Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

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chewybrian
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Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by chewybrian » October 12th, 2020, 6:05 pm

So, one first needs to define, and my understanding is imperfect, but I'll have a go, borrowing heavily...

https://www.coursera.org/learn/mindware ... -reasoning

...and someone (or everyone) can correct me if I miss the mark.

-------------------------------------

Logic begins with assumptions we hold to be true that transcend situations. It seems to hold sway in the West.

---X=X. X is always X and never something else.

---X is not not X. Not X and X are always mutually exclusive and only one can be true at a time.

---There is no middle. X is the case or not X is the case, but not some other thing in the middle.

-----------------------------------

Dialectical reasoning begins with the assumption that none of those assumptions above could ever be true. It has greater footing in the East.

---Reality is change (change is the only constant).

---Change involves contradiction, so contradiction is everywhere, always.

---The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Parts have value only in relation to the whole. Context always matters.

-----------------------------------

So first, have I got a general idea of the two ways of looking at the world and the way they differ (seemingly drastically)? Then, if so, what does it all mean for us? Is one way of looking at the world necessarily more correct or more useful? Are they mutually exclusive, or would we benefit from trying to use both at once? Do you have a preference for one outlook over the other, or are you willing and able to use both? Is the use of either situational, where one is better under certain conditions, and the other better in other conditions?
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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by Syamsu » October 12th, 2020, 9:19 pm

I think Dialectical reasoning is pathological. It starts from fundamentally conceiving of making a choice in terms of figuring out the best option.

From that is derived the idea of contradiction, of one option struggling against the other option.

From the idea of the best option, is derived the idea of utopia.

Also ideas of inferiority - superiority, are derived from inferior and superior options. Including racist ideas of inferior and superior genetics.

Most significantly, the idea of factual goodness and beauty is derived from the selection criteria, by which options are evaluated in terms of what is best. When Engels talks about quantity transforming into quality, it means improperly injecting factual certitude into matters of personal opinion, like beauty and goodness. That is the main psychological enslavement of Dialectical reasoning, to have this kind of scientific certainty in matters of personal opinion.

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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by Marvin_Edwards » October 12th, 2020, 10:51 pm

I suspect you would use one tool to solve some problems and the other tool to solve a different kind of problem. There is no need to create unnecessary conflict by insisting that everyone take sides in the "hammer versus screwdriver" debate. Make sure you have both and know when each is appropriate.

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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by arjand » October 13th, 2020, 7:34 am

Immanuel Kant mentioned the following about dialectical logic in his Critique of Pure Reason (Second Part—TRANSCENDENTAL LOGIC - III - Of the Division of General Logic into Analytic and Dialectic.)

Different as are the significations in which the ancients used this term (dialectic) for a science or an art, we may safely infer, from their actual employment of it, that with them it was nothing else than a logic of illusion—a sophistical art for giving ignorance, nay, even intentional sophistries, the colouring of truth, in which the thoroughness of procedure which logic requires was imitated, and their topic employed to cloak the empty pretensions. Now it may be taken as a safe and useful warning, that general logic, considered as an organon, must always be a logic of illusion, that is, be dialectical, for, as it teaches us nothing whatever respecting the content of our cognitions, but merely the formal conditions of their accordance with the understanding, which do not relate to and are quite indifferent in respect of objects, any attempt to employ it as an instrument (organon) in order to extend and enlarge the range of our knowledge must end in mere prating; any one being able to maintain or oppose, with some appearance of truth, any single assertion whatever.

Such instruction is quite unbecoming the dignity of philosophy. For these reasons we have chosen to denominate this part of logic dialectic, in the sense of a critique of dialectical illusion, and we wish the term to be so understood in this place.
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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by chewybrian » October 13th, 2020, 8:07 am

Syamsu wrote:
October 12th, 2020, 9:19 pm
I think Dialectical reasoning is pathological. It starts from fundamentally conceiving of making a choice in terms of figuring out the best option.

From that is derived the idea of contradiction, of one option struggling against the other option.

From the idea of the best option, is derived the idea of utopia.

Also ideas of inferiority - superiority, are derived from inferior and superior options. Including racist ideas of inferior and superior genetics.

Most significantly, the idea of factual goodness and beauty is derived from the selection criteria, by which options are evaluated in terms of what is best. When Engels talks about quantity transforming into quality, it means improperly injecting factual certitude into matters of personal opinion, like beauty and goodness. That is the main psychological enslavement of Dialectical reasoning, to have this kind of scientific certainty in matters of personal opinion.
Intuitively, I would be much more wary of applying logic to human interactions than dialectical reasoning. If I assume that drug use is unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs, then I can carry on to make a "logical" decision about distributing free clean needles to drug users. I can see that more needles means more drug use, and the answer is clear. Yes, I began with a judgement. But the real mistake was to stack logic upon the judgement, looking at a complex problem as if it were simple.

Yet, if I approach it in a different way, I will see that there is also an adverse consequence to denying the needles to the drug users. They will inevitably re-use needles and transmit hepatitis or other diseases and these will then find their way into the rest of the population through other means. I can more clearly see that reality is messy, and I can not take either choice without some benefit and some negative consequences. Perhaps I can find some compromise, like giving out the needles if the user registers and submits to a mental and physical health screening or sits through a class about the dangers of drug use and possible ways out of addiction.

Can logic find the answer when multiple factors are involved? Further, can logic guide you toward any action if you have not first decided that one result is preferable to the other, that one possible effect of action is more important than another, etc.? Even with regard to simple chemical reactions, logic can tell me what will happen when I combine certain chemicals. But, it can't tell me what chemical cocktail I should mix unless I decide beforehand if I want to make a fire or put out a fire. The logic must submit to my wishes or the situation or it has nothing to say.
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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by chewybrian » October 13th, 2020, 8:15 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
October 12th, 2020, 10:51 pm
I suspect you would use one tool to solve some problems and the other tool to solve a different kind of problem. There is no need to create unnecessary conflict by insisting that everyone take sides in the "hammer versus screwdriver" debate. Make sure you have both and know when each is appropriate.
That sounds like a fine, simple answer until you try to give real examples of when one method works without the other. In effect, I think you just advised us to know when to use a hammer and when to use a nail, while forgetting to mention that we would almost always want to use both.

Should I pour water on a grease fire? Well, no, obviously, unless my intent is to make a video teaching others about the danger of doing so. Can you use logic without making some judgement first, without placing a priority on something over something else? Can you make sound choices without considering your situation?
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by chewybrian » October 13th, 2020, 8:38 am

arjand wrote:
October 13th, 2020, 7:34 am
Immanuel Kant mentioned the following about dialectical logic in his Critique of Pure Reason (Second Part—TRANSCENDENTAL LOGIC - III - Of the Division of General Logic into Analytic and Dialectic.)

Different as are the significations in which the ancients used this term (dialectic) for a science or an art, we may safely infer, from their actual employment of it, that with them it was nothing else than a logic of illusion—a sophistical art for giving ignorance, nay, even intentional sophistries, the colouring of truth, in which the thoroughness of procedure which logic requires was imitated, and their topic employed to cloak the empty pretensions. Now it may be taken as a safe and useful warning, that general logic, considered as an organon, must always be a logic of illusion, that is, be dialectical, for, as it teaches us nothing whatever respecting the content of our cognitions, but merely the formal conditions of their accordance with the understanding, which do not relate to and are quite indifferent in respect of objects, any attempt to employ it as an instrument (organon) in order to extend and enlarge the range of our knowledge must end in mere prating; any one being able to maintain or oppose, with some appearance of truth, any single assertion whatever.

Such instruction is quite unbecoming the dignity of philosophy. For these reasons we have chosen to denominate this part of logic dialectic, in the sense of a critique of dialectical illusion, and we wish the term to be so understood in this place.
I feel like that must be out of context. Contrary to that quote(^), the summary which you linked leads me to a very different understanding of what Kant is trying to say:
The critique of pure reason opens a third way for metaphysics, half way between rationalism that claims to know everything, and empiricism that defies reason to be able to find anything out of the experience: this path is that of criticism (or transcendental philosophy), which limits the power of reason to re-legitimized.
He seems to be drawing the conclusion I would, that neither logic nor dialectical reasoning is much good without the other. As the summary says, raw knowledge is not poured into an empty head, but rather the receiver forms the knowledge as perception takes place. There seems to be little way around this. Logic stands on its own in the mythical world of math. We can attempt to apply it to real world situations, but the fact that we are making the attempt removes the impartiality from the process. We can not avoid making judgements no matter how hard we might try, nor should we try. We should temper our judgements with logic, and vice versa.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by Steve3007 » October 13th, 2020, 9:19 am

I thought dialectical reasoning just meant two (hence di-) or more people arguing with each other. I guess not.

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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by Pattern-chaser » October 13th, 2020, 9:27 am

chewybrian wrote:
October 12th, 2020, 6:05 pm
Logic begins with assumptions we hold to be true that transcend situations. It seems to hold sway in the West.

---X=X. X is always X and never something else.

---X is not not X. Not X and X are always mutually exclusive and only one can be true at a time.

---There is no middle. X is the case or not X is the case, but not some other thing in the middle.

This looks to me like Boolean logic, not philosophical logic. Admittedly, the two have somewhat in common, but they're two different perspectives on the same thing. The above concentrates on Boolean, or binary, quantities, so there can be no "maybe", as you say. But philosophical logic needs to be applicable to the very many circumstances where there is a middle, a "maybe", or a third - or fourth... - possibility. I think 'logic' must be carefully applied...
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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by chewybrian » October 13th, 2020, 9:33 am

Steve3007 wrote:
October 13th, 2020, 9:19 am
I thought dialectical reasoning just meant two (hence di-) or more people arguing with each other. I guess not.
I think you are on target, as it is a way of reaching a 'best' conclusion by considering the opposite views and seeing some truth in each. But, I don't think the intent is to win or lose as in court or a high school debate class. I think both sides are intended to gain greater and more correct understanding of the problem as they approach a solution. I believe the process could take place between two people or within your own mind. I don't have a great understanding of it, either, and I'm not sure too many of us do.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by arjand » October 13th, 2020, 10:20 am

chewybrian wrote:
October 13th, 2020, 8:38 am
I feel like that must be out of context.
The preceding text:

The old question with which people sought to push logicians into a corner, so that they must either have recourse to pitiful sophisms or confess their ignorance, and consequently the vanity of their whole art, is this: “What is truth?” The definition of the word truth, to wit, “the accordance of the cognition with its object,” is presupposed in the question; but we desire to be told, in the answer to it, what is the universal and secure criterion of the truth of every cognition.

...

Consequently, the merely logical criterion of truth, namely, the accordance of a cognition with the universal and formal laws of understanding and reason, is nothing more than the conditio sine qua non, or negative condition of all truth. Farther than this logic cannot go, and the error which depends not on the form, but on the content of the cognition, it has no test to discover.

...

General logic, then, resolves the whole formal business of understanding and reason into its elements, and exhibits them as principles of all logical judging of our cognitions. This part of logic may, therefore, be called analytic, and is at least the negative test of truth, because all cognitions must first of an be estimated and tried according to these laws before we proceed to investigate them in respect of their content, in order to discover whether they contain positive truth in regard to their object. Because, however, the mere form of a cognition, accurately as it may accord with logical laws, is insufficient to supply us with material (objective) truth, no one, by means of logic alone, can venture to predicate anything of or decide concerning objects, unless he has obtained, independently of logic, well-grounded information about them, in order afterwards to examine, according to logical laws, into the use and connection, in a cohering whole, of that information, or, what is still better, merely to test it by them. Notwithstanding, there lies so seductive a charm in the possession of a specious art like this—an art which gives to all our cognitions the form of the understanding, although with respect to the content thereof we may be sadly deficient—that general logic, which is merely a canon of judgement, has been employed as an organon for the actual production, or rather for the semblance of production, of objective assertions, and has thus been grossly misapplied. Now general logic, in its assumed character of organon, is called dialectic.


Source: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4280/4280-h/4280-h.htm

chewybrian wrote:
October 13th, 2020, 8:38 am
He seems to be drawing the conclusion I would, that neither logic nor dialectical reasoning is much good without the other. As the summary says, raw knowledge is not poured into an empty head, but rather the receiver forms the knowledge as perception takes place. There seems to be little way around this. Logic stands on its own in the mythical world of math. We can attempt to apply it to real world situations, but the fact that we are making the attempt removes the impartiality from the process. We can not avoid making judgements no matter how hard we might try, nor should we try. We should temper our judgements with logic, and vice versa.
Kant clearly makes a qualitative distinction between analytical and dialectical logic and expresses to say farewell to dialectical reasoning as being a 'logic of illusions' (i.e. invalid reasoning).

He later refers the following with regard to his arguments about dialectical logic:

But as this can only be sufficiently demonstrated in that part of our treatise which relates to the dialectical conclusions of reason, we shall omit any consideration of it in this place.

Then later he mentions the following:

We showed in the introduction to this part of our work, that all transcendental illusion of pure reason arose from dialectical arguments, the schema of which logic gives us in its three formal species of syllogisms—just as the categories find their logical schema in the four functions of all judgements.

And later he mentions the following:

A dialectical proposition or theorem of pure reason must, according to what has been said, be distinguishable from all sophistical propositions, by the fact that it is not an answer to an arbitrary question, which may be raised at the mere pleasure of any person, but to one which human reason must necessarily encounter in its progress. In the second place, a dialectical proposition, with its opposite, does not carry the appearance of a merely artificial illusion, which disappears as soon as it is investigated, but a natural and unavoidable illusion, which, even when we are no longer deceived by it, continues to mock us and, although rendered harmless, can never be completely removed.

This dialectical doctrine will not relate to the unity of understanding in empirical conceptions, but to the unity of reason in pure ideas. The conditions of this doctrine are—inasmuch as it must, as a synthesis according to rules, be conformable to the understanding, and at the same time as the absolute unity of the synthesis, to the reason—that, if it is adequate to the unity of reason, it is too great for the understanding, if according with the understanding, it is too small for the reason. Hence arises a mutual opposition, which cannot be avoided, do what we will.

These sophistical assertions of dialectic open, as it were, a battle-field, where that side obtains the victory which has been permitted to make the attack, and he is compelled to yield who has been unfortunately obliged to stand on the defensive. And hence, champions of ability, whether on the right or on the wrong side, are certain to carry away the crown of victory, if they only take care to have the right to make the last attack, and are not obliged to sustain another onset from their opponent. We can easily believe that this arena has been often trampled by the feet of combatants, that many victories have been obtained on both sides, but that the last victory, decisive of the affair between the contending parties, was won by him who fought for the right, only if his adversary was forbidden to continue the tourney. As impartial umpires, we must lay aside entirely the consideration whether the combatants are fighting for the right or for the wrong side, for the true or for the false, and allow the combat to be first decided. Perhaps, after they have wearied more than injured each other, they will discover the nothingness of their cause of quarrel and part good friends.
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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by Pattern-chaser » October 13th, 2020, 10:28 am

chewybrian wrote:
October 12th, 2020, 6:05 pm
Dialectical reasoning begins with the assumption that none of those assumptions above could ever be true. It has greater footing in the East.

---Reality is change (change is the only constant).

---Change involves contradiction, so contradiction is everywhere, always.

---The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Parts have value only in relation to the whole. Context always matters.

I can see no way to argue with the first and last statements; they appear correct to me1. But the middle one: does change necessarily involve contradiction? I can't see it. Can anyone explain this to me?

1 - I would dispute that "parts have value only in relation to the whole", because dividing whole things into parts is unjustified. It's reductionism, and we only do it because we have no choice. We cannot comprehend life, the universe, and everything as a whole, even though it is. The universe is just too much for a human (mind) to swallow in one bite. So we arbitrarily divide wholes into parts, and we keep on doing it until we feel the parts are small and simple enough for us to deal with. Also, the introduction of "value" is a bit weird, to me at least.
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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by Sculptor1 » October 13th, 2020, 11:25 am

chewybrian wrote:
October 12th, 2020, 6:05 pm
---X=X. X is always X and never something else.
Since you can't step in the same river twice, you cannot have X=X.
X=X is only ever an approximation which has to ignore the individuality of all Xes.

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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by Terrapin Station » October 13th, 2020, 12:08 pm

Logic is actually just about "what follows from what." In other words, it's the study of implication. "If such and such is the case, and this and such is the case, then this follows" --or-- "This is implied by such and such and this and such being the case."

Logic can't tell you what premises are true (at least not aside from tautologies). Logic tells you that IF these premises are true, then a conclusion follows from the premises. (Assuming of course, we're dealing with a valid argument--if we're not, we're committing some sort of fallacy.)

Dialectics can refer to a couple different things, but all of them generally amount to informal logic. The aim is basically the same as formal logic, it's just not engaging in logic as "rigidly" (and re literal formal logic, not via symbols, variables, etc.). Dialectics often gets into the semantic nuances of natural languages, it's more conversational, and in general "fuzzier," with an upshot that validity is fuzzier, too.

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Re: Logic and Dialectical Reasoning

Post by Terrapin Station » October 13th, 2020, 12:09 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
October 13th, 2020, 11:25 am
chewybrian wrote:
October 12th, 2020, 6:05 pm
---X=X. X is always X and never something else.
Since you can't step in the same river twice, you cannot have X=X.
X=X is only ever an approximation which has to ignore the individuality of all Xes.
X is supposed to refer to the same thing, at the same time, in the same respect, etc. in both instances there. "A thing (at a particular time) is itself" or "A thing is identical to the thing it is" in other words.

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