(23) Miscommunication: contradictory premises

Could we fix it?
We continue with our search to fill in the blanks of the statement: If an object is all black and all white at the same time, then its color is …

Attempt 1: Could we get more information about the object? No, the object is completely black and also completely white, and that’s all we know about the object. So there’s no way to know which of the colors the true one is.

Attempt 2: Or, could we introduce a second object? Then at least the colors on the object would not contradict. But then we have another problem.

Where is it wrong?
Attempt 1: Logic tells us that we need to use only the given data. Through using specific rules, together with these data, we arrive at a logical conclusion. If however two statements – or premises as they are called – say something is true and something is also not true, then we have a problem. Aristotle says: “Contradicting premises cannot both be true at the same time.” So we haven’t got a clue as to which color we can exclude.

Attempt 2: We would make 2 mistakes:
1. Having added new data, we would not have used solely the given data.
2. The rule for a logical proof is that it has a certain form. The premises are part of the form, and they have a subject and a predicate – both called terms – that connect to each other in a certain way. And the terms of the conclusion connect back to the terms of the premises.

So then, instead of having it repaired to avoid the contradiction, we would have created 2 unconnected statements, from which we can’t ever draw a conclusion, because they don’t form a coherent argument. Having only one premise, we can’t prove a thing.

What is the solution?
What’s left? The only thing we can determine is that we can’t conclude anything that is logical, because there’s no logic in this statement to begin with.

Actually, it’s even worse.
A logical rule states that from a contradiction we can conclude anything. To understand this fully, we need to be trained in propositional logic.

Not only can we not exclude any of the given data in this statement, but the logic also adds to this, that since no exclusions can be made, any conclusion is possible. When the number of ‘solutions’ is limitless, we say nothing (distinguishable).


(22) Miscommunication: contradictory premises

Sun. 3-3-2013
Try to solve this one
If an object is all black and all white at the same time, what color is it?

What does it say exactly?
If an object is all black
and at the same time this object is all white
then its color is …

Asked of us is to conclude something from facts that contradict each other.

What not to do?
When something contradicts, don’t hope or believe or wish it might be possible to somehow make it work; don’t even think about trying it.
Also: don’t panic, or give up.

A belief is subjective; it is based on a person’s perspective or emotions. It is not supported by evidence, or verifiable.
Facts on the other hand, have actually happened; they are provable by experience or experiment.
When facts contradict, they will never work together, neither in our universe, nor in another universe. The only possibility is that either the one color or the other is true (or real). But how are we to know which one?

Tomorrow I’ll elaborate on the solution.

(19) Fallacies

Thu. 28-2-2013
Since the logic in reasoning is usually treated with even less respect than the data, we can expect many mistakes.
What fallacy categories are there? The formal and informal fallacies have several or even many types of mistakes.
• Formal fallacies are mistakes made in the logic, but not in the data.
• Informal linguistic fallacies can e.g. shift the meaning (accent).
• Informal fallacies of relevance are mistakes in logic and data that stem from a faulty (psychological) angle and are frequently used as a means of deliberate manipulation.

The fallacies of relevance have 3 subcategories:
– Omission: e.g. data are omitted (bogus dilemma)
– Presumption: e.g. data are not considered (apriorism) – hoping the listener will not check these.
– Intrusion: e.g. an emotion is evoked, where instead should be reasoned (emotional appeal).
The fallacies of relevance are used as a diversionary tactic, just to put the listener on the wrong track.

Being familiar with these types of fallacies, we can recognize them in arguments.  Understanding fallacies greatly enhances our communication skills, and it can prevent us from making these mistakes ourselves – with unintended negative consequences.

Since we ‘smell the rat’ in intended manipulative reasoning, their influence will be greatly diminished. When we contradict the fallacy – not afraid to ignore the manipulators’ intention – we have completely freed ourselves from this manipulation. As a positive side-effect, the manipulator might ‘flee’ – afraid of repeated exposure.

If we want to reason upright, we need to develop our logical reasoning, and examine the logic that prevents from making formal fallacies.

While I am walking and exercising the dogs, while I limit their annoying behavior, I see them already growing into happier dogs.

(18) How do we prevent miscommunication?

Wed. 27-2-2013
We need to evaluate the interpretation of the communication. This happens in three main steps.

1. We separate the logic from the data in the communication. Does this result in a logical form?
If yes, then we deduce its logical meaning or meanings. These are the logical implications of the communication.

2. Then the question is: How do we check the linguistic statement’s data?  We are looking to prove that the data are not-wrong.

3. Now we can safely conclude that we understand the meaning of the linguistic statement fully – it is proven valid – and we can build on its data with confidence. Such a statement is called sound.

Updates on my goals
The last hour up earlier. I have moved the start of my day up to 9AM.

Summary – How do we prevent miscommunication?

1. What is the logical form and thus what are its implications?
2. We prove the linguistic statement’s data to be not-wrong
3. If the statement can be reduced to a logical form, a meaning, and its data proved to be not-wrong, then we can conclude the linguistic statement is sound.

(15) On logic

Sun. 24-2-2013
What logic aims at
We want to understand arguments – sentence for sentence. An excellent tool to check that is 2-valued logic.
Why? Our brains work with 2 values as well, so logic is a representation of how our brains work and thus how understanding works.
What do we do to understand something? (Understand literally means “put together,” or “separate,” or “take, grasp”) We check: can the information be verified, or falsified? We do this, because we want to build further on the information that is presented to us. Therefore, if we can’t depend on the information – we don’t know that it will work as predicted – then we can’t build on this knowledge.

What are the advantages of logic?
What the method of logic does is make us understand on the deepest possible level what is said or stated. Through analyzing the information with the logical methodology, we fully understand all the implications of the stated, and we can’t misinterpret. So we don’t have problems in communication.

How – the steps
1. translate the linguistic sentence into a logical form
2. analyze the logical implications
3. add the statement’s data to the logical form
4. deduce what to exclude
5. from the combined logic -> data -> context further eliminate on possible interpretations
6. when still more than one interpretation is possible, ask or search till only one possibility remains.

Update on my goals
I do my early morning writing and jumping skipping rope daily. I like doing those and it gives me some structure. I haven’t written new stuff, but cleaned up what I had already. It takes some more time and thinking about how to practically implement these new habits of monitoring time and sticking to my goals. Today I noted just with pen and paper the times I spent and on what. This way it seems quicker than starting the computer, have it run all day and for every new task walk towards it to type it in.

Another thing: I thought it’d be a change for the reader as well as the writer, to talk about logic.