aspects involved in all types of communication.
________________________

Being human I have yet to find a way to uncouple our emotions from anything that we do, say or think. Emotions, IMO, are too much a part of us, of what we are to do way with or isolate them from anything that we do.
As a male, I, of course deny all of the above. [zz)]

__________________________

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.
_________________________

You have said this before. I disagree that all logic is reducto absurdum. That is just one of logics many techniques.

Aside from that, the post was more tongue in cheek than serious, trying to poke fun at both men and womens reasoning abilities though I do think that there are some valid points.
 
  • #6
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Originally posted by Royce

You have said this before. I disagree that all logic is reducto absurdum. That is just one of logics many techniques.

Aside from that, the post was more tongue in cheek than serious, trying to poke fun at both men and womens reasoning abilities though I do think that there are some valid points. [/B]
Ok then, just present one example of a logic that is not based on reductio ad absurdum.
 
  • #7
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"I think; therefore, I am."
 
  • #8
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Originally posted by Royce
"I think; therefore, I am."
That is not a form of logic, it is a form of reasoning. It says nothing about what is and isn't logical.
 
  • #9
BoulderHead
Neither Logic nor Mathematics is not subjective. Their formal definitions and rules were invented precisely to prevent any chance of ambiguity or misunderstanding.
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
 
  • #10
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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.
 
  • #11
BoulderHead
Originally posted by Royce
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.
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.
 
  • #12
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Originally posted by BoulderHead I’m not convinced that logic governs the universe.

I,m certain that our's doesn't.
 
  • #13
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Originally posted by Royce
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.
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.
 
  • #14
BoulderHead
Originally posted by Royce
Originally posted by BoulderHead I’m not convinced that logic governs the universe.

I,m certain that our's doesn't.
...which is why the use of the word 'insure' is inappropriate, that was my point.
 
  • #15
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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.
 
  • #16
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Originally posted by wuliheron
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.
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?"
 
  • #17
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
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?"
It became brown because it hates yellow. Then it told me to say, "My floor is brown, therefore I am." :0)
 
  • #18
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Originally posted by wuliheron
It became brown because it hates yellow. Then it told me to say, "My floor is brown, therefore I am." :0)
Hmm ... sounds like you and you floor have a pretty good understanding of one another. This is good ...
 
  • #19
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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".
 
  • #20
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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
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wuli.
To think that I was despairing of you having or showing a sense of humor in you writing. That was humor wasn't it or did your floor really tell you that? Once again logic has to be correctly appied and used for it to be valid. I can logically prove that Johnny is a fish because he swims and my logic would be faultless however my premise would be wrong therefore my conclusion would be wrong. Garbagein;Garbage out. Exactly like math. The Pathygarian (sp?)Theorum can be applied incorrectly to an obtuse triangle and give invalid results even if the actual calculations ar correct.

mentat,
I will take your advice to heart and thank you for saying that my post had and made some good points.
I may be wrong; but, in my mind mathematics and pure logic are inventions that exist only in the mind of man (generic man this time, read Humans). They are abstract concepts with formal strict rules again made in the mind of man and therefore by definition cannot be wrong. The fact that we are able to apply math and logic to the physical world and accurately describe and predict physical reality proves their validity and usefulness just as we prove any theory.
 
  • #22
BoulderHead
The fact that we are able to apply math and logic to the physical world and accurately describe and predict physical reality proves their validity and usefulness just as we prove any theory.
This would make a fun topic right here, and I don’t want to stray the topic, but can someone tell me about something;
I don’t remember who stumbled onto it but wasn’t there was a time when math didn’t apply to the physical world (it was unknown that there was a connection). From what I recall of the story someone noticed that certain hammers banging away in a blacksmith’s shop sounded good together while others did not. Weighing them found a mathematical relationship existed between the hammers that sounded good together. I think this was when a ‘light bulb’ went off as a connection between mathematics and the physical world sparked the mind of man.
 
  • #23
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Yeah, BH, that was the Pythagoreans again. Notably, they were mystics who discovered much of the foundations of mathematics and physics. When confronted with the invention of irrational numbers that defied their mystical interpretation of life, their organization fell apart.

Of course what we call the "real world" influences our abstractions and vice versa. Sometimes in profoundly meaningful and productive ways while, at other times, in credibly distructive and meaningless inhumane ways. Whether mathematics and logic are absolute one-to-one representations of the 'real world' is a moot point from a practical, pragmatic, and humaine perspective. What matters is whether or not we use them wisely which is as much a personal and emotional issue as a logical and reasonable one.

Some say philosophy is the pursuit of truth, but this pursuit of truth has been used to justify genocide and countless other horrors. If that is the "truth", I want nothing to do with it. I'll go back to talking to my floor instead, at least it never lets me down or led me astray. :0)
 
  • #24
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Time out

Time-Out.

Some laugher related to logic and technology:

Murphy's Technology Laws:

1. Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.
2. Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.
3. Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.
4. If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
5. The attention span of a computer is only as long as it electrical cord.
6. An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.
7. Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.
8. All's well that ends.
9. To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.
10. We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.
11. Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
12. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
13. A computer makes as many mistakes in two seconds as 20 men working 20 years make.
14. To spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.
15. A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.
16. If mathematically you end up with the incorrect answer, try multiplying by the page number.
17. Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
18. If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.
19. All things are possible except skiing through a revolving door.
20. Work smarder and not harder and be careful of yor speling.
21. If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.
22. When all else fails, read the instructions.
 
  • #25
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Murphy was an optimist.

An optimist is someone who believes this is the best of all possible worlds and a pessimist is someone who's afraid they are correct.
 

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