RE: Logic

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Mon Jul 23 2001 - 22:13:04 BST

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    Subject: RE: Logic
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    Hi Vincent, thanks for your tantalizing reply. You've made me think
    deeper about the subject.

    Allow me to digress a little on the origins of logic. In the animal
    kingdom logical behavior has an obvious survival advantage over
    illogical behavioras the former is compatible to nature. Logical
    behavior therefore has an evolutionary advantage over illogical behavior.
    Consequently, in the course of evolution selective pressure generated
    inherently logically acting animals. The instincts of animals reflect this.

    The evolution of the human brain must have been rather analogous to developing
    logical behavior as the logical mind had an evolutionary advantage over
    the illogical one. As Blackmore argues, our large brain is the end
    result of a gene-meme co-evolution. Memes initially useful for survival
    favored genes for a big brain serving as an able meme-processor.
    Similarly as logical thinking was advantageous for survival too, genes
    were favored too for developing a mental faculty for logic thinking.
    Therefore it is inherently present right from birth.

    Having a mental faculty especially designed for logical thinking means that
    it should produce logical output if appealed too. As I already remarked,
    one of the most imaginative products of logic - we can surely be proud of -
    is the great universal discipline of mathematics. To spread logical concepts,
    ideas, and such most effectively through the community is of course by
    using memetics (mediated by teaching, journals, books, etc.). It is simply
    impractical to set out and generate the whole realm of mathematics yourself,
    although you are biologically equiped to possibly succeed given enough time.
    Therefore, logic has a strong memetic component since it is most productive
    and effective to spread logic that way. By spreading logic over
    many people, the field of logic will advance at a higher pace since
    it is being developed in parallel (compare parallel computers
    with serial ones). The memes of logic are also passed on vertically: today's
    mathematicians stands on the shoulders of yesterday's mathematicians.
    The same two arguments applies to science too, of course.

    Logic is generated in the human mind because it can by virtue of the
    faculty of logical thinking, inherently present in humans. Logic need not
    be passed on memetically but it is most advantageous if it would.
    Therefore it is memetic by definition.

    To succeed is passing `homemade' logic onto humans is a different
    story all the same. This depends on multiple factors such as the
    degree of complexity of the logic, the level of the audience but also
    the transmitter itself. Trying to imitate the output of the faculty
    of logic of some person, might require considerable effort (learning)
    as the faculties are far from homogeneously developed in humans.
    Indeed, it is frequently impossible to transmit logical memes from
    the smarter person to the dumber.

    Can it be disadvantageous in any sense to become a `slave' of the logic meme
    in a negative sense? I would say no. Logic is not a religion, it is not a
    bag of air. Being logic means acting in accordance with the laws of nature.
    What can there be dangerous about that? As I already stated, knowing how
    the world works means being able to keep one step ahead of nature
    (increasing odds of survival) and being able to exploit it
    (science, technology).

    On your final question on the consequences of regarding logic as
    a meme, in the light of the previous, I have to defend the position that
    logic then has all the benefits of the meme. Ergo, logic spreads faster and
    therefore, through parallel processing (teamwork), advances/evolves faster.
    Again, science and mathematics both work this way, and with great success too.

    Philip Jonkers.

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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