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Neurohacking - Basics
Written by Spock   
Tuesday, 02 March 2010 18:47
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Cognitive science - Formal Reasoning & Truth-Detection -The Basics
Logic and Rational Thinking
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Formal Reasoning & Truth-Detection: The Basics

(Mr Spock’s guide to developing executive functions)

 

Introduction and Strategy

“Logic is the beginning of wisdom”

(Spock, ‘The Undiscovered Country’)

 

Logic has been variously defined as "the tool for distinguishing between the true and the false”, "the science, as well as the art, of reasoning"; and "the science of the most general laws of truth".

Despite growing up in a society that values intellect highly, with schooling systems that push intellectual ability at the expense of virtually everything else, two thirds of adults tested cannot use formal reasoning (3).

Since this ability serves such skills as rational & critical thinking, decision making, assessment, planning, analysis, judgement etc., that means that two-thirds of the general public cannot think abstractly, reason logically, devise plans to solve problems, systematically test solutions or draw conclusions from the information available, nor can they apply all these processes to hypothetical situations or understand the more complex issues in life that all of us from around age 15 should be able to understand.

This is an astonishing situation; that most people fail to develop their potential in this most fundamental way; the ability to reason. If we fail to develop the very faculty of our minds by which we should be able to deduce inferences from facts or from propositions; without reason allied to a clear view of reality, we cannot clearly distinguish truth from falsehood, fact from fiction, and ultimately beneficial from harmful. 

It is my conjecture that the failure of two-thirds of adults to ever achieve the abilities of formal reasoning is due to wrong use of the relevant brain networks skewing healthy development, and that making the brain do the wrong things at the wrong ages is in part responsible for retarding (‘holding back’) this part of intelligence (although it is certainly not the only thing responsible) (4, 5).

To develop brain networks in the right order, we have to answer the questions intelligence is asking the universe, in the right order. Schooling does not allow us to continue asking the right questions for intelligence to fully develop: what, where, which, when, how and why. When we learn things in the right order for the brain’s development to keep apace, that last question ‘why?’ comes to a mind that is equipped to search for its own answers, and our use of logic goes smoothly and fully into gear. Throughout development, we continue to see the associated relationships between everything. Life makes Sense.

For many of us life stopped making sense when we had our train of questions derailed by the distraction of training frantically to pass IQ tests, in other words answering the ‘why’ questions ‘parrot-fashion’ from what we were told, instead of being able to explore and understand it for ourselves via association.

Aside from this, it is not our aim here to examine the problem or its symptoms; instead we aim to reverse the causes themselves by direct instruction and procedural practice. Fortunately, we can begin asking those questions again at any age, and that is exactly what this tutorial is designed to assist.

Rational thinking is different from many other subjects in that it is difficult to learn about it without doing it; indeed you cannot truly understand it without doing it, much like sex, swimming or playing a computer game cannot be learned or understood very effectively just from books. The whole point of knowledge is that it should give us abilities; abilities to do something new and different; in this case to think in a different way.

The new and different ability that rational thinking brings with it is the ability to perceive truth from falsehood, which is a very useful skill all over the galaxy and one of the reasons why rational thinking before decision-making can be such a rewarding skill for survival in general.

Reason is not only applicable to scientific subjects. We can focus on abstract and/or practical questions such as “What do the concepts of ‘god’, ‘art’, ‘self’ or ‘mind’ mean?”; “Is reality really as it appears in our minds?”; “Why do relationships fail?”; “Is the information on this website genuine?”, “How does love affect health”; and so on. Rationality can be applied to any subject and if applied properly should enhance rather than diminish that subject for you, and should augment your awareness, perception, knowledge and wisdom regarding that subject.

Rational intelligence is NOT the opposite of emotional intelligence; they are complementary (eg they work together to give us more information), and the clear light of reason should make the beauty of things like stars and poetry more, not less, awesome. There is a deep spiritual aspect to formal reasoning for those who pursue it with rectitude. I hope you enjoy taking this journey with me.

Our strategy will be as follows; our aims for learning here are:

  • To be able to explain what rational thinking is
  • To understand and put into practice some basic skills of argument analysis
  • To practice some critical reading
  • To be able to apply rational thinking to misinformation to reveal truth

 

By the end of this tutorial you should be able to:

  • Recognize what is useful about a rational approach to various issues
  • Identify and use the basic tools of argument analysis
  • Analyze information critically to reveal the truth, and present your own ideas logically

 

The aim of this article is to encourage you to engage interactively with what you are reading about rather than just absorb my words passively. The example analyses of scientific writing will give you the tools to do this; the exercises will give you feedback on your progress and the chance to put into practice what you have learned. I have given explanations for words that may be unfamiliar.

 

I am, and always shall be, your friend.

Live long, and prosper.

 

 



Last Updated on Friday, 02 August 2013 13:40