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Thread: Contradictory Logic

  1. #1 Contradictory Logic 
    Forum Freshman macusual's Avatar
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    I had a discussion with my theory of knowledge teacher a year ago about faith and its relation with logic.

    He claimed that many people that have faith openly claim that their belief is outside the realm of logic, which I found confusing because to me logic is something all-encompassing, something that cannot just consciously be stepped out of. (Also, I know of many religious people who would be incredibly offended if you called their belief illogical.)

    My reply to my teacher, to which he did not have an answer, was that if you say something, anything, is outside of logic, aren't you using logic itself to deduce that it is outside of logic? Isn't that a contradiction?

    So perhaps this could be simplified to:
    Can you use logic to deduce that something is beyond the realm of logic?

    No one has ever been able to provide clarification on this question, so I turn to the international wealth of knowledge the internet has to offer. Anything could be helpful.


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    I think yes. The subject of your logic is separate from the logic applied to that subject. You can use logic to explain that belief in unicorns is an illogical belief. I'm not sure I see where you're going with this. I use logic to deduce that belief in unicorns is illogical, and see no contradiction whatsoever in so doing.

    Is it possible that you are instead trying to ascertain how one could use valid logic to arrive at an illogical belief, such as suggesting that I used logic to arrive at my belief in the existence of unicorns which you can see, touch, and smell or something similar?


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    Forum Freshman macusual's Avatar
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    I get your point but the way I see it, something illogical is not the same thing as something that is judged by rules outside of logic.

    I don't think my question can be transformed to
    "Can you use logic to deduce something is illogical?"
    Because the answer to that is indeed, yes.

    Perhaps the segment "judged by rules outside of logic" better explains the contradiction in question. Logic is the 'rule' of the universe by which everything must comply, so how can you use the rules of the universe to deduce there are rules beyond it? Maybe by using math as an example; can you use math to prove that there are some things that cannot be explained by the rules governing math?

    Sorry for the abstraction, I'm still trying to find better ways of wording exactly what I'm talking about, but this discussion alone already helps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by macusual
    can you use math to prove that there are some things that cannot be explained by the rules governing math?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6...eness_theorems
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    Forum Freshman macusual's Avatar
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    Godel's Incomleteness Theorems; probably the most thought-provoking mathematical proofs. I see the connection you're trying to make but again this is not completely what I mean.

    The First Incompleteness Theorem, simply stated, (I'm not a mathematician but this is what I got from it) proves that within a certain language/symbol system there are true statements that are also unprovable. A statement that is unprovable and true, however, is still governed by rules of mathematical logic.
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    There are physical events in the universe. These appear to be governed by 'laws' and 'constants' and 'logic'.

    There are also thoughts. Now these arise, apparently, from physical events within our brains, yet those thoughts can readily be of 'things' or ''events' that are not thought to be possible by the 'laws' and 'logic' of this universe. I can imagine an orange avocado with an IQ of 200 and the ability to teleport to anywhere in the universe instantly.

    It seems that the contents of thoughts, then, are not subject to the same 'laws' and 'logic'. Therefore I see no difficulty in persons choosing to base their beliefs on faith and ignoring 'laws' and 'logic'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    You can use logic to explain that belief in unicorns is an illogical belief.
    I disagree with this. Proof of the existence of unicorns would be entirely empirical i.e. inductive. Logic, refers purely to deductive reasoning, and says nothing of the premise. So, for example:

    All women are mortal
    Socrates is a woman
    Therefore, Socrates is mortal

    The logic is flawless, but the conclusion is still not necessarily true, because the premise is flawed - Socrates is a man, and the mortality of men is not mentioned.

    Philosophers and apologists have been trying for centuries to find deductive/logical proofs/disproofs of god, and they can't because proof needs be empirical.
    I would suggest the people who claim their belief is outside the realm of logic actually mean their belief is in spite inductive or deductive reasoning.
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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus
    Logic, refers purely to deductive reasoning, and says nothing of the premise.
    Interesting. When I use the term "logic," it is much broader than that. Regardless, I tend to agree with your point. One can use the most ironclad logic in the world and it ultimately matters little if the premise is flawed or unfounded.
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    Forum Freshman macusual's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    There are also thoughts. Now these arise, apparently, from physical events within our brains, yet those thoughts can readily be of 'things' or ''events' that are not thought to be possible by the 'laws' and 'logic' of this universe.
    I would say that all processes in our brain are still governed by logic and thoughts can eventually be explained by it, neural scientists just haven't discovered enough about consciousness to justify thoughts.

    Suppose this theoretical experiment: if we possessed a supercomputer so powerful that it could perfectly model each atom, each neuron and each organ in the entire human body (plus a tiny oxygenated environment for him/her to 'live' in) it is my belief that he would too be able to 'think' and act exactly like a human. I guess it comes down to your belief about the nature of consciousness, but many scientists hold this materialistic view. Going in a tangent, this could mean that our reality is merely a computer, as a computer with every physical law written in it would be indistinguishable from a human perspective than our real world. (Who can prove we aren't in a simulated environment?)
    Each neuron, synapse and metabolic pathway is still governed by logic so it seems only logical to assume our thoughts arrive from the same rules. (Note: this includes both the reductionist and holistic views)

    Logic is the rules by which this world works. As this discussion continues I am becoming increasingly convinced that there just simply is nothing beyond logic, saying something does not follow any guidelines or rules is a fallacy in itself. Our reality is bound to unbreakable rules. But I very much welcome a disproof of my arguments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by macusual
    Logic is the rules by which this world works.
    I think the word logic is being used far too broadly. It has a specific meaning in the context of philosophy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logic

    If you define logic to be all things, then it is only logical that all things are logic. Perhaps another word would better express your view?
    The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas - Tao Te Ching

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    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    I think you can, because you are only deducing that the subject is beyond logic, which you can do with the lack of logical explanation. You still use logic to deduce that the subject is beyond logic, but the deduction does not require the subject to be logical.
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  13. #12 Re: Contradictory Logic 
    Lyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by macusual
    if you say something, anything, is outside of logic, aren't you using logic itself to deduce that it is outside of logic? Isn't that a contradiction?
    I agree with Prometheus: the terms "logic" and "deduction" are being used rather loosely. According to its standard definition, "deduction" is not being used in your scenario. The statement "x is outside of logic" is not in itself a deductive argument; more generally, simply making a statement is not necessarily an act of logic. Logic happens when you start relating statements to each other in certain ways.
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  14. #13 Re: Contradictory Logic 
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    It depends on how the conclusion, "My belief is outside of the realm of logic," is arrived at. Any language-based conclusion that can be arrived at through a given logical system can also be arrived at without the system--one could simply say it.

    If, however, logic is used to find the same conclusion, it is not necessarily a contradiction. Logic is a system of verifications of relationships expressed within the system. A contradiction occurs when a relationship breaks the system's rules--like "1=2" in mathematics. The system just doesn't know what to do with that--it can't use that to come to a conclusion other than something has gone wrong.

    Logic itself can verify propositions within its own parameters--but this has nothing to do with empirical truth. It cannot say if something is, in reality, true or false (only that that something is true to its system of logic). It can only judge whether, according to its makeup, a given proposition is consistent with the logic's system. Think of it as an analysis of form, rather than content. It can't say whether or not a statement is empricially true--but puts it into a form in which it is consistent in its relationships. As such, you can devise logical arguments in which you can say that "x is outside of the realm of logic" that are unimpeachably logical.

    An earlier poster mentioned syllogisms. You could say:

    All things which encompass everything are outside of the realm of logic.
    God encompasses everything.
    Therefore, God is outside of the realm of logic.

    This is logically correct. But to be true, "God" would have to exist, "encompass" everything, and "things which encompass everything are outside of the realm of logic" would have to all be true.
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