The Limits of Reason: Exploring the Rationality of Logic

In summary: Can we really trust reason if it is built upon uncertain foundations? In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of reason and its limitations. One perspective sees reason as a product of our observations, but questions how we can trust it when our perspectives are limited. Another perspective suggests that reason is intrinsic to the universe, but raises the issue of how our personal sense of reason fits in. The conversation also delves into the idea of acknowledging truth and whether it is inborn or not. Ultimately, it is argued that reason and logic may be flawed and based on unproven assumptions, making it unreliable as a means of understanding reality.
  • #71
Getting back to the topic...

If truths about reality are destinations, then deductive reasoning is the car that gets you from one to the other. The initial post of the thread boils down to: How far can that car get us?

Is there some limit to the understanding that logic alone can provide? I have answered that question emphatically in the affirmative, on the following grounds:

We have two kinds of logic: deductive and inductive.

The former is concerned with arguments whose premises give absolute support to their conclusions. The problem is that it gives no decision procedure for determining the truth or falsity of propositions with absolute certainty (actually, it's damn near completely silent on the issue).

The latter is concerned with arguments whose premises give probable support to their conclusions. The advantage is that this logic does indeed either lend support to, or outright falsifies, the conclusions that are brought under its analysis.

Since those are the only two kinds of logic at our disposal, I state that absolute truths about reality (known absolutely!) are beyond the capacity of human logic.
 
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  • #72


Originally posted by Tom
Since those are the only two kinds of logic at our disposal, I state that absolute truths about reality (known absolutely!) are beyond the capacity of human logic.
Is that an absolute statement in and of itself? Sorry ...

That only concludes that absolutes can be known, and we were just a witness to it. Otherwise you couldn't possibly suggest otherwise. And that's an absolute statement!

We are all "witnesses" to the truth. Do you know why? Because it's "inborn."
 
  • #73


Originally posted by Tom
In a sense, inductive logic is to natural philosophy (aka science) what definitions are to reasoning on abstract forms. They both determine the truth of propositions: the former relatively, the latter absolutely.

Very nicely said, and I would add that like anything, logic is contextual. It is holistically both linear and nonlinear.

Nobody understands the world they're in,
but some people are better off at it than others."

--Richard Feynman, The Meaning of it all
 
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  • #74


Originally posted by Iacchus32
Is that an absolute statement in and of itself? Sorry ...

Yes, but not about reality, but about human logic.

We are all "witnesses" to the truth. Do you know why? Because it's "inborn." [/B]

And what is neural plasticity for then? and short term and long term memory centers in the brain? what does the brain do then? why spend so many years learning? what a waste!
 
  • #75
Originally posted by wuliheron
"Nobody understands the world they're in, but some people are better off at it than others."
Is this another absolute assessment about reality? Yes, we're either speaking about reality or we're not. Is it possible for a woman to become "absolutely pregant?" You betcha! ... And I'm sure it becomes an absolute reality for her. Hmm... How can I be sure of that? If you're going to pin a label on someone, then you better be "sure" it's an absolute assessment.

Is there any truth to what I'm saying here? Then why can't "you" acknowledge it? ... But then again, how can we acknowledge anything without the capacity to say, "I don't know." Hmm... Am I saying the same thing you're saying here or what? Hey I don't know man? ...
 
  • #76
Originally posted by Iacchus32
Is this another absolute assessment about reality? Yes, we're either speaking about reality or we're not. Is it possible for a woman to become "absolutely pregant?" You betcha! ... And I'm sure it becomes an absolute reality for her. Hmm... How can I be sure of that? If you're going to pin a label on someone, then you better be "sure" it's an absolute assessment.

Is there any truth to what I'm saying here? Then why can't "you" acknowledge it? ... But then again, how can we acknowledge anything without the capacity to say, "I don't know." Hmm... Am I saying the same thing you're saying here or what? Hey I don't know man? ...

Holistic philosophies have been compared to jazz and the avant-gard among other things for their flexibility in bridging the rational and irrational, logical and paradoxical. Often in exceedingly complex mathematical ways. Louis Armstrong said about jazz,

Man, if you got to ask you'll never know.

Sure you can make absolute statements in some sense, but ultimately the art of logic and semantics disappear into the unplumbed depths of human capacity, but of course also remain within a finite human context. Thus anything you can say about jazz or paradox is both absolute and indeterminate, both correct and incorrect. What do you expect? Its a paradox.
 
  • #77
Originally posted by wuliheron
Sure you can make absolute statements in some sense, but ultimately the art of logic and semantics disappear into the unplumbed depths of human capacity, but of course also remain within a finite human context. Thus anything you can say about jazz or paradox is both absolute and indeterminate, both correct and incorrect. What do you expect? Its a paradox.
Hey reality is absolute man. Whether or not I can acknowledge everything that that entails? ... Forget it!

But that still doesn't mean we don't have the capacity to "know" what we know.
 
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  • #78
Originally posted by Iacchus32
Hey reality is absolute man. Whether or not I can acknowledge everything that that entails or not? Forget it! ...

Between the drive to understand reality and to accept the paradox of existence, each of us take our individual paths. Some paths are more inclusive than others. Many paths, one mountain Taoists like to say. They all make beautiful music.
 
  • #79
Originally posted by wuliheron
Between the drive to understand reality and to accept the paradox of existence, each of us take our individual paths. Some paths are more inclusive than others. Many paths, one mountain Taoists like to say. They all make beautiful music.
Absolutely! ...
 
  • #80
Originally posted by Iacchus32
Absolutely! ...

And paradoxically. :0)
 
  • #81
Originally posted by wuliheron
And paradoxically. :0)
What a fine fresh scent it has! ... And I like it too! ...
 
  • #82


Originally posted by Iacchus32
That only concludes that absolutes can be known, and we were just a witness to it. Otherwise you couldn't possibly suggest otherwise. And that's an absolute statement!

You must be spending way too much time staring at your avatar. That's the only explanation I can think of for you consistently getting my straightforward points all topsy-turvy. Go outside and get some air, man!
 
  • #83
Originally posted by Tom
You must be spending way too much time staring at your avatar. That's the only explanation I can think of for you consistently getting my straightforward points all topsy-turvy. Go outside and get some air, man!
I tend to rely on my inner-experience more than my outer-experience. Why? It's a long story. This was one of my main reasons for writing "the book." I had all these things going on inside my head, and yet come to find out there's a whole world of synchronicities to coincide with them. So I tend look at things a little differently, while my main focus is on the ability to see things for myself. This is very important, because when you see things (especially in your mind), you have to have a means by which to validate it. Which requires a great deal of honesty as well as consistency.

It also means I have a bit of a problem when it comes to people telling me how to think. I just have a problem with putting my brain in "formalized situations" and someone saying, "This is the way it is" or, This is how it has to be!" It just doesn't jive. But rather than get all worked up about it, I tend to keep it to myself and try not put to myself in those kind of situations. But then there are times when it's actually kind of nice to be able to convey what's on your mind. Which, I guess is why I'm here, just to bug you ... well, perhaps a little. Ha ha!

Are you at all familiar with the "shamanistic experience?" This usually entails somebody going wacko with their brain shattered into a thousand pieces, only to discover a means by which to put everything back together again, and bring back from the "other side" a different (but more extensive) view of reality. This is what happened to me, and it's what my book is about. If you would like to read more about my experience here please follow the link:

http://www.dionysus.org/x0501.html
 
  • #84
Greetings !
Originally posted by wuliheron
Between the drive to understand reality and
to accept the paradox of existence, each of
us take our individual paths. Some paths are
more inclusive than others. Many paths, one
mountain Taoists like to say. They all make
beautiful music.
Damn ! How did those guys get so smart ?!

Wu Li, is there a link to a site where all
their philosophies on as many issues as possible
are summed up in the above manner ? (I'm
simply too lazy and do not have time to read
most of the links posted here, I try to look
at the main ones. If I can find a site like that
I believe I can understand most of these
quotes and spare a lot of time reading and
partially - thinking or getting confused due
to bad sources. And, of course, these guys
certainly look to me like the only ones
I can really study philosophy from !)

In any case, thanks !
You truly enrich this philosophy forum immensly !
(Do you have a fan club ? )

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #85
Originally posted by drag
Greetings !

Damn ! How did those guys get so smart ?!

Wu Li, is there a link to a site where all
their philosophies on as many issues as possible
are summed up in the above manner ?

...In any case, thanks !
You truly enrich this philosophy forum immensly !
(Do you have a fan club ? )

Live long and prosper.

I can recommend the two following websites for a well rounded look at the subject. By-the-way, thanks for asking, by chance I checked the link to my old favorite Taoist forum which went offline for a long time and found they are back online. There website is in my opinion by far the most poetic and elegant yet comprehensive in every respect. If you hang around long enough, you may even discover a few masters hanging out.

http://www.edepot.com/taoism.html

This second website is a less elegant western philosophical look at the subject that can help clarify intellectual aspects for those of us who have trouble plumbing the depths of poetry at times.

http://www.apophaticmysticism.com/Index.html

I'm sorry, I don't know of any fan clubs or single website that sums up everything the way I do. That's exactly why I express myself so much, I've spent years attempting to express in my own unique way what I can't find anywhere else. However there are a number of modern authors who convey the subject better than I do in many respects. Notably Deng Ming Dao and D. C. Lao.

Deng's book "Tao 365" is a collection of meditations for each day of the year along the lines of what I just wrote above that you like so much, but much more poetic. Mr Lao is a tremendously elegant and capable writer and scholar in the western tradition and I'd recommend his book, "Yuan Tao" for beginners. Allan Watt's, "The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are" and Benjamin Hoff's "The Tao of Pooh" are classics as well.
 
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