Tag Archives: Logic

How our desires shape our beliefs

BOOK REVIEW

The Influential Mind, Author: Tali Sharot.

By Tali Sharot – A study conducted at Harvard University found that people were willing to forgo money so that their opinions would be broadcast to others. A brain-imaging scan showed that when people received the opportunity to communicate their opinions to others, their brain’s reward center was strongly activated.

We experience a burst of pleasure when we share our thoughts, and this drives us to communicate. It is a useful feature of our brain, because it ensures that knowledge, experience and ideas do not get buried with the person who first had them, and that as a society we benefit from the products of many minds.

What determines whether you affect the way others think and behave or are ignored?

You may assume that numbers and statistics are what you need to change their point of view. Well, you can imagine my dismay when I discovered that all these experiments pointed to the reality that people are not driven by facts.

The problem with an approach that prioritizes information is that it ignores the core of what makes us human: our motives, our fears, our hopes, our desires, our prior beliefs. more> https://goo.gl/65RTwv

Trump Fails Logic

By Louis René Beres – Known formally as post hoc, ergo propter hoc, or simply post hoc, this reasoning error maintains simplistically that because one selected event just happens to be followed by another, the second event (here, economic and stock market growth) is a verifiably direct effect of the first (in this case, the 2016 election).

A post hoc argument is invariably fallacious because it discounts all other potentially relevant factors. More precisely, Trump’s claim of credit in this case is unwarranted because it falsely assumes that all other conceivably influential factors have somehow remained constant.

n sum, it is time for Americans to worry not only about this president’s increasingly stark moral and political transgressions, but also his distinctly related intellectual debilities. With particular regard to North Korea, Trump’s multiple and conspicuous manipulations of reasoning could bring us to the brink of a first ever nuclear war. Accordingly, it is high time for us to restore a sense of deep respect for “Logic 101” in the White House. more> https://goo.gl/S3Y5BG

What is logic?

BOOK REVIEW

Critique of Pure Reason, Author: Immanuel Kant.
A History of Formal Logic, Author: J M Bocheński.
Principles of Philosophy, Author: René Descartes.
Summa Theologica, Author: Thomas Aquinas.
Meditations on First Philosophy, Author: René Descartes.
Port-Royal Logic, Authors: Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole.
The Mathematical Analysis of Logic, Author: George Boole.
Begriffsschrift, Author: Gottlob Frege.
Principia Mathematica, Authors: Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell.

By Catarina Dutilh Novaes – The history of logic should be of interest to anyone with aspirations to thinking that is correct, or at least reasonable.

Descartes hits the nail on the head when he claims that the logic of the Schools (scholastic logic) is not really a logic of discovery. Its chief purpose is justification and exposition, which makes sense particularly against the background of dialectical practices, where interlocutors explain and debate what they themselves already know. Indeed, for much of the history of logic, both in ancient Greece and in the Latin medieval tradition, ‘dialectic’ and ‘logic’ were taken to be synonymous.

Up to Descartes’s time, the chief application of logical theories was to teach students to perform well in debates and disputations, and to theorize on the logical properties of what follows from what, insofar as this is an essential component of such argumentative practices. It’s true that not everyone conceived of logic in this way: Thomas Aquinas, for example, held that logic is about ‘second intentions’, roughly what we call second-order concepts, or concepts of concepts. But as late as in the 16th century, the Spanish theologian Domingo de Soto could write with confidence that ‘dialectic is the art or science of disputing’. more> https://goo.gl/iFCWw4

Is Clear Thinking Morally Superior?

Many of us think so, a new study finds, and that could explain why arguments over science and faith get so heated.
By Nathan Collins – Our traditional founts of moral wisdom, religious institutions, have not always been the strongest supporters of clear, empirically based thought. Just ask Galileo, Darwin, or pretty much any climate scientist.

“Opinions grounded in moral conviction are different from equally strong but amoral opinions, in that they are perceived as ‘oughts’ rather than as personal preferences, and lead to intolerance towards those that are attitudinally dissimilar,” psychologists Tomas Stahl, Maarten Zaal, and Linda Skitka write in PLoS One. “However, it is not only the morally motivated defenders of traditional beliefs that have been characterized as intolerant in these debates.”

“More specifically,” they continue, “we suggest that people can come to view it as a moral virtue to form and evaluate attitudes and beliefs based on logical reasoning and evidence, and to view it as a vice to rely on less rational processes, an inclination we refer to as moralized rationality.” more> https://goo.gl/g6XgM5

The Man Who Tried to Redeem the World with Logic

BOOK REVIEW

Principia Mathematica, Authors: Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell.
The Ego and the Id, Author: Sigmund Freud.

By Amanda Gefter – Their building block was the proposition—the simplest possible statement, either true or false. From there, they employed the fundamental operations of logic, like the conjunction (“and”), disjunction (“or”), and negation (“not”), to link propositions into increasingly complicated networks. From these simple propositions, they derived the full complexity of modern mathematics.

Which got Warren McCulloch thinking about neurons. He knew that each of the brain’s nerve cells only fires after a minimum threshold has been reached: Enough of its neighboring nerve cells must send signals across the neuron’s synapses before it will fire off its own electrical spike. It occurred to McCulloch that this set-up was binary—either the neuron fires or it doesn’t.

A neuron’s signal, he realized, is a proposition, and neurons seemed to work like logic gates, taking in multiple inputs and producing a single output. By varying a neuron’s firing threshold, it could be made to perform “and,” “or,” and “not” functions. more> http://goo.gl/ywv7iQ