The Fallacy of Logic
There are several impossible, yet worthwhile, tasks. I am about to embark on one of them. I will attempt to condense down the most important lesson I’ve learned over several years of philosophical study, into one blogpost. Ready? No? Good.
If aliens were to descend tomorrow out of literally nowhere, and I mean nowhere, with no culture of their own, no conceptual symbolic language (although they have the capacity for such), no history, they just voiped out of the nothing and dropped to this planet all confused, and they began to learn our language, customs etc.; I know of one stage of understanding that they would go through provided they had a broad enough view of all human cultures and beliefs. At some point, they would understand “logical” to mean that the person who speaks of their own worldview as logical, simply agrees with and understands that worldview. Moreover, they will understand that “illogical” is simply a slander that one group or individual will use to brand other people who hold any differing worldview. Because that is how we use it these days.
From philosophy ancient and contemporary, I have dug into topics as deep, mind-numbing, and latin (or greek/ german) as epistemology, linguistics, ethics, metaphysics, and ontology? Unlike most philosophers (exceptions can be made for my fellow crazy brethren like Nietzsche, and Camus) I did not start by asking the silly question how ‘can’ we know? or how ‘should’ we come to know? or ‘ideally’ how ‘should’ language work? or how ‘should’ we act in order to act morally? I stripped out the valuatives ‘should, ideally, etc.’ and went for the nuts and bolts. Why and how do people decide they ‘know’ something? How does language and other communication actually get information, ideas, concepts, and emotions from one consciousness to another? How do moral systems come into existence and function in our lives?
Asking the deep philosophical questions in these ways I’ve been able to find insights that were way deeper than my original personal worldview. It was like I could finally understand the structure underneath all of our lives and why things are disorderly, as they seem to be. I could understand why groups appear that are utterly irreconcilable, each with their own merit, who both exist in this world. Everything i’ve learned centers around this one crucial idea. Logic organizes information and keeps it consistent, it does not prove or disprove any concept in isolation. It never can and never will. Logic is “if/than”. And the rules of logic are not set in stone, they vary in some aspects from one person to another.
Don’t believe me? Good. Because it is absolutely vital that you deny and disagree if we are to keep society going. But if you would like to peek into the beautiful abyss with me, consider this journey. Think of anything you ‘know’ to be true. Think of how you came to affirm this knowledge, look at the structure under that thing you know to be true. You will likely find some various bits of previous ‘knowledge’ cobbled together with some logic glue to hold it all together, supporting the thing you knew to be true. Now that you have shifted your view down, pick another piece of knowledge that was supporting that first thing you knew and repeat, ask yourself “how do I know that?”. Rinse and repeat till you either have gone in a complete circle (in which case you have a circular logic issue, which good luck to you, or you need to start elsewhere), or you arrive at the ground floor of your paradigm, and you don’t really know the answer to the question “how do I know this?”. I’ll wait for you to get to this point before you read on.
You have probably arrived at one of your base assumptions. These are so esoteric in nature, identifying them or understanding them is difficult because people rarely think about them often. Some of them include things like “perfection doesn’t change” or “time is linear” or “I’m alive” or “I can trust my senses/ intuitions/ rationale” or “the universe is composed of matter/ is finite/ started at some point” or even “I like happiness”. Now that you have one of these base assumptions (should you even get this far) I am going to ask you to wreck your brain. Take that base assumption, (remember this is something that you don’t know how to justify, you don’t know how you came to know this base assumption, which is why it is an assumption) and think of an alternative to it. What if “perfection isn’t static” “the universe is infinite” “there is more than just this universe.” Do you have any way of readily proving or disproving either your base assumption or its opposite?
The answer to that question may itself be an assumption. If you’ve successfully made it this far, you hopefully just realized that your knowledge has heavy limits on it. Think, what if you grew up with that one base assumption changed? What if you had other base assumptions changed? These assumptions act as the foundation of everything you have come to “know” in this life. How would the rest of your knowledge be affected? Is it implausible that we don’t all grow up with identical assumptions? If it is true that we have different base assumptions, there would be lots of different people with lots of different worldviews, and everyone would consider their own, logical and understandable (to a degree).
But one of you may still say, “But someone elses beliefs are inconsistent in and of themselves. Therefore they are illogical” Are you sure? What objective source did your rules of logic come from? Or, aren’t they base assumptions too? What may seem logical to one, may not seem logical to another because the basic rules are different for each person. For example, one person may say that if this book is true, then the person who created it was awesome, and to them, this is logical. While another person will disagree and say that such a connection cannot be drawn.
Does this mean you should abandon what you ‘know’? Absolutely not! Does it mean you should stop defending your ideas? Heavens no! But does it mean you should exercise a bit of intellectual humility when deeming those who disagree with you as ignorant scum of the earth. Probably, but that is just the way I view things. How do I know that these things are true? I don’t, but I believe they are, cause that is where my base assumptions have led me. It makes sense to me.
And I haven’t even gotten to the topic of when base assumptions change. Which they do sometimes. But that is a story for another day, and another several years of philosophical inquiry.
If you’ve made it this far… I let you go now, flee back to the top floors of your paradigm, Flee to safety, away from the precipice of oblivion. If you ever want to return though. I’ll be here, sightseeing at the edge of the abyss.
Now to the good part of this long winded post. In my first post I mentioned that there will probably (statistically speaking) be 20 people who are unlucky enough to come across this blog. Fascinatingly 10% of this number has already shown up (in a manner of speaking). Two people, a man and a woman, have decided to ‘follow’ my blog (for whatever that is worth these days. In all likelihood these followers may never see my blog again, and if they do, I’m willing to bet 85 cents they don’t read this post all the way to this point.) So I have taken the luxury of having a small audience to check up on these two followers… Here are my reactions.
The man will most likely not be back around here. I say this with an acceptable level of risk on my part, because if he ever does come back here, he is likely to bring a whole hoard of the 4 (ignorant trolls who call me stupid, whatever). You see, the blog of his which I viewed was set up with one purpose in mind, to sell a skeezy MLM, the name of which I refuse to even type lest I show up on the google searches for it. This is why he will bring a hoard of idiots down on my comments section should he read this. The ’employees’ (read dupes) of his organization are fiercely loyal to the program to the point of spamming every social platform available (to the point of getting banned). Luckily, he probably just surfs around the internet subscribing to every small semi active blog that he comes across because it is a “good way to get your name out there.”
Even if he comes with his stinking horde of trolls, it will all be in vain, I will happily let them waste their breath and time trying to convert the unconvertable. I currently live in a state that is well known for birthing atrocious MLM’s pushing pseudo-scientific, naturopathic, overpriced, lotions, creams, and formulas. I know how to smell a scam (and an economic blight) from miles away. So… Is he of the 4 or the 15… I’m not sure he qualifies as either, as he likely isn’t really here to read anyway. (speaking of reading, on his about me page, he talks about self improvement books that he reads, titles of which include Think and Grow Rich [read How to obsess about money] How to Win Friends and Influence People [read how to be a con artist] and Happy Pocket Full of Money [read Rich People are Dicks] Seriously, you call these self improvement books? Pick up a book on Philosophy some time, then you will learn to start thinking for yourself, and realizing how that MLM impacts the economy around you.)
The Woman, is a cute libertarian girl who has spent some time in the armed services. She is probably one of the 15, but then again, if she is actually reading this ungodly length post, she may turn into one of the 4, because of what I’m about to write. I’ve listened to lots of libertarian media recently. Frankly, I’m not impressed. Quite the contrary I’m actually as pissed with the libertarians as I am with the two major United States political parties that are boning this country from both ends. Frankly, the doctrines and the principles that the libertarians preach are interesting, but if all of them were fully realized (zero government, wild west, free market etc…) I would be more disadvantaged in their utopia than I already am in this broken system.
It is bad enough that I am universally disadvantaged in current society by the fact that I am a short, dysgraphic, introverted individual; I don’t really want to live in the society where I can tack on, “can’t shoot a firearm accurately” to that list. And as far as “groups praising their own paradigm as the uber-logical above all other” is concerned, libertarians are the worst in my opinion. Bar none that I’ve ever listened to. But if she is willing to read to this point, and not get angry, then I have to hand it to her, she’s unlike most people I meet in my wandering.
Till next time.