Logical and Sub-Logical Reasoning
Never confuse emotivism for critical thinking skills.
-- Bobby Darnell
Logic and Sub-Logic
Logic has been defined by Google as a "proper or reasonable way of thinking and understanding something". I see it as stemming from a default mental technology of processing factual reality that's specie-specific only for us humans.
O.K., you say, if the rest of this is going to sound like this, you might as well forget about logic, sub-logic, or anything that has to do with reasoning -- and scroll for something more entertaining.
Not so fast, now, it does get better, but I had to impress you a bit with this style, so that you may forgive me when I start going funny with this serious topic which is one of official themes of classical philosophy.
Namely, they are: logic, metaphysics, science of politics, ethics, and aesthetics -- so you see, some really big brains were burning fuses over what is proper way of processing reality, and I felt I owed them that much while mentioning logic at the start.
Now, the general sense about what is logical, or "real", has been changing from one cultural epoch to another, each one with its claims generated by intellectual arrogance which simply doesn't allow the humbleness of "I don't know".
So, Fred Flintstone thought he got it all figured out, and so did a tribal witch doctor, later on a medieval alchemist, and so on all the way to our smart asses in governments, and some high learning institutions who are pushing their scientific dogma of one kind or another.
The fact of the matter is that logical thinking is really an art, it's not something we are born with, with all chances that our reasoning has become much more sub-logical than logical.
What do I call sub-logic?
In one sense it's our reasoning contaminated by our emotional preferences, and in another it's a tendency to try finding a connection between concepts which cannot make any sense when put together -- and I will be giving you some good examples for both, to make them easy to understand.
You will also recognize how most of popular reasoning is sub-logical, and maybe by the end of this article, if you stay with me, you may reexamine your own style of thinking.
"I'll follow him to the end of earth".
"Yes, darling. but the world doesn't have ends, Columbus fixed that"
-- Tom Robbins
We Could Call It "Convenient" Logicalness
There was a time when it was "logical" and very much common sense that our planet was flat. We tend to forgive them as someones who couldn't know any better considering the level of science of that era.
But, when you really think of it, it was an unforgivable lunacy -- and even a bigger one being that they were categorically insisting that no other way was possible. I mean, idiots couldn't use at least some imagination to realize how oceans would "flow off the edge".
It never stops fascinating me how hard headed people can be in their reasoning, not allowing any alternative possibility outside of their box.
Now, in its extremes, reasoning may either make sense or it's a nonsense; however, there is something in between, something that appears like perfectly logical organization of thought -- except that it isn't that.
In a moment, as you see some examples of this sub-logical reasoning, you will immediately understand what I am talking about. You will also recognize how much of it is being displayed in everyday life, in politics, religion, in media, and in some downright dogmatic positions in science with intellectual favoritism involved -- all of which composes the current paradigm about what is real, moral, and worth believing.
Sub-logic is exactly that -- a convenient construct of sequiturs and causalities which don't honor any objectivity in a matter.
At this point allow me to remind you of our automatic pilot, or a system of our beliefs and strategies of living, which replace our conscious assessing of reality. In a simple metaphor, consider your driving yourself to work while you're thinking about something totally unrelated to driving.
You are being switched to your automatic pilot which will safely bring you from the point A to the point B. Most people will spend the rest of the day "reasoning" about each situation out of a mental habit, or inner programs which will merely be replayed.
There will be no mental "stepping back" to observe it with fresh pair of eyes, no creative consciousness to possibly change something there, if only their response to what appears familiar.
That train of thoughts will be sub-logical, a knee-jerk thinking, so to speak.
Comparing science and religion is not like comparing apples and oranges -- it's more like apples and sewing machines.
-- Jack Horner
Pairing Concepts That Cannot Be Paired
Whether we are talking about a renowned thinker of a world class or an armchair philosopher, their delicacy seems to be dealing with those questions that cannot be logically answered.
Sometimes they remind me of those medical scientists who had to label their diagnoses and pharmaceuticals with those ridiculously long and tongue twisting names.
Who knows why. Maybe to appear academically dignified and different from an ordinary Joe who is quite fine with the word "brain", with no need to call it encephalon", or to rename throat-ear-nose specialist into an "otorinolaringologist".
How is that for fancy? Likewise, philosophers will, possibly unknowingly, be using sub-logic to make themselves appear "ultra-smart", as they are tackling some impossible questions.
Their version of sub-logic has a lot to do with mismatching concepts. Let me give you a few examples.
Here is that question from all ages, and the reason it was never properly answered is because it couldn't be answered. Let me give you a hint first. I am perfectly capable of imagining a creature half-man-half-goat. While there is a "man", and there is a "goat", there is no such a creature -- just because my mind is capable of imagining it doesn't make it also possible.
You see what I mean? So, when those smart asses are burning their brains' fuses over "what is the purpose of life", it's totally sub-logical, because there is "purpose", and there is "life", but there is no "purpose of life", just because our mind is accustomed to seeing a purpose of everything.
Try another one where the mismatching of concepts is even more obvious. "Where is the end of space?" Our linear minds can't conceptualize anything that doesn't have a beginning and an end -- except for abstract concepts like numbers and time. Space is something that measurable objects are occupying,so it appears logical to us that it should have an end.
Our mind can really play tricks on us if we are not conscious enough to recognize its sub-logical monkeying around.
The ability to know one's limitations, to recognize the bounds of one's own comprehension -- this is a kind of knowing that approaches wisdom.
-- Leah Hager-Cohen
When Logic Dictates to Say "I Don't Know"
Are we capable of thinking logically other than using this convenient, made to measure one that I am calling sub-logic? Yes, and there are many moments in our life when we are forced by an emergency to step out of our habitual thinking from the box in search for a most logical solution.
But then we slip back into our sub-logical comfort zone, as soon as we are feeling safe again. At one point I said that logical reasoning is an art -- and it is, because we have to have a mind cultivated enough to catch itself in crappy, automatic mode of functioning.
They tell us life is but a state of mind, and it is so -- and then, with a dose of honesty we might do our life inventory to get a picture of how logically we have been reasoning, and how much we were guided switched on automatic pilot generating sub-logic.
I did not give much space to that most obvious feature of sub-logical reasoning which is propelled by emotions. Namely, it doesn't need much describing, since we all know too well how our thinking goes out of whack when it's hijacked by excitement of any kind.
Nevertheless, logical thinking is only a mode of organizing concepts, not meaning truthful resulting contents, because if we don't have right information, the only logical ending should be: "I don't know" -- not a display of intellectual arrogance which insists on being right.
A typical sub-logical mind doesn't even know that it doesn't know. It lives in the wonderland of beliefs, where beliefs and intellectual tastes dictate what is a fact. And, without my having to tell you that, you know how the most of the world is operating on this "I believe -- so I know" basis.
It could be to a great benefit to anybody to reexamine their own style of reasoning, and to recognize how many times in their lives they could swear something or somebody was some way -- only to end up disappointed.
Again, our mind is bound to play tricks on us with its wild constructs of "truths", and, while it's our great treasure of wisdom and life skills, it may also be a liability generating one sub-logical piece of junk after another. Let's be aware of its trickery.
© 2020 Vladimir Karas