What is it for something to be logical?

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Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:41 am
So many threads ask whether this or that is logical. Is probabllity logical? Are moral arguments logical? And so on. I never know what it is being asked by such questions. Is there something clear and specific that is being asked by the question, is X logical? What is it?
 
Kroni
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:50 am
@kennethamy,
Maybe they're asking if it can be identified through premises and conclusions...Or maybe they are trying to figure out if abstract concepts like morality follow some kind of mathematical pattern or have a logical purpose for existing.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 09:11 am
@Kroni,
Kroni;109805 wrote:
Maybe they're asking if it can be identified through premises and conclusions...Or maybe they are trying to figure out if abstract concepts like morality follow some kind of mathematical pattern or have a logical purpose for existing.


That isn't very specific, nor clear? But I appreciate your suggestions of what people might have in mind. Why would they say those things have to do with being "logical", I wonder?
 
fast
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 09:21 am
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;109803]So many threads ask whether this or that is logical. Is probabllity logical? Are moral arguments logical? And so on. I never know what it is being asked by such questions. Is there something clear and specific that is being asked by the question, is X logical? What is it?[/QUOTE]I think "logical" is being used in different ways. Here's a little brainstorming:

Sometimes, it's just a synonym for "reasonable." A wet ground was a logical consequence of rain. Hence, it was reasonable to expect a wet ground given that it was raining.

Someone who takes a systematic approach to solving a problem may be said to be approaching a problem logically.

A valid argument (even if the premises are false) may be considered a logical argument.

Also, it may be used to differentiate. She just randomly looked through the hey in search of the needle, but he was very methodical as he took a logical approach.
 
Kroni
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 09:22 am
@kennethamy,
Yeah it is not very specific, but if you had a specific example in mind I might be able to elaborate. The best response I can give is that people don't understand their own emotions and morality as well as they would like to. Perhaps they see logic as a sort of blueprint to life that can rationally explain anything through arguements and conclusions. Maybe trying to use logic to define these concepts helps them feel like they understand them better.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 10:04 am
@fast,
fast;109816 wrote:
I think "logical" is being used in different ways. Here's a little brainstorming:

Sometimes, it's just a synonym for "reasonable." A wet ground was a logical consequence of rain. Hence, it was reasonable to expect a wet ground given that it was raining.

Someone who takes a systematic approach to solving a problem may be said to be approaching a problem logically.

A valid argument (even if the premises are false) may be considered a logical argument.

Also, it may be used to differentiate. She just randomly looked through the hey in search of the needle, but he was very methodical as he took a logical approach.


Is there nothing in common in all these different uses of "logical"? Why, then, do we use the same term?
 
Emil
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 10:54 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;109803 wrote:
So many threads ask whether this or that is logical. Is probabllity logical? Are moral arguments logical? And so on. I never know what it is being asked by such questions. Is there something clear and specific that is being asked by the question, is X logical? What is it?


I feel the same way.

---------- Post added 12-10-2009 at 05:55 PM ----------

Kroni;109805 wrote:
Maybe they're asking if it can be identified through premises and conclusions...Or maybe they are trying to figure out if abstract concepts like morality follow some kind of mathematical pattern or have a logical purpose for existing.


What does "logical purpose" mean?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 11:15 am
@Emil,
Emil;109834 wrote:


---------- Post added 12-10-2009 at 05:55 PM ----------



What does "logical purpose" mean?


I imagine it might be asking whether the purpose is something that can be accomplished, or whether the purpose is worth accomplishing. The trouble is that it can mean so many different things that the question, is it logical? does not convey anything really being asked.

So, rather than simply ask whether X is logical, why not, instead, ask about the problem you have in mind when you asked the question. And, maybe if you think about what the problem is, and cannot come up with anying specifice or clear, maybe you will wait to ask the question, or maybe not ask the question at all.
 
Emil
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 11:27 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;109841 wrote:
I imagine it might be asking whether the purpose is something that can be accomplished, or whether the purpose is worth accomplishing. The trouble is that it can mean so many different things that the question, is it logical? does not convey anything really being asked.

So, rather than simply ask whether X is logical, why not, instead, ask about the problem you have in mind when you asked the question. And, maybe if you think about what the problem is, and cannot come up with anying specifice or clear, maybe you will wait to ask the question, or maybe not ask the question at all.


Basically the analytic principle of questions. Always start by analyzing the question.

---

Some posts from this thread copied to here.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 04:26 pm
@kennethamy,
If a person finds an argument persuasive, they will often call it "logical." I think the term "logical," for many, sounds morally neutral, whereas "persuasive" is a slightly more ironic description.

If I say that Jim's argument is "logical" (without an ironic tone), it suggests that I find it persuasive, and implies the commendable strictness of our persuasiveness-criteria.

Of course, words only have meaning in context, and none of us really own them.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 04:58 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109910 wrote:


If I say that Jim's argument is "logical" (without an ironic tone), it suggests that I find it persuasive, and implies the commendable strictness of our persuasiveness-criteria.

.



Since I have no idea what "Jim's argument is logical" would mean (especially when you say it) I would not be at all surprised if that is what you meant by it. As I have already pointed out in a thread I began, the sentence, "X is logical" for any X, is completely obscure.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 05:08 pm
@kennethamy,
Hey, man, I'm just chiming in on topic. "Logical" is a word and can be described as a piece in a language game. It's a mark or a noise, depending on whether its spoken or written, and the best we can do is toss it back and forth and see what happens or direct yet more and other marks and noises at it. Which is what we are now doing. Pile on the marks and noises. Pile on the tropes.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 05:11 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109922 wrote:
Hey, man, I'm just chiming in on topic. "Logical" is a word and can be described as a piece in a language game. It's a mark or a noise, depending on whether its spoken or written, and the best we can do is toss it back and forth and see what happens or direct yet more and other marks and noises at it. Which is what we are now doing. Pile on the marks and noises. Pile on the tropes.


Sorry. Are you saying that saying that something is logical doesn't mean anything in particular ? That is what I suspected. But I wasn't the one who said it.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 05:29 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;109923 wrote:
Sorry. Are you saying that saying that something is logical doesn't mean anything in particular ? That is what I suspected. But I wasn't the one who said it.




This is not a good interpretation of what I said. But text is a series of marks. Do what you like with it.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 06:29 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109928 wrote:
But text is a series of marks. .


It is that. But not just that. "X is Y" need not mean that X is only Y. For instance, a triangle is a geometrical figure. But a triangle is not only a geometrical figure. But, when the text is written by an intelligent being it is supposed to be more than that. It is supposed to carry meaning.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 06:45 pm
@kennethamy,
I like the phrase "impossibility of closure." Rorty said this was Derrida's great theme. We constantly redescribe ourselves, our environment, and other descriptions of ourselves and our environment. I think "infinite game" is a good description of philosophy, admitting of course that sometimes the ante is life.

Is logical essentially different from rhetoric? Or is it a more idealistic version of rhetoric, one geared at the persuasion of an elite who see themselves as immune to mere rhetoric?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:06 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109952 wrote:
I like the phrase "impossibility of closure."


I might too, if only I knew what it meant.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:11 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
So, rather than simply ask whether X is logical, why not, instead, ask about the problem you have in mind when you asked the question. And, maybe if you think about what the problem is, and cannot come up with anying specifice or clear, maybe you will wait to ask the question, or maybe not ask the question at all.


I agree completely. People must learn to be specific.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:12 pm
@Emil,
Emil;109834 wrote:
I feel the same way.

---------- Post added 12-10-2009 at 05:55 PM ----------



What does "logical purpose" mean?


It was a great advance in philosophy when it was understood that philosophical questions had to be analyzed to determine what they were asking, or whether they were asking anything sensible, before trying to answer them. In the sciences, it is taken for granted that the important thing is to answer the questions. But it took some time to recognize that was not true in the case of philosophy.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:44 pm
@kennethamy,
I'm passionate about linguistic philosophy. In fact, I think "first philosophy" is a viable description for it.

Not long ago I immersed myself in a study of language. What were these words we used made of? Many of these words are dead metaphors, polished by use until they are understood in a literal sense, their originating images ignored.

I described how I thought the word "logical" might be used in a "language game." Wittgenstein was no doubt aware that his own linguistic philosophy was one more such language game, and not an authoritative meta-language game.

I think it's a pseudo-religious urge that motivates philosophers to pretend to such a throne as a meta-language-game that can speak with authority of the language of mere non-philosophers.

Logic under its priestly robes is rhetoric. This sentence and the "impossibility of closure" require something that humans often call interpretation. On planet Calculator such statements are often described as meaningless.
 
 

 
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