LEARNING HOW TO THINK LOGICALLY
Basic learning follows a methodical progression founded upon fundamental building blocks. It is a step-by-step advancement in understanding of what is perceived through our senses, a reasoning process to interpret what it is we that we perceive (to draw accurate conclusion), and then drawing a conclusion based on this cognitive process.
Understanding basic logic will enhance an individual’s ability to use their mental capabilities to their fullest extent. Any tool is of best service when it user has familiarized themselves with it. And, the most proficient journeyman are those who master a tools usage. The mind is a tool. To optimize its usage, we must understand how it operates in term of processes.
I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to receive formal education in the subjects considered in this section. I think to be able to tutor in any discipline would necessitate that the person tutoring would have to have at the very minimum competency in that discipline.
As a student, I received tutoring at times in subjects that I had some difficulty in grasping a particular concept.
And there were times when l made supplemental income for myself by tutoring others in subjects that I was competent in; situations in which some other person had the difficulty understanding a particular concept.
As a student being tutored, I came by experience to appreciate the helpful role of my tutor. The tutor is a guide. He or she is not the Instructor. They teach the disciplines that they have been taught by someone else of greater knowledge and understanding. Most tutors understand the ‘relativity’ of their role.
A good tutor will teach in a way that will help a student become more proficient in areas that will enable the student to get a mental grasp on the discipline the student is being taught in the classroom.
That means that the tutor’s effectiveness is to be measured by their own accurate understanding of a subject and their ability to be able to convey that knowledge and understanding as the Instructor would have it taught.
The topic material presented in this Section will delve into two subjects that are at their cores highly complex. While the term ‘logic’ is used routinely in daily conversation without much thought, most have no understanding nor knowledge about the methodological logic-process required to come to logical conclusions.
I was introduced to the subject of ‘Logic” about 40 years ago as an electrical engineering student.
The subject was a course requirement necessary to the field of digital electronics. Understanding basic logic is necessary in the fields of microprocessor based technology.
While taking the course, I was made aware of a man by the name of ‘George Boole‘. Boole conceptualized a math model that copied the logic process of the human brain. Boole’s math is known as ‘Boolean Algebra‘ and that model gave man the ability to create what is called ‘Artificial Intelligence‘.
Your digital devices work because they are programmed to follow a logic instruction/code. They don’t work when they: don’t receive a correct logic command or, can’t process the source information or, they don’t work because of ‘Operator Error’.
If one can see the value of logic in the reliability of your digital devices, it should not be difficult to appreciate logics value overall in life.
I also received a university education in Human Psychology. My study focus was on Abnormal Psychology and Axis II mental disorders.
Much the course material dealt with dysfunction of the thinking/cognitive processes.
There are of course, physiological reasons why an individual may not have full use of their cognitive processes. But for many other, the breakdown is fixable with application of the right regiment and one’s own due diligence.
This becomes a matter re-educating yourself by unlearning bad ‘thinking habits’ and then, adopting different habits of thought based on a logical progression that will result accurate understanding and subsequent decision-making.
The technological information presented regarding logic devices, as well as information concerning brain function are not my personal thoughts or opinions. The sources of research and other reference materials will be cited within the Unit discussions.
It is my hope, that you will carefully consider how logic and logical thinking effect you or how they can effect your life in the future. As with anything endeavor that is worthwhile, changing one’s way of thinking also requires determination and individual due diligence.
Basic learning follows a logical progression founded upon fundamental building blocks.
It is a step-by-step advancement in understanding of what is perceived through our senses, a reasoning process to interpret what it is we that we perceive (to draw accurate conclusion), and then drawing a conclusion based on this cognitive process.
Sharpening one’s perceptive skills will enhance an individual’s ability to use their mental capabilities to their fullest extent.
Any tool is of best service when it user has familiarized themselves with it. The most proficient of journeyman are those who master it’s usage. To optimize its usage, we must understand how it operates in term of processes.
WHAT IS LOGIC?
“Logic” may be defined as the ‘science’ of reasoning.
However, not quite like experimental or observational science like physics, biology, or psychology. Rather, ‘logic’ is a non-empirical science like mathematics. Also, in saying that logic is the science of reasoning, we do not mean that it is concerned with the actual mental (or physical) process employed by a thinking being when it is reasoning.
The investigation of the actual reasoning process falls more appropriately within the province of psychology, neurophysiology, or cybernetics.”
Despite the necessity to be able to think logically, you will find that in public education especially, children are sent into the academic educational program without having any prior training on how to learn/reason or how to approach learning. They simply start receiving information without any guidance on what to do with the information they are being bombarded with. There is no one teaching them how to sort it all out, or to keep it in order, or how to prioritize the importance of the information, etc.
I had one of my instructors state the situation in this way, “It’s like throwing a plate of spaghetti at a wall. Some will stick. But most of it simply slides off”.
Ethical and moral guidance at an early stage of development is also missing. Without such guidance, how can it be expected that a person will use what they have learned appropriately?
Just for thought consider:
A hammer is a tool created to pound and claw out nails, to pound a chisel, or other various related chores. A person can become an excellent handler of a hammer with a good working knowledge of how to use it.
A hammer can also be used for purposes that it was not created for.
It can be used as a deadly weapon. That’s not its intended use; but it can be used for purposes other than its intended use. In this instance as well, a person can become extremely proficient in it use with a good working knowledge, but not for an ethical purpose.
The point is this: We give our children knowledge that can be used either appropriately or inappropriately, without any ethical guidance in combination with it.
So for examples: Young Sarah learns math and uses this knowledge trying to figure out astrological signs by numerology. Or, young James learns chemistry and now serves drugs on the playground with the knowledge he has acquired.
The knowledge certainly isn’t bad is it? It would be the usage of the knowledge in these cases that would be wrong. Yet, without early exposure to some moral guidance to teach boundaries, these outcomes and others are likely to occur.
Morality too, is based on logic and reason.
Does God want us to use reason/logic? Yes.
Romans 12:1, “Therefore I exhort you brothers and sister, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God .” NET
In Holy Scriptures, we are encouraged to have your, “perceptive powers of reason trained to distinguish right from wrong”.
Hebrews 5:14, “But solid food is for mature people, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.” NET
Does God want our reasoning ability to grow? Yes.
1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things”. ASV
And Holy Scripture tells us that God is ready and willing to reason with humans.
Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, ” says the Lord……”
Reasoning ability is synonymous with logical thought. It requires logical thought to understand the will of God.
Critical thinking is necessary in daily life
Many problems we encounter require critical thinking in order to evaluate them correctly and come to a correct conclusion.
Some jobs are almost all entirely a matter of problem-solving. And many interviews for such positions inquire into the interviewees ability to solve problems. They do this to measure performance potential.
Such questions produce metrics that measure:
1. Analytical Thinking- logical thinking,
2. Resourcefulness- adaptability,
3. Creativity- originality and ability to go beyond the traditional,
4. Determination- persistence, and
5. Orientation to Produce Results- focused on outcomes.
Keys to logically solving a problem are
1. Evaluating the problem
2. Managing the problem
4. Resolving the problem
5. Examining the result for validity
Problem solving is integral to human life. We problem-solve in all aspects of our lives everyday. We problem-solve academically; we problem-solve at work; and we in our day-to-day lives; and we problem-solve when reasoning to understand the word of God and its accurate meaning.
So the development of good reasoning capability is directly correlated to the measure of success a person is likely to have in achieving a complete, accurate perception of any reality.
You may have heard the term, ‘Analytical Approach’. An analytical approach to problem solving is by definition a “logical and methodical approach”.
To approach a situation in a ‘methodical’ manner is defined in the dictionary as:
performed, disposed, or acting in a systematic way; systematic; orderly:
a methodical person.
painstaking, especially slow and careful; deliberate.
Two things should be noted in the definition. The first is that a logical approach to problem-solving should be systematic and orderly. There should be a methodical progression through that process.
Second, the analytical problem-solving should be conducted slowly and carefully. Thought progression should be painstaking and careful. This precludes rushing to judgment.
It makes sense to begin to share what we have to offer with basic concepts of logical thinking. We believe that in order to use your cognitive abilities, it is necessary to understood how they work individually and in conjunction with one another.
That, then it will be possible to use them to construct accurate mental constructs/models of the realities we are presented with. These tools are for practical use in day-to-day life.
As with any tool, with more use, the better you will become at using it. And as all patterns of behavior become ingrained over time, these patterns of thought will likewise become ingrained in your psyche and will no longer be difficult to employ.
The first section will present information that has come to understanding about the basic thought process.
Many know that what has been dubbed “artificial intelligence” mimics the human brain by mimicking the mathematical processes performed in the human brain.
There is a mathematically correct progression to a logical conclusion.
George Boole, mentioned earlier, was a mathematician and philosopher who over 150 years ago developed a mathematical construct based on what he gleaned in understanding of the reasoning process.
It was the theoretical work of George Boole that prepared the foundation which usher in today’s computer era. His model demonstrates a mathematical progression to reasoning.
We will examine some of the correlations between Boole’s models and the human logical thought process.
Absent any physiological abnormality in mental capability, we are born with the ability to reason; but we must learn how to use this ability.
A child in early infancy uses reason and logic to understand the new world that they have just entered.
They examine patterns all around them and then begin to piece them together so that they make sense. They learn how to function, learn language, etc.
They ask question after question to get to a complete understanding.
Unfortunately, they ceased to when they are not nurtured to learn. Annoyed parents silence their children’s questioning and after a while children quit asking “Why?” and start assuming they are getting correct understanding from unsubstantiated hearsay. They become thoughtless followers.
You can rekindle that thirst for accurate knowledge.
In life we make hundreds of individual decisions each day without giving them very much thought at all. Some decisions are inconsequential and others are not. Weighty decisions should be weighed carefully. There is a way of going about doing that.
God Almighty set a choice before the first man and his wife. They could obey God’s commandments and live or they could disobey His commandment and incur death.
When he formed the nation of ancient Israel, He placed before them a decision they would have to make, either “the blessing” or “the malediction”.
We have the same choice to make today. Shouldn’t such a crucially important decision be considered with the utmost of thought?
While the knowledge gained here will be a useful asset in day-to-day living, the second section will specifically delve into mental disciplines for obtaining the most benefit from Bible study.
In section 1, we will start with examining how we acquire information; Perception. The following unit (Unit 2) will consider how to process information we receive through our senses using ‘logic’. And last in Unit 3, we will examine some practical story-problems that will provide opportunity to put into practice what as been learned.
We hope this educational website will offer an outlet for any who wish to sharpen their cognitive abilities to perceive, comprehend, draw accurate conclusion, and go forth making correct decisions.
Learning How to Think Logically
A Study of the Role of Perception In Understanding
Logic is used to understand what has been perceived. To proceed ‘logically’, we must first get a firm grasp on how it is that we perceive. Without an awareness of what are our tools of perception, how they work individually, and how they work in combination; we would not be able to interpret the input information we receive from them.
The first Unit study will consider:
What is ‘Perception’?
Answer: The acquisition of information from some form of sensory input
Our means to perceive things include more than our five external senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. There are internal senses that give us sensations (sensory input) that shape our perception of what is going on inside our body where the five commonly thought of senses cannot give us input information about. Most of these internal senses are associated with the nervous system.
These senses can be employed either singularly or in combination with others senses, bringing to our attention the information we need to process in order to formulate an appropriate response to the stimuli we receive. These senses bring the necessary information we need to determine response and to problem solve. All understanding begins at the data acquisition stage.
The Data Acquisition Phase
Perception not only has to do with deciphering sensory input information; but also has to do with the overall output at the end of all of that deciphering. Clear perception based on reasonable and logical methods of interpreting that information will leave the person at the point of ‘OUTPUT’, having had weighed all key factors involved in the decision making process appropriately and examined the correlational effect the key factors have on one another. A person is able to see the effects of his decision on other people and other things. Having done so, they will have what is necessary to make the decision knowing both the advantages as well as the negative alternative cost resulting from a particular choice. After, follows response.
It would be wrong to consider all ‘problems’ to be synonymous with ‘trouble’. Many problems that need to be solved in daily life have nothing at all to do with some painful encounter or process. People solve problems in going about their work, or how to get to work, or what they should work for. A home gardener wants to rearrange her garden and has to figure out were she can best place her tomatoes to get the best sunlight. A child’s baseball bat has a crack in it and so he figures out a way to keep it together so that he can continue to play with it. All of these are examples of generally mundane and inconsequential problem solving encounters. Life is largely problem solving. And yet there are those problems that seem unsolvable or that remain unsolved that ultimately bring internal angst and do indeed create serious trouble.
It is said,”A picture is worth a thousand words”. Our senses set before us a mosaic full of information. Like a picture, the more you employ your faculties of sensory interpretation, the more apt you are to see a clearer picture of any reality. Perception is information gathering and once that input has been received, we can begin to examine it and designate it’s proper informational value(sifting for what is important or not, collating, prioritizing, etc). Simply, we can now begin to analyze the information.
Above is a representative flow chart showing the decision making process. What is absent is the key components that starts the progression through the logical thought process. One is the necessary valid input information to evaluate. The second is some reference standard by which to measure the accuracy of the what is under examination.
The keener your perception, the more reliable the input information is for the cognitive/thought process. So it seems quite clear that the more you employ your faculties of sensory interpretation, the more apt you are to see a clearer picture of any reality.
Perception can be defined as our recognition and interpretation of sensory information.
Perception also includes how we respond to the information. We can think of perception as a process where we take in sensory information from our environment and use that information in order to interact with our environment. Perception allows us to take the sensory information in and make it into something meaningful. There is a bidirectional effect here because the more we interpret correctly as a result of correct recognition, it reinforces the pattern of recognition making it more firm.
This is also true of the Holy Scriptures. Holy Scripture is a Book of patterns. They expose clearly God’s pattern and His pattern of conduct. It also discloses very clearly the pattern of his archenemy, the one called devil, and his pattern of ungodly conduct. It contains a pattern of interpretation whereby we can come to understand accurately the nature of God’s Divine Order. The only way to get a full understanding of the Bible is to grasp and understand the patterns it contains.
Being able to identify distinct patterns is a part of the perceptive process and is associated with memory, which will be considered later.
Let’s look at one example of a Biblical pattern that has been overlooked. Following is a brief article explaining an important pattern written in Holy Scripture that specifically answers the many questions about Jesus son of God, his role in God’s arrangement, and clearly disproves the trinitarian concept of Christ Jesus being a coequal sovereign with his Father, God Almighty. This Biblical pattern shows us that the ‘Godhead’ concept FAILS to fit the pattern we have been given because it does not agree with the only reference standard by which to measure the accuracy of the what is under examination, the Bible.
While reading, attempt to employ your powers of reason and your existing knowledge of the context of Holy Scripture.
The Divine Nature of the Son and his Role in God’s Arrangement
The Divine nature of our lord Jesus the Christ is no mystery.
We must remember that Jesus is the “begotten” Son of God Almighty; the One and Only.
What does begotten mean?
He was not ‘fashioned’ as the other creations (by external power). But taken of God Himself; if you will, of the “stuff of God” (like our children are of our “stuff” or body). He is of Divine nature and uniquely so.
What is important is what Holy Scripture says and the thoughts they are conveying.
The preponderance of Scripture clearly shows Christ Jesus is not part of some ‘Godhead’ relationship.
Concerning his pre-human existence, Philippians 2:6 states,
“Who existing in the form of God, counted not the being an equality with God a thing to be grasped”. American Standard Version”
”Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be possessed by force”. Complete Jewish Bible
Lord Jesus was hated and crucified, not for saying that he was God or a ‘god’. But rather that he was the “SON of God“. (See Matthew 4:6 as well as Luke 4:6 for examples)
Jesus Christ at no time referred to himself as “God” or a “god”.
At the time of Jesus’ baptism, Matthew 3:17 tells us,
“And behold a voice from Heaven said, ‘This is my beloved SON, with whom I am well pleased”. English Standard Version
Further, in the Book of Hebrews in chapter 1 and verse 5, this question is put forth:
“For to which one of the angels did God say, “You are my SON, today I have become your Father?” Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my SON”?
New International Version
One would have to do some mental and verbal gymnastics to explain away the obvious connotation of these Scriptures.
Those who have been indoctrinated with the trinity ‘Godhead’ teaching can’t accept that this teaching flies in the face of both Scripture and reason.
It should be clear from reading Colossians 1:5, what relationship Lord Jesus Christ has with his father Almighty God.
“The SON is the image of the invisible God, the FIRSTBORN over all creation”. NIV
The Father/Son relationship and the ‘God-Head’ model simply do not align.
To understand the Divine order in Heaven, we have been given a pattern. It was the Temple; it’s design, and the Temple order.
Hebrews 8:5New International Version (NIV)
5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
The model of those who promote and teach the ‘God-Head’ belief is not in harmony with what the Temple setup looked like.
The entrance was a single pathway that ended with the Most Holy compartment. The Most Holy was exclusively the residing place of God by his Spirit.
The resurrected Jesus Christ is the High Priest (in the order Melchizedek). He is the anointed King of God’s kingdom as well.
The High Priest officiates before God Almighty. His office is therefore beneath the Father as he serves according to God’s requirements.
He does not reside in the Most Holy; but rather, has the permission to enter it.
The pattern of temple is a serially (linearly) constructed arrangement with Almighty God alone at it’s head. It also show’s Lord Jesus’ position in the Divine order. Imagine what you already understand.
There is but One at it’s Superior position. It is an exclusive position not shared.
The God-Head belief and teaching do not agree with the pattern God gave us in order that we may understand what is established in Heaven.
Once again recall the words of Scripture:
Hebrews 8:5 New International Version (NIV)
5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
I am quoting the Holy Scriptures as I refer to the time when Lord Jesus Christ will have completely carried out his consecrated commission in his Father’s name, “Then he will subject himself to He who subjected all things unto to him”. In this way all creation that belongs to God will return unto God.”
He is the unique shoot of God who was predestined to be grafted into the rest of creation in order to purify and purge it from corruption.
The only begotten Son of God is unique in all facets of his existence and has been since his begetting.
He is unique like his Father to whom he is subordinate. And his roles as Firstborn and High Priest are exclusive, setting him apart from all other creations by God.
Accurate perception is necessary in order to recognize distinct details. It takes focus to recognize patterns. We focus on whatever details will answer the question or problem set before us. In the example above, the central question is: Is ‘Almighty God’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ the same person? Is God the Father and His son Jesus Christ co-equal Gods?
What led to false conclusions as to what the true meaning of John 1:1 is? It was and still is the failure to compare that singular scripture to the rest of the Bible’s contextual information about the nature, identity, and role of the Son of God.
So an examiner of the only source that has the answer, written Holy Scripture, will focus their powers of perception on information relevant to that question. They would not focus on say, the history of the nation of Israel while in Babylonian captivity. Not that is not an important Bible topic; but that it has no relevant value in answering THIS specific question.
Such a ‘parsing’ and ‘sorting’ process begins after one has the proper information/data to perform an analysis of what is in question. There is nothing more reliable than God’s written Word on the subject of Jesus Christ. It represents a ‘test rod’ by which we can compare all teachings regarding what true discipleship toward Christ consist of and what is a truly Godly spiritual life. It is the pure test rod to determine if one’s conduct measures up to God’s approval.
So,once again, after gathering information, a person needs an accurate standard to measure it by. We make this comparison based on immediate information we can retrieve; but we mainly make this comparison based on what we already know stored in our memories.
The next portion of this section focuses on memory‘s role in logical decision-making.
Memory and Perception
Memory plays a key role in perception. There must be ‘something’ to make a comparison with in order to identify what something must be. Memory serves this purpose as we measure what we perceive with what we have already come to know or understand.
Examine the chart below:
For example, let’s look at our perception of words. Each letter of the alphabet is in itself is a singular bit of information.
When we perceive words, we think of them as one singular unit that is made up of smaller parts called letters. It is through this organization of letters into words that we are able to make something meaningful. That is, we perceive an entire word, and this word has a specific meaning that can be found in the dictionary. The dictionary provides a standard and a point of reference. All of this mental activity relies heavily on memorization.
After letters and words have been committed to memory, then we are able to recognize them in usage and use them ourselves.
Perception is necessary for us to survive in our environment. For example, before parents feed their babies food cooked in a microwave oven, they taste it in order to make sure that the temperature isn’t too hot. This involves using sensory information (touch and taste) to make sure that the food is not dangerous for the infant.
Before we cross a busy street, we rely on our hearing and sight to make sure a car is not coming. Without the sensory information, we would not be able to judge which food was too hot or when an appropriate time to cross the street would be, which could put us, our children, and others in danger.
The following video offers a deeper consider of the effect memory has on learning.
Clearly memory is key to perception as it contains all of the reference ‘material’ we use as a standard to compare the reality that we presently are confronted with; as we attempt to compare that to what we already know to be true or real.
Perception forms the basis for what is known as ‘Cognition’. Cognition is a term referring to the Cognitive Processes (mental processes) involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension. These processes include thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem solving. These are higher-level functions of the brain and encompass language, imagination, perception, and planning. The study of the Cognitive Process in the human brain is a practicum of and in itself within the study of the human brain function.
These “higher level functions follow a process that has a logical, mathematical procession from beginning (acquisition) to output (decision) to doing (implementation). Or an “A” to “B” to “C’…..progression. So using a logical progression of thought, one would not skip “A” and “B” going straight to “C”.
The Importance of ‘Focus’ and a ‘Focal Point’
Below is the common definition of ‘focus’Oxford English Dictionary:
Definition of focus in English:
noun (plural focuses or fociˈfōˌsī-ˌkī)
The center of interest or activity:
“this generation has made the environment a focus of attention”
Focus involves the ability to narrow one’s field of visual attention to a specific field or specific fields of interest. The limousine driver sent to pick up a client must ignore some sensory information in order to focus his attention on ‘clues’ that associate who and what he is looking at to who or what he is actually looking for. He would overlook certain sights, sounds, smells. etc.
Here is a practice example to reinforce the point being made about focusing on what is relevant and important:
Abe has owned a small retail business since 1969 in Lower Sonoma Valley. He sells can openers for 10 dollars after discounting them by 12%. A customer pays 50 dollars for a coffee maker after a discount of 20 dollars. His store is only 12 years old and he got it at a steal for $150,000.
What is the original price of the coffee maker?
“A customer pays 50 dollars for a coffee maker after a discount of 20 dollars.” That is the only information in this story-problem that has any significance in solving for the answer to the question before us. Fifty dollars plus twenty dollar means that the coffee maker’s original price was $70.00.
It requires mental focus to strain/separate the information necessary for solving the problem from the information contained in the story problem which has no value in the solution that is being sought.
What if you were in a sprawling metropolitan city that you were unfamiliar with except for a few landmarks to go by. You would have to mentally disregard all the things that would distract you from looking for those all important landmarks you need. That would include sights, sounds, smells, glaring sunlight: anything thing that would take your focus off of your objective. You would keep your focal point on those landmarks.
We live in a ‘spiritual’ sprawling metropolis that is earth wide. It is “Babylon the Great”, the devil’s world empire. God has given us ‘landmarks’ in His word the Bible to follow while we journey through this world of useless, distracting, and confusing input information. Most of it has purposefully been placed there in a deliberate attempt to confuse and mislead you. It therefore takes spiritual and mental focus in order to have good perception of the realities and dangers that surround us in Babylon while we wait for release at the Lord’s Coming.
Understanding by means of Comparison
The cognitive processes are the mental tools we use as a Comparator or something by which to determine the validity of a thing, whether it is true or false.
Often analogies are useful in helping to get a fuller sense of something. Let’s make a comparison.
Your home computer is a good example of the use of this cognitive function. Please observe the graphic below:
It, your computer, functions by making millions of comparisons.
Artificial Intelligence is the field of study which studies how to create computers and computer and computer software that are capable of intelligent behavior. A.I. seeks to mimic human intelligence by recreating the cognitive process with hardware and control commands. The concept is the same. It is to initiate valid commands, process input information accurately, and end up with valid results.
The subject of how logic and artificial intelligence relate to one another will be extensively covered in the following unit, “What exactly is ‘Logic’?”
In summary, critical to accurate understanding is accurate perception. We must hone and use all of these perceptive faculties we have at our disposal. If lacking in one, we must make more use of the ones we do have mastery over, while building up the ones we are lacking in. A person who is sightless or deaf can lead a full life relying on her or his other senses. In fact, many have sharpened their other senses even more keenly than those who have vision or hearing.
Key point of unit: It is important to understand that it is only by focusing our perceptive powers, that we can think clearly and logically. It is the only way to get an accurate interpretation of sensory input information.
On to the next section
“WHAT EXACTLY IS ‘LOGIC’?”
How is it used?
In the first section, we began to discuss the comparative application of reason and logic to determine the true nature of what we percieve. There, you saw a diagram of a comparator as it related to logic circuits in computers. Let us now examine how that same comparison is made in the human mind.
The rational decision-making process can be broken down to three integral parts:
Below is the same diagram we looked at in Section 1, but instead of the language of circuitry, we have inserted language that applies to the human decision-making process:
You will remember that in the digital circuitry a pure reference was needed to determine whether or not the input signal was valid. It is also necessary in the mental decision-making process.
It is in this cognitive process that logic is applied. In order to use logic, we have to first understand what ‘logic’ is.
The following is a lesson excerpt from a class conducted at well-recognized School of rational thought, that describes exactly what logic is.
Dr. Joe Lau
Department of Philosophy, University of Hong Kong
Dr. Jonathan Chan
Department of Religion and Philosophy, Baptist University of Hong Kong
[L01] What is logic?
The term “logic” came from the Greek word logos, which is sometimes translated as “sentence”, “discourse”, “reason”, “rule”, and “ratio”. Of course, these translations are not enough to help us understand the more specialized meaning of “logic” as it is used today.
So what is logic? Briefly speaking, we might define logic as the study of the principles of correct reasoning. This is a rough definition, because how logic should be properly defined is actually quite a controversial matter. However, for the purpose of this tour, we thought it would be useful to give you at least some rough idea as to the subject matter that you will be studying. So this is what we shall try to do on this page.
§1. Logic is not the psychology of reasoning
One thing you should note about this definition is that logic is concerned with the principles of correct reasoning. Studying the correct principles of reasoning is not the same as studying the psychology of reasoning. Logic is the former discipline, and it tells us how we ought to reason if we want to reason correctly. Whether people actually follow these rules of correct reasoning is an empirical matter, something that is not the concern of logic.
The psychology of reasoning, on the other hand, is an empirical science. It tells us about the actual reasoning habits of people, including their mistakes. A psychologist studying reasoning might be interested in how people’s ability to reason varies with age. But such empirical facts are of no concern to the logician.
§2. The principles of logic
So what are these principles of reasoning that are part of logic? There are many such principles, but the main (not the only) thing that we study in logic are principles governing the validity of arguments – whether certain conclusions follow from some given assumptions. For example, consider the following three arguments:
If Tom is a philosopher, then Tom is poor.
Tom is a philosopher.
Therefore, Tom is poor.
If K>10, then K>2.
If Tarragona is in Europe, then Tarragona is not in China.
Tarragona is in Europe. Therefore, Tarragona is not in China.
These three arguments* (see below) here are obviously good arguments in the sense that their conclusions follow from the assumptions. If the assumptions of the argument are true, the conclusion of the argument must also be true. A logician will tell us that they are all cases of a particular form of argument known as “modus ponens” :
If P, then Q. P. Therefore, Q.
It should be pointed out that logic is not just concerned with the validity of arguments. Logic also studies consistency, and logical truths, and properties of logical systems such as completeness and soundness. But these other concepts are also very much related to the concept of validity.
It is of note that Jesus Christ is referred to in Scripture as the “Logos”. The word logos is of Greek origin and it’s root means persuading by the use of reasoning.
The Math Behind Logic
George Boole, an English mathematician and philosopher, wrote a book first published in 1854 that would set the scene for the introduction of the computer over 100 years later. In his book, “The Laws of Thought”, Boole introduced a concept to express the combination of ideas using the key words ‘AND’, ‘OR’, and ‘NOT”. He wanted his ‘algebra’ to encompass all of Aristotle’s insights into human reasoning. Aristotle developed a concept he described as the “logic of propositions“.
Boole created a mathematical model of the logical thought process. A statement or proposition can only be ‘true’ in a specific set of conditions. It seems ‘bold’ to think a mathematical equation could describe how we think and reach accurate conclusions.
His philosophey background played a key role in his making a correlation between ‘thinking’ and mathematics. Philosophy is the study of ideas about knowledge, truth, nature, and the meaning of life. So, his thoughts had been already focused on understanding the thoughts of the human mind. This led him to search for the “why” and the “how come” of things.
The accuracy of his conclusions are validated by the successful use of his model. Computers work almost flawlessly with strict adherence to the concepts he discovered and its mathematical correlations. Imagine the dysfunction of your computer or mobile phone if these rules of logic were ignored.
The application of the logical process begins with a ‘proposition‘ that is the subject of consideration. A proposition is a declaration that ‘something’ is a fact of truth. A statement in propositional logic which may be either true or false.
The Linearity of Logic
Linear Thinking is defined as:
a process of thought following known cycles or step-by-step progression where a response to a step must be elicited before another step is taken.
If a = b, and b = c, then a = c. The application of linear thinking can be found in the well-known Socratic Method:
a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate rational thinking and to illuminate ideas.
Example: Here is a stated proposition, “All American’s are virtuous people!”
Is this TRUE or is it FALSE?
There is a logical methodology to determine the veracity of the above stated proposition.
While it is not necessary to understand the math complexities, it is important to grasp the concept that there is a mathematical progression and order to reasonable/logical conclusions of thought.
It requires due diligence in effort to ascertain and understand the truth. Most people are not willing to do mentally hard work. One of my instructors put it this way, “Most people are mental misers. They want to use the least amount of mental energy necessary to function. That is why they find it easier just to over generalize things or operate on assumptions (hearsay)”.
Many fail to use reasoning logic of the failure as a matter of choice and not because of a lack of understanding of how to reason.
There is no wonder why there is so much confusion and uncertainty in the world given a general lack of desire on the part of mankind to search and sift for the truth. This is of particular importance when it comes to knowledge of the true God and His commandments.
Let’s now return to discussing Propositions and Conclusions.
Inferences and Arguments
Reasoning is a special mental activity called inferring, what can also be called making (or performing) inferences. To infer is to draw conclusions from premises.
The dictionary definition of the word inference is:
plural noun: inferences
A conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.
synonyms: deduction, conclusion, reasoning, conjecture, speculation, guess, presumption, assumption, supposition, reckoning, extrapolation.
So, inferences are logical conclusions that are reached based on evidence and reason.
We take in sensory information and then make inferences after we have sifted the information using logical reasoning.
Some ‘Test Rod’ of Proof is Required
‘Inferences’ must be tested against some valid and reliable standard.
That reference standard serves as a ‘test rod’ to determine whether or not the inference or belief we put forth is TRUE.
To test out a belief, it is necessary to be wholly objective. When a person allows their pre-formed ideas contaminate their investigation for the truth, they are conducting their search with a ‘confirmation bias’ That is that they will only look for and recognize information that confirms what they already believe.
Confirmation Bias defined:
In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias (or confirmatory bias) is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions, leading to statistical errors.
Confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study.
Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or under weigh evidence that could dis-confirm their hypothesis.
As such, it can be thought of as a form of selection bias in collecting evidence.
From Science Daily
Those who enter into the field of scientific research are required to take a course titled, “The Scientific Method”. Their are trained to avoid cross-contamination of their research and findings as a result of a confirmation bias, in order that their findings yield both valid and reliable results.
It is a confirmation bias by those who hold the belief that God the Father and His only begotten son are one in the same Person, that keeps them from accepting what the Biblical context reveals about the subject. It is because this Biblical evidence dis-confirms their hypothesis.
Even though there is so much clear evidence to the contrary and that the concept is illogical (a father and a son being the same person) they block out this information contained in the test rod of such matters, the Bible.
They render the test rod useless because the are unwilling to accept the test results.
In practical day-to-day affairs people likewise disregard the information that their senses gather in order to made logical decisions, rendering them ineffective. If logical thought produces a result that is in conflict with their preconceived notions, they simple disregard the factors that weighs against their position. Such a bias narrows the perceptive field of vision, disabling a person form knowing and accepting the truth.
At the output stage of the of the cognitive logic process is the point of critical analysis, subsequent decision-making, and response in the form of action.
The Analysis phase of the thought process includes consideration of rewards versus risk. Risk being described as the alternative cost of one’s actions.
Alternative cost are the cost paid out in in loss for a particular course of action. These are the negative effects your actions will have on you, other people, and the negative effects your actions will have on things around you.
A completely self-centered view of life omits the consideration of or minimizes the negative effects a person’s action have on others. Sociopathic personality types (ie antisocial personality disorder) are devoid of empathy or fellow-feeling. They can be quite rational, but lack a moral aspect to their character. They tend to use their knowledge in destructive ways.
Learning to think logically is a matter of using a methodical progress of thought in order to accurately interpret sensory input information. This information can come in the form of sensory information received by are natural senses ( sight, smell, taste, sound, sensation, etc). It can also come in the form of information presented in the form of statements heard, sight observed, text that has been read, etc. These all must be evaluated for the validity.
There are three basic functions to the process: Data acquisition, Data processing, and data analysis.
Memory plays a key role in this process as it contains all the available stored comparative information we possess. Memory is one tool we use as a truth rod to determine if something is true or false. If we are told that we are looking at an orange tree, but we see apples hanging from the trees branches, we know that that statement is false. The Lord Jesus Christ stated, “You will tell a tree by the fruit that it bears”.
Recognition is based on memories.
Accurate perception requires mental focus; the ability to separate that which is relevant from that which is not.
It is necessary to discern and factor in all important variables involved and to weigh them appropriately in the process.
It is also important not to let our preconceived ideas contaminate our analysis of what it is we are considering.
The end result of the logical thought process will leave a person in a better position to make good decisions. They will have considered not only the personal gains or rewards they themselves will receive from a particular action; but will have also considered the negative effect that will result if they choose to act or response in a certain manner.
Logic should not be thought of as something new or as a ‘technique’. The concepts of logic seek to describe what is a natural phenomenon and articulates that there is definitely a rational process of acquiring, processing, and interpreting the information that our senses receive. It describes the methodical approach to accurate interpretation of that sensory input.
Of course, the more accurate the interpretation we have of what we are to comprehend and understand, the better capable we are to continue to learn about those things.