Archive | March, 2013

Aristotle, Wittgenstein, and Acid Me

31 Mar

Off to a Conclusion: How you get there. (Part One)

Why does Aristotelean Logic rely so heavily on words and words alone?

The best way of understanding this is to answer another question.

What do Aristotle and the Bible have in common?

Jews. It is pretty obvious from any study of the subject that Aristotle and the Jews influenced each other both during his lifetime and afterwards.

The Jews weren’t particularly liked in Aristotle’s Greece. They had strict sexual standards and nudity standards and were not as hedonistic in other ways. It no doubt seemed weird to Greeks that the Jews were required to drink wine during certain religious ceremonies but were forbidden to get drunk at the local bar afterwords.

Notwithstanding some of the youths saw fit to drag the foreskin of their circumcised penises forward so as to make them look more like the uncircumcised Greeks. Not as much foreskin was taken off at that time so it could be done. But still the most popular sport, wrestling, was done in the nude and any circumcised Jew who participated stuck out like a…Well… Sore penis. It was then decided to take more skin off in the future so this partial visual denial of Jewishness could no longer be done.

Nonetheless Aristobulus maintained that Jewish revelation and Aristotelian philosophy were the same.

There is even a rumor, maybe two, that Aristotle was a Jew.

There have been suggestions Aristotle must have read the Bible because his two books on Ethics share so much with it. That could not have quite happened, the Bible had not been written yet. At least not in its present form. Some parts of the Bible were written down well over 3,000 years ago.

Some people are really stumped by this.

People in our culture have become so disconnected from our past that many find it difficult to picture Jesus teaching the Lord’s Prayer without a teleprompter in front of him.

The most likely scenario: Aristotle was an intelligent, educated man. He no doubt talked with other intelligent, educated men. A Rabbi is, by definition, an intelligent, educated person. Not in the sense most people today think — There is no college degree for the job. A Rabbi is someone who knows and understands Jewish law well enough to teach it and instruct others in it. He can resolve disputes regarding halakhah. No doubt he talked with them and they talked with him.

Then too there is the blasphemic suggestion that perhaps Aristotle influenced the writing of the Bible. Or at least parts of it. The New Testament, anyway.

You cannot hear, or read, Genesis without being effected by the reiteration: God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God said let there be this and there was this and God said let there be that and there was that.

For six days God was a chatterbox talking up all kinds of things out of the void with his words alone. He created all this amazing stuff and then he made man and gave it all to him. Uhhhhh. Then he made man and woman.

Oooops. Where did they come from?

That is in Genesis Chapter one 26, 27, and 28. It was the sixth day.

I’m told her name was Lilith and she is not to be spoken of.

Who was he?

Where did he go?

I don’t even know of a good myth.

Well, maybe they went off together and founded the land of Nod.

On the seventh day he rested.

On the eighth day in Genesis, Chapter two 5 there was not a man to till the ground. And then in 7 — God made man.

Then He made the Garden of Eden and put man there as caretaker.

Then, confusing to me as a child and as an adult:

Genesis two 18: And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

So I expected him to create Eve right then and there.

Hell no.

Genesis two 19: And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

20: And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

( I refuse to comment on THAT one. I’m only glad the first time I read it I did NOT have a mouth full of coffee. It is one of the funniest lines in the Bible.)

It wasn’t until Genesis two 21 He created Eve.

Chapter three is interesting and has its own conundrums but what I’m pointing out is contained in chapters one and two.

You cannot read these two first chapters of Genesis without noticing the importance of WORDS. God spoke and it was. Adam NAMED every living creature.

I think of this as a story relating the development of language and the awe it engendered in humanity.

The development of language was a powerful tool. Almost magic, no doubt.

Although Aristotelean Logic had its uses in its day it carried over this worship of words as real things that had power and authority into the fabric of the “reason” he developed. Everything in Aristotelean Logic hinges on words and the definitions of words.

The interesting thing is the Jews, at least those I have known, aren’t all that hung up on things like that. They are more interested in keeping the commandments of God than whether every word in the Torah or the Bible or any other work should be taken literally or not.

But the Christians?

Wow. They took it further. Way further.

John 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

– King James Bible

Caesar crowned himself and declared he was a god.

John crowned the word and told it “You are The God.”

Veneration of the Word by Christians and Logicians became almost manic.

It wasn’t until Wittgenstein this methodology was challenged: If you are not familiar with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein I suggest going to ProjectGutenberg.org.

2.1 We make to ourselves pictures of facts.

2.11 The picture presents the facts in logical space, the existence and non-existence of atomic facts.

2.12 The picture is a model of reality.

2.13 To the objects correspond in the picture the elements of the picture.

2.131 The elements of the picture stand, in the picture, for the objects.

2.14 The picture consists in the fact that its elements are combined with one another in a definite way.

2.141 The picture is a fact.

2.15 That the elements of the picture are combined with one another in a definite way, represents that the things are so combined with one another.

Wittgenstein showed us the way.

All I am doing is following along behind.

I was recently told I sound like Wittgenstein on acid.

I think I’ll have a T-Shirt made.

 

© 2013 All rights reserved.

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Where Logic Fails

24 Mar

Okay, so the point came up “Where exactly does Logic fall short of providing good answers?”

Fair enough. I made a statement I’m asked to support it. I will do so with a simple example.

Six family members are headed out of town for a weekend of fun on the beach when someone announces “The coffee pot is still on. It never got shut off.”

Now in some families this would be no big deal. The driver might simply turn around and head back home. Or someone, hopefully not the driver, would take out their cell phone and call a trusted friend or family to go in and turn the offending coffee pot off. Or they might decide to hell with it, let the old place burn to the ground, we have insurance.

For some families the exact opposite happens. I knew one where this situation would launch them all into a full fledged screaming match for an hour or more determining which one was the incompetent idiot who was to blame.

If it were decided the person who made the coffee in the first place should have turned it off then everyone would make a point in the future of trying to get someone else to make the coffee. If it were decided that the last one out the door were the one to blame then everyone would make a point in the future to make sure someone else would be the first one out the door — Never themself.

A logical persons approach to this situation would be to first discard all non-logical arguments. Then they would canvass for, or even suggest solutions. But the minute they started canvassing for solutions, or even suggesting solutions, they would no longer be operating on a strictly logical basis. They have now entered into the creative process.

A Map Thinker™ would go straight to the heart of the situation.

This is where we are.

Then they would ask “How did we get here?”

We got here because everyone got sidetracked and ran out the door without thinking about the coffee pot. While one or more people may have been better positioned to remember the coffee pot than some of the others the fact is they all forgot to turn off the pot.

To refuse to shoulder their own part in the problem, and to attempt to blame one single person for the situation is both illogical and Mapologically unsound. This refusal to accept any portion of the blame is something certain people do all the time — And it does not matter what type of reasoning you use the chances are it is a waste of your time and theirs trying to show them where they went wrong.

The next question is the future.

How likely is it this could happen again in the future?

Probably good.

How do you keep people from getting excited and sidetracked during while heading out the door for a weekend vacation? When all they want to think about is what they are going to do on the beach.

One way to prevent it happening again would be to assign one person to coffee-pot-final-check-before-going-out-the-door duty.

But that person could be sick,

or doing something else,

or simply forget again.

So the best way to solve the potential future problem is to develop a final checklist everyone goes over before heading out the door on vacation.

So a Map Thinker™ would not even concern themself with whether or not any given argument was valid or not valid or logical or illogical.

They would go straight to the creative process by looking at the past that got them into the mess.  Looking at the potential future and estimating each possible result. Then attempting to come up with a way to alter the outcome.

While it is quite possible for a person using Logic to arrive at the same solution I prefer the Map Solution Method™.

It is interesting to me that when deciding where to go for dinner or vacation logical people will suggest that you write all the pros in one column of a piece of paper and all the cons on the other so you can weigh their respective merits.

In other words a person who claims to solve problems using Logic has just told you to draw up a map and evaluate it.

Which is exactly what any Map Thinker™ would do.

Yet one more thing Logic cannot find a solution for is excellently presented by metonymy4u in “The Critique of Free Reason”. I’m sure there is a better way to link to their site than what I just did but I’m new to this.

Hopefully this link will work: http://metonymy4u.com/2013/03/24/the-critique-of-free-reason/

Can Map Thinking™ present a solution?

Yes. Map Thinking™ insists that the thinker use the simple technique of estimating the results of any solution and then choosing that which produces the desired result.

What result do you choose?

© 2013 All rights reserved.

Map Thinking™ Vs. Logic

24 Mar

What is the difference between Map Thinking™ and Logic?

This little essay will help you build a map of the difference.

Logic seeks Truth .

Map Thinking™ seeks to understand relationships.

Logic concentrates on words and definitions of words in order to narrow the argument and keep to the subject.

Map Thinking™ concentrates on the linguistic implications of words in order to broaden the subject to where comprehension is achieved.

Logic is designed to produce answers.

Map Thinking™ is designed to produce questions.

A Logical Thinker places the greatest value on the answer that produces the greatest truth.

A Map Thinker™ places the greatest value on the usefulness or potential usefulness of concept, whether it be question, answer, or hypothesis.

Logic follows in the footsteps of Aristotle, Plato, and DesCartes. Logicians look for Answers.

Map Thinking™ follows in the footsteps of Socrates. Mapticians™ look for The 2 Q’s: Questions and Quests™

Let us take a minute out for a Map Legend™ — Or, if you will, a discussion of terms.

Map Thinking™ is what a Maptician™ does.

Mapology™ is the study of Map Thinking™.

A Mapologist™ is one who studies Mapology™.

The 2 Q’s: Questions and Quests™ may need a little more explanation.

In school we are taught that questions have answers. Those answers are written in the back of the book. He who has the “Right Answer” is the smartest in class and “Gets and A+”. This is Logical.

A Maptician™ like a good scientist, or a(n) historian, or a mathematician, considers questions that have easily findable answers to be simple, if not boring, questions. If you can find the answer using Google, Yahoo, or DuckDuckgo, the answer may be useful, but it is not really interesting.

A truly interesting Question starts a Quest.

People often believe that Einstein answered a lot of questions that Newton did not address.

He didn’t.

What he did was set up a theory that set of a plethora, or spate if you will, of questions that needed to be answered.

In other words he asked a HUGE question about the nature of the universe “What if we were wrong and this Theory of Relativity is right?”. Look how well, and differently Reality would fit together.

This question set scientists off on an enormous and difficult quest to prove or disprove his assertions.

Like many a gamer, Einstein asked the Question that started the Quest that, once solved, allowed Science to level up.

And move on to the next great question: Can Quantum Physics and The Theory of Relativity co-exist in the same universe?

Now that we have an insert, a legend, that gives us a general Map of The 2 Q’s™ let us get back to the main Map, or essay, if you wish. The difference between Logic and Mapology™.

Logicians only admit of one possible view. A Logician only recognizes that argument that is objectively, provably, unarguably, true. Once this truth is established no other Point of View is allowed.

Mapticians™ look at every possible Point of View of which they are aware. This helps them to achieve understanding of the relationships involved. They then attempt to determine, by search or by guess, what the effect of each POV might be. They eliminate those which are destructive to their goal. They eliminate those that are useless. They sort through those that are left and choose the one, one’s, or combination, that suit the Maptician’s™ purpose.

The Maptician™ philosophically accepts the scientific principle that the observer, by their very existence, effects whatever is being observed.

This is not a new idea.

A philosopher named Epictetus who died only 135 years after Christ worte, “People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of things.”

People like Eckhart Tolle and Maxwell Maltz take this simple observation and create self help systems based on the concept, “You can control your life, your happiness, etc, by taking control of how you view events in your life.”

And they are right.

But a Maptician™ takes this observation and carries it a step further.

A Maptician™ realizes that in order to fully understand any event they must also understand the POV’s of those who both observe and are effected by the event.

This is often best achieved by looking at the stories of those involved.

Logic isolates an event or a thought and deals only with what has been isolated.

Mapology™ insists that what came before, and what happened or is likely to happen after, is just as important to understanding the event as the event itself.

Plato believed we only see the shadows of real things.

A Maptician™ does not see things or their shadows. A Maptician™ sees the interrelationships between things and the intrarelationships of things.

Thus logically either a rose is a rose or it is not a rose. If it is a rose then it is either a red rose or it is not a red rose. If we move to Bertrand Russell style Logic then either a thing belongs to the class of things we call roses or it belongs to another class of things we call something else.

A Maptician™ sees the interrelationship of the rose to the soil and the sunlight and the bee. Further the Maptician™ recognizes the differing points of view of the bee, the gardener, and the dog peeing on the rosebush.

The Maptician™ further sees the intrarelationships that cause the rose to extract nutrients from the soil and sunlight, and allows it to produce red flowers and green leaves.

And while the Maptician™ recognizes that the rose has features that distinguish it in the human mind from other plants it still has many more things in common with other plants than it has things that differ.

This pretty much lines up the differences between Logic and Mapology™.

(c) 2013 all rights reserved.

Introduction

23 Mar

Hello, I am the Map Thinker™.

If you like to think this is the place for you.

If you like to think effectively, creatively, and quickly, this is the place for you.

If you suspect Logic may not be the best way to think — Then this IS the place for you.

There are better ways to reason than using Logic. In fact Logic has only a limited use. To make the situation worse many people who claim to be “Logical” have only a limited grasp of what Logic really is.

Here we will explore simple, effective, naturally human, ways to reason. We will explore those ways your mind was designed to reason naturally.

And we will explore how to deal with those people who try to demean your lines of reasoning by proclaiming, “That’s not logical!”

Have you ever had someone tell you that and you knew you were right and they were wrong? But you didn’t know how to reply to them? Have you ever felt frustrated when someone took your argument apart using so-called “logic”? And all the while you knew they the ones being unreasonable — But you didn’t know how to answer their “logical” arguments?

Then this is the place for you.

Here you will learn how to think Illogically with pride — And how to defuse arguments from people who think they are logical but in reality are not.

I hope you are going to enjoy reading these blogs as much as I am going to enjoy writing them.

My intention is to blog at least once a week. More often if I have time.

In the mean time remember: Thinking is fun. Take your mind out to the park every day and let it play.

(C) 2013 all rights reserved.

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