Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Logician's Dilemma

I am a man who likes to invoke logic. It often clarifies arguments a great deal and sometimes it is one of the few available methods of resolving a particularly bitter dispute between people of very different systems of thought. Yet I must make a confession. I am DB Cooper (I'm sorry Adam West, but somebody had to take the fall). But also I don't really like formal logic. I like logic in general, but I mostly just use the basic largely intuitive semi-logic. I realize that the problem with using that kind of logic is that it is inpercise, it tends to make overgenerous assumptions and it sometimes takes unwarranted logical jumps. But the advantage of intuitive semi-logic is that it is simpler, easier, and shorter. Formal logic is a different beast. It is a beast I respect, that I admire, but which annoys me if I'm around it for too long.

Formal logic is something that starts at the basics then marches up bit by bit to the end. Good idea if you want to be right. Bad idea if you're lazy or with little patience (I happen to have both qualities and I'm so incredibly awesome it doesn't matter if I'm wrong every now and then). Semi-logic might get you the wrong answer sometimes but it is quick and that means it allows me to solve a problem before I lose interest in it and it's good in a debate because its easy to explain in English (formal logic has its own language, and if I'm going to learn another language, well it's going to be this, but that's only because I'm taking a class about it, but I'm only taking a class that sort-of-half-assed teaches it (nothing against the teacher, but that's just the nature of the class)), also in an arguement one often lacks the time and scratch paper to work out a formal logic proof. But perhaps most usefully, the semi-logic is, as I have labelled it before, intuitive, which means that it can often work with your sub-conscious which is good since your sub-conscious tends to usually undermine your logic attempts.

I realize there is a sort of pure beauty to formal logic, but I only can catch it in glimpses. I can say wow look at how these things interconnect and make sense sometimes but most of the time I'm like huh? (confused) or buh? (mildly annoyed or bored). Those who can see the pure beauty of formal logic, they are the smart ones, they are the lucky ones, but they aren't the everybody ones and they aren't me. But still we ought to remember to give them some respect (not too much respect because the beauty of logic can sometimes blind people to their mistakes and also you don't want to inflate their heads too much) and we got to raise a glass to them. Cheers!

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks!

No comments: