Why does the world conform to logic?

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Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Asparagus on January 30th, 2018, 2:47 pm 

I would extend the title with: assuming that it does. If you're skeptical that it does, feel free to talk about that, but I was really aiming the question at people who assert that conforming to logic is a path to truth (without too much in the way of religious vapors, just the regular old truth.)

The basis of the question is partly noting posters like RJG, who seems to recommend logic, and it's partly from my continuing reading of Plotinus, who partakes of some Stoicism. The Stoic Logos (the rational principle operating in the world) was supposedly hot air. What would an updated version of that be? Or do we take a totally different approach to the question these days?
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby RJG on January 30th, 2018, 5:53 pm 

Asparagus wrote:Why does the world conform to logic?

The world has no other option of making sense. Logic is mathematics in words; it is our innate (a priori) means of “making sense”. Without it, we are all fools.

There is no way we can invalidate logic without invalidating our own invalidation.


Asparagus wrote:The basis of the question is partly noting posters like RJG, who seems to recommend logic...

Yes, I am of the opinion that Logic always trumps Science, and therefore our truths should be dictated by Logic, and not necessarily Science.

Logic can overturn Science, but Science can never overturn Logic. If something is logically impossible, then all the science in the world cannot make the impossible, possible.

- The truths of Science are constantly evolving and changing. The truths of Science are fallible.
- The truths of Logic/Math are constant; never changing. The truths of Logic/Math are non-fallible.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Asparagus on January 30th, 2018, 7:05 pm 

RJG » January 30th, 2018, 5:53 pm wrote:
Asparagus wrote:Why does the world conform to logic?

The world has no other option of making sense.

There seems to be room for doubt. It's conceivable that our assumptions work well enough for us without being true. And it could be that evidence of this appears regularly but we fail to take the message due to confirmation bias. I'm not arguing that this is the case. I'm saying that exploring logic tells us something about the contours of the mind, so to speak. It shows us what things we're bound to think. But what does that have to do with the way things really are?

RJG wrote:There is no way we can invalidate logic without invalidating our own invalidation.

I wouldn't expect to use logic as a weapon against logic.


RJG wrote:Logic can overturn Science, but Science can never overturn Logic. If something is logically impossible, then all the science in the world cannot make the impossible, possible.

- The truths of Science are constantly evolving and changing. The truths of Science are fallible.
- The truths of Logic/Math are constant; never changing. The truths of Logic/Math are non-fallible.


Fallibility is a property of people, not branches of knowledge. Logical truths are usually trivially true. A=A, for instance. A valid logical argument is like a machine: garbage in, garbage out.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby RJG on January 30th, 2018, 8:04 pm 

RJG wrote:There is no way we can invalidate logic without invalidating our own invalidation.

Asparagus wrote:I wouldn't expect to use logic as a weapon against logic.

So you would prefer 'illogic' as your weapon of choice??


Asparagus wrote:A valid logical argument is like a machine: garbage in, garbage out.

Yes, but a "valid logical argument" is not necessarily a "sound logical argument".
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby wolfhnd on January 30th, 2018, 8:04 pm 

Interesting Question.

A logical statement does not necessarily conform to objective reality. Leading me to ask if an illogical statement can conform to objective reality.

It's a question of precision and accuracy for me. How true is a statement. Every statement is precise if it is not altered in someway and the definition of the words are held to some high standard. That is simple fidelity of reproduction. The accuracy of a statement depends on resolution, interpretation, consistency, frame of reference and a bewildering number of other factors but perhaps not internally consistent logic. Logic if this is true becomes a communication aid more than an tool in finding truth. Precision it seems does require a degree of logic but that logic is built into the language tool and the animal to some degree.

Of course logic can apply to a totally fanciful linguistic creation. In say fantasy writing the reader demands a degree of internally consistent logic regardless of how little the subject matter conforms to external reality. Even in physics we often here that your calculations are correct, but your physical insight is abominable. Very precise but inaccurate.

Since precision only requires that you can get the same answer over and over again it is easier to achieve than accuracy. Accuracy requires a lot of guesswork as to the conditions you are dealing with. While it is true that precision is affected by conditions as long as the conditions don't vary wildly you will hit your target in more of less the same spot without adjusting for them. Accuracy requires that you understand and adjust for every variable which becomes in most cases and infinite and unmanageable set.

We live in a close enough world because we cannot deal with the infinite. For each question we set a standard of approximation that is acceptable. To communicate that standard may require a good deal of formal logic. Setting that standard I suspect imposes a kind of informal logic on the author. Most of that informal logic I suspect comes from trial and error. It's an evolutionary process that takes place without the author even being aware of it in many cases. Even if the author is aware of it most informal logic has a nearly infinite ancestry both biological and cultural.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby RJG on January 30th, 2018, 8:40 pm 

The primary purpose of logic in philosophical discussions it to identify and rule out the logical impossibilities and contradictions. If "married bachelors" are 'logically impossible', then any continued debate, assertions, and posturing of such should cease (...one would think, right?).

But unfortunately, it appears that many have a low regard for logic as an arbiter of truth.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Asparagus on January 30th, 2018, 8:46 pm 

RJG » January 30th, 2018, 8:04 pm wrote:
RJG wrote:There is no way we can invalidate logic without invalidating our own invalidation.

Asparagus wrote:I wouldn't expect to use logic as a weapon against logic.

So you would prefer 'illogic' as your weapon of choice??

No. Logic shows us those things we're bound to think. How does that relate to the way the world is?
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Asparagus on January 30th, 2018, 8:50 pm 

wolfhnd » January 30th, 2018, 8:04 pm wrote:
We live in a close enough world because we cannot deal with the infinite.


What aspect of the world is infinite?
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby wolfhnd on January 30th, 2018, 11:32 pm 

Asparagus » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:50 am wrote:
wolfhnd » January 30th, 2018, 8:04 pm wrote:
We live in a close enough world because we cannot deal with the infinite.


What aspect of the world is infinite?


No aspect unless you believe in the multi universe theory or similar :-)

Infinite was a poor choice of words but conveys that which is beyond human imagination.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Serpent on January 31st, 2018, 12:24 am 

The world - by which I assume you mean the universe - does not conform to logic.
Logic is one of the tools that an insignificant semi-conscious ape species, on an insignificant planet near the rim of a typical barred spiral galaxy uses to describe what little it is able to perceive of how the universe functions.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby wolfhnd on January 31st, 2018, 12:55 am 

The problem with Serpent's view is that the universe derives it's meaning from consciousness.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Asparagus on January 31st, 2018, 10:01 am 

Serpent » January 31st, 2018, 12:24 am wrote:The world - by which I assume you mean the universe - does not conform to logic.
Logic is one of the tools that an insignificant semi-conscious ape species, on an insignificant planet near the rim of a typical barred spiral galaxy uses to describe what little it is able to perceive of how the universe functions.

Logic as descriptive? A=A. What does that describe?
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Asparagus on January 31st, 2018, 10:02 am 

wolfhnd » January 31st, 2018, 12:55 am wrote:The problem with Serpent's view is that the universe derives it's meaning from consciousness.

Are you putting logic in the domain of consciousness? Or is it an aspect of the universe and we detect it (perhaps because being residents of the universe, it's part of us as well)?
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Serpent on January 31st, 2018, 12:57 pm 

wolfhnd » January 30th, 2018, 11:55 pm wrote:The problem with Serpent's view is that the universe derives it's meaning from consciousness.

I [an insignificant but perpetually self-promoting ape, stuck to an insignificant ball of damp rock, orbiting a little no-'count yellow star near the edge of one of billions and billions of galaxies, each consisting of billions and billions of stars and whatever-all is moiling about the interstices] declare that "the universe derives it's meaning from my consciousness.

OKAYWE'LLLETYOUSTHINKTHATWHAT'SITMATTERFORTHEMICROSECONDOFYOUREXISTENCE
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Serpent on January 31st, 2018, 1:00 pm 

Asparagus » January 31st, 2018, 9:01 am wrote:Logic as descriptive? A=A. What does that describe?

Not much, as far as your equation goes. But you've started on the Roman Alphabet, and that's a very useful device. I said logic is a tool - not that all humans are skilled at using it.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Braininvat on January 31st, 2018, 2:06 pm 

It's being asked if logic is "built into" the universe, i.e. that it's ontic foundation is innately mathematical. In that case, our symbol sets are the tools to grasp the logic inherent in the universe. I tend to go with that, on the principle that if our brains structure our perceptions in a lawful and logical manner, then they were probably grown/developed in a universe that is lawful and logical. So I would say that our brains conform the symbol systems of logic that they use to the logic of reality. Validation of such a position lies simply in the degree to which it works. If 2 plus 2 equals 4 only worked in my head, but conflicted with empirical data - say that every time I put a couple peanuts next to another couple peanuts, it would yield 5 peanuts - then we would live in a universe where the logic of numeracy is violated. I don't think that is possible. We are intimately connected to the world and we survive because there is a logic consistent both within and without.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Asparagus on January 31st, 2018, 2:34 pm 

Braininvat » January 31st, 2018, 2:06 pm wrote:It's being asked if logic is "built into" the universe, i.e. that it's ontic foundation is innately mathematical. In that case, our symbol sets are the tools to grasp the logic inherent in the universe. I tend to go with that, on the principle that if our brains structure our perceptions in a lawful and logical manner, then they were probably grown/developed in a universe that is lawful and logical.

Could you say more about what it would mean for the universe's ontic foundation to be innately mathematical?
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Asparagus on January 31st, 2018, 2:36 pm 

Serpent » January 31st, 2018, 1:00 pm wrote:
Asparagus » January 31st, 2018, 9:01 am wrote:Logic as descriptive? A=A. What does that describe?

Not much, as far as your equation goes. But you've started on the Roman Alphabet, and that's a very useful device. I said logic is a tool - not that all humans are skilled at using it.

My equation? It's the Law of Identity. So I take it you're backtracking on the notion that logic is descriptive.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Serpent on January 31st, 2018, 4:18 pm 

Asparagus » January 31st, 2018, 1:36 pm wrote:My equation? It's the Law of Identity. So I take it you're backtracking on the notion that logic is descriptive.

No. I said logic is one of the tools humans use to communicate with other humans about the little they can discern of how those elements of the universe that they are able perceive interact in the functioning of the universe.
The example [A=A] that you cited is not fairly representative of the descriptive powers of logic.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Asparagus on January 31st, 2018, 4:20 pm 

Serpent » January 31st, 2018, 4:18 pm wrote:
Asparagus » January 31st, 2018, 1:36 pm wrote:My equation? It's the Law of Identity. So I take it you're backtracking on the notion that logic is descriptive.

No. I said logic is one of the tools humans use to communicate with other humans about the little they can discern of how those elements of the universe that they are able perceive interact in the functioning of the universe.
The example [A=A] that you cited is not fairly representative of the descriptive powers of logic.

Could you point out a logical principle that would help me understand your point?
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Serpent on January 31st, 2018, 4:47 pm 

Asparagus » January 31st, 2018, 3:20 pm wrote:Could you point out a logical principle that would help me understand your point?


Once upon a time, there was a universe, full of interactive energy, matter, space and time.
It grew and grew; some gas clouds formed stars; some stars spit out planets; some planets engendered life; some life evolved into inquisitive and communicative, bipedal, tool-using species.
All of these growth and evolutionary processes took place in chronological cause-effect sequences, with similar processes giving rise to similar outcome, not twice in a row, which might have been coincidence, or a hundred times, which might have been serendipity, but the same way, so many billions of times as to show a predictable pattern.
On one of these wet warm, etc, planets, one of the preternaturally discontented life-forms eventually began to investigate the relationships of matter, time, energy and space and how they interact as events.
In order to tell one another what they observed, deduced, surmised, imagined and wondered about, humans invented many different tools of communication, representation and recording. Art, spoken language, body language, music, dance (the body language of music) mathematics, pictograph, iconography, notation and alphabets.
In order to convince one another that the ideas in their own heads were congruent with the functioning of the universe outside their heads, they invented standardized structures for each form of communication, with imposed rules and assigned values.
Rhetorical logic is one of those formal structures. (generic logic is just critical reasoning; nobody makes a game of it except comedians and poets)
It can be used as tool to communicate what we understand of how the universe functions --
or engaged in, simply as a competitive game.
(In which regard, it is more benign but less utilitarian than a hammer, which can be used to drive nails into wood, shatter glass, open walnuts or cause serious, even fatal, injury.)
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby someguy1 on February 1st, 2018, 1:19 am 

Asparagus » January 30th, 2018, 12:47 pm wrote:If you're skeptical that it does, feel free to talk about that ...


I'll take that side of the argument.

Rationality is greatly overrated. A glance at the newspaper bears this out.

The ancients looked up in the sky and saw hunters and animals and told stories about them. They took these stories for truth.

We "sophisticated" moderns tell stories about quarks and gluons and we take those stories for truth. Maybe we're just seeing constellations and telling stories. And for that matter, newspapers still publish horoscopes. If rationality is regarded as decisive, nobody's told the public.

If the universe is ultimately random, and we're in a momentary bubble of coherence, that's perfectly consistent with what we think we believe about science.

There is a scientific idea that expresses this possibility. A Boltzmann brain, proposed by nineteenth century physicist Ludwig Boltzmann, is the "idea that the Universe is observed to be in a highly improbable non-equilibrium state because only when such states randomly occur can brains exist to be aware of the Universe."

Here's a Feynman quote on the subject. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmi ... nn-brains/

Feynman wrote:Look again at our box of mixed white and black molecules. Now it is possible, if we wait long enough, by sheer, grossly improbable, but possible, accident, that the distribution of molecules gets to be mostly white on one side and mostly black on the other. After that, as time goes on and accidents continue, they get more mixed up again.

Thus one possible explanation of the high degree of order in the present-day world is that it is just a question of luck.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby wolfhnd on February 1st, 2018, 4:00 am 

Serpent » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:57 pm wrote:
wolfhnd » January 30th, 2018, 11:55 pm wrote:The problem with Serpent's view is that the universe derives it's meaning from consciousness.

I [an insignificant but perpetually self-promoting ape, stuck to an insignificant ball of damp rock, orbiting a little no-'count yellow star near the edge of one of billions and billions of galaxies, each consisting of billions and billions of stars and whatever-all is moiling about the interstices] declare that "the universe derives it's meaning from my consciousness.

OKAYWE'LLLETYOUSTHINKTHATWHAT'SITMATTERFORTHEMICROSECONDOFYOUREXISTENCE


I'm suggesting that your philosophy is terminal because to survive you have to act as if there is meaning. If you want to demonstrate the hellish chaos that the philosophy leads to tell your wife that your relationship is meaningless because consciousness and freewill are an illusion.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby wolfhnd on February 1st, 2018, 4:13 am 

Asparagus » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:02 pm wrote:
wolfhnd » January 31st, 2018, 12:55 am wrote:The problem with Serpent's view is that the universe derives it's meaning from consciousness.

Are you putting logic in the domain of consciousness? Or is it an aspect of the universe and we detect it (perhaps because being residents of the universe, it's part of us as well)?


It would be better to drop the baggage that comes along with the term logic than try to untangle the various semantical issues that arise out of historical context.

We could not impose order on a universe that was totally chaotic. Logic imposes order subjectively.

As I said formal logic is a great communication tool. For discussing "truth" I prefer to leave the term logic aside and substitute the terms evidence and reason because they avoid the problem of absolutes.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Asparagus on February 1st, 2018, 10:50 am 

wolfhnd wrote:
It would be better to drop the baggage that comes along with the term logic than try to untangle the various semantical issues that arise out of historical context.

We could not impose order on a universe that was totally chaotic. Logic imposes order subjectively.

As I said formal logic is a great communication tool. For discussing "truth" I prefer to leave the term logic aside and substitute the terms evidence and reason because they avoid the problem of absolutes.

So when you drop the baggage associated with the term, you arrive at the conclusion that logic is a resident of the domain of discourse? If that's not what you mean, then I'm confused.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby wolfhnd on February 1st, 2018, 4:07 pm 

Logic and math are essential tools for refined our understanding of the world. Formal logic and philosophy force us to communicate clearly. Some times however they separate us from experience. Experience is the source of all knowledge either directly through the senses or transmitted experience by genetic or cultural inheritance accumulated and evolved. Sometimes we are fooled into thinking that because logic and math are absolute that experience can be ignored.

Experience is always an approximation of reality, a rough analogy or measurement. It is uncomfortable in that we evolved to think in terms of life and death, fight or flight, right and wrong. We seek to reduce the discomfort by the absolutism of logic.

We experiment to experience our hypothesis. The hypothesis that logic can neither confirm nor deny. Unconfirmed or logic devoid of experience can be a form of religiosity.

There may vary well be some ultimate logic a formula for everything but that is not something I'm interested in pursuing. Some people look for it in transcendental experience or math and science. I'm content to use evidence and reason to solve the every day problems of survival. It's a personal preference.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Serpent on February 1st, 2018, 7:34 pm 

wolfhnd » February 1st, 2018, 3:00 am wrote:I'm suggesting that your philosophy is terminal because to survive you have to act as if there is meaning.

Maybe so, but the universe couldn't care less whether I stick my meaning onto it or not; its processes, functions and relationships don't change according to the philosophical fads of humanity.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby parsoff on February 11th, 2018, 4:00 pm 

Asparagus » January 30th, 2018, 8:47 pm wrote:I would extend the title with: assuming that it does. If you're skeptical that it does, feel free to talk about that, but I was really aiming the question at people who assert that conforming to logic is a path to truth (without too much in the way of religious vapors, just the regular old truth.)

The basis of the question is partly noting posters like RJG, who seems to recommend logic, and it's partly from my continuing reading of Plotinus, who partakes of some Stoicism. The Stoic Logos (the rational principle operating in the world) was supposedly hot air. What would an updated version of that be? Or do we take a totally different approach to the question these days?

i am not skeptical i only think there are limits and that counts for being a human too
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Lomax on February 11th, 2018, 6:27 pm 

I'm surprised by the number of points that haven't been raised in this thread. Firstly, we (humans, philosophers, scientists, sense-makers) don't all agree which logic is the correct one (or even if there is only one) - metalogicians differ about whether higher-order logics should be allowed, whether fuzzy logics should be allowed, which axioms to choose in the construction of a mathematical logic, and so on. Hilbert systems differ from other logics in the way they prioritise axiom schema over rules for inference, for example.

Taking logic to be that which we are bound to believe, as Asparagus suggests, then I am not convinced that the world does in fact conform to logic, but rather it is the other way around. In the mathematical logic of quantum mechanics multiplication is not commutative, and the distributive law does not hold. BiV implies that the everyday propositions we take to be logically true (such as 2 + 2 = 4) are by that token necessarily true, and with regard to the foregoing points, I think this stands in need of argument. To many, I do not doubt that "2(a + b) = 2a + 2b" would appear a logical truth.

This is significant, because RJG says that the primary purpose of logic is to identify and discard logical impossibilities (my italics). That would render it somewhat trivial - we might as well say that the purpose of Scientology is to rule out Scientological impossibilities. Presumably what RJG means is that the purpose of logic is to rule out impossibilities - in which case we need some explanation as to how it does so, as opposed to merely ruling out inconceivabilities.
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Re: Why does the world conform to logic?

Postby Forest_Dump on February 11th, 2018, 6:49 pm 

I have to admit that I am not convinced the world does or does always conform to logic. I think for the most part logic tends to be a kind or kinds of linguist abstraction to make aspects of the world appear to conform to a manufactured order and/or manageable.
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