View Full Version : A Question on Logic
Apr 05, 2012, 08:54 AM
So, I consider myself a fairly logical person, but I've never actually studied the subject.
But! My question is whether or not logic must be learned, or if its natural. At first, I assumed that it must be at least partially natural, since I'm fairly logical without any training in it, but remembered that I have experience with school, where almost every subject is based off logic. Would those classes have had marginal effects on my logical brain? If so, that would mean the natural state of my brain possesses rudimentary logic, yet some concepts seem difficult to grasp, and required the building of concepts throughout human history.
I'll pop back in with more questions as the thread progresses and gives me more. I'd like some input from those with training in logic and brainologists, as well, if they can add anything.
Side-question, to keep as a SIDE question (meaning, don't reply to it if you don't contribute at least a little to the main; in order to prevent the thread from being spun off the road):
Theists, what reason do you see for your deity granting us rudimentary capabilities for logic and reason, yet provide truths that we have to train ourselves to perceive?
To be a god's advocate, my assumption would be that (s)he wants us to grow in our capabilities, as the ages pass, in the way a child grows into a man. If I were a deity, I wouldn't want to grant humans perfect capability of understanding the world, as it would be like giving the player a life that starts right in front of the final boss.
Ok, I'll stop my rambling now, and proudly accept any criticism of quite possibly, and likely, meaningless questions. I'm here to learn, starting this thread, and any little bit helps.
Apr 05, 2012, 09:00 AM
My question is whether or not logic must be learned, or if its natural.
Learned from whom or what?
Apr 05, 2012, 09:01 AM
Learned from whom or what?
From others or experience, I suppose.
Apr 05, 2012, 11:00 AM
But! My question is whether or not logic must be learned, or if its natural.
It definitely has to be learned - or at least, some of it has to be learned as it is too large a subject to learn all of it.
And what do you mean when you say that many of your subjects were based on logic?
Apr 05, 2012, 03:04 PM
Logic is learned. Like math, it is a human construction designed to make sense of the universe we inhabit. Since it is not a perfect representation of that which it seeks to interpret it will inevitably be good at making sense of some things and less adept at explaining others.
As to the side question it seems you see an underlying tension between between logic and theism. My apologies if this is in error. This perception of tension seems common but I do not share it. I see no compelling reason for logic, science, and faith to not productively co-exist. Each is a different construct and explains different parts of the human experience. Any tension between them is generally the result of somebody overextending one system beyond its useful realm. I.e. "God told me 2+2=97," or "if I cannot prove your sky-god through hypothesis and testing it must not exist."
Apr 05, 2012, 03:33 PM
I think logic is mostly inherited, but can be learned. When I was a kid I used to do these logic puzzles. I only did them because my brother was good at them, and I liked to do everything my brother did. I think they did improve my logic reasoning (possibly enabling me to do as great as I did with my math courses), but there were limits. I could never finish the most difficult puzzles. I do believe there is a limit to how much can be learned.
And yes I do believe men think more logically than women. I just had to get that out there. Not in all cases, but most.
While I think we can train to use certain parts of our brains more, it's silly to think every kid can grow up to be Einstein.
Apr 05, 2012, 11:24 PM
If logic must be learned, who was the prime learner? And how?
I assume it would be thousands of years of baby steps, and we're nowhere near the end.
Apr 06, 2012, 12:00 AM
I think you need some modicum of understanding of it to survive in life at all. Part of it is also a talent. But I suppose there is a learning component when it comes to evaluating more complex issues.
Apr 06, 2012, 08:30 AM
Apr 06, 2012, 07:23 PM
Logic is a learned behavior. That doesn't mean one needs instruction from a tutor to learn it, although you probably do need either a tutor or deep independent study to develop a deep understanding.
Logic is just a dialectic means of ordering the world and making decisions. It is not unique in this capacity; plenty of other systems, both formal and informal, exist to fulfill the same role. Many of these nonlogical systems develop perfectly rational findings, and there are plenty of irrational findings found through logic as well. People who consider logic as a universal human attribute should ask themselves how cultures that were not exposed to Aristotelian logic managed to grow and thrive without it.
Apr 06, 2012, 09:45 PM
I'd say it's learned or trained. It's not inherent. People aren't born with it, and don't always develop it. At least beyond the most trivial level. (Ex: A = A)
If we're talking about a formal logical system - where you probably need to install a special font to blog about it - that's trivially true.
But even in the generic sense, "valid reasoning," the default way people work is via heuristic reasoning. It's good enough for most people most of the time. That's the "natural" method of thinking.
Logic isn't necessarily "unnatural" - whatever that means - but once you go past the most basic propositions it's going to require at least a little extra effort. Thus, it's pretty rare unless introduced by some form of training - just exposure might do - or necessity.
Note that someone might seem very "logical" and still just use heuristics. They can apply multiple methods against a question, checking one not-inherently-valid process against another.
IMO, btw, the best first (big) steps toward being properly-logical are:
1) Define your terms. Even here, in this bastion of rhetorical excellence, too many discussions are bogged down by people using the same word in different ways. Many will equivocate within a single post. It may be the #1 way to create an invalid argument. But, if you don't catch the equivocation, you won't notice.
2) Generally keep track of the err... "provenance" of your knowledge. Is it from the definitive text book? A trusted witness? Handed down from your ancestors? When you have a handle on how reliable the facts are it's a lot easier to find problems with an argument - yours or someone else's.
Apr 06, 2012, 10:01 PM
I would say that every one has the natural ability to perceive logic, but as the brain grows and the environment shapes the brain, some will develop a more firm grasp on logic while others persue other interest.