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  1. #1
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    Default An argument for investing in intellectual infrastructure

    The old Immanuel Kant understood that rationalism and empiricism were by themselves incomplete. The trouble is that the senses do not think, and logic does not see. A person who relies on the senses alone, for instance, could easily mistake a WWF wrestling match for a real fight. Without the application of logic and critical thought, the sensor is left with no known notion for discerning the difference between the one and the other. The senses, moreover, do not by themselves tell us about the way the furniture of the universe relates to each other. On the other hand, a logician can construct entire edifices of knowledge that are highly abstruse and based on subtile chains of reasonings, but these eloquent theories may be murdered by brutal facts. It really only takes one dubious brick to cause the superstructure to collapse in a way that cannot be put whole again. It is, therefore, the humpty dumpty of an intellectual system. Therefore, if one's stated goal is to be as intellectually bulletproof as possible, then in Myers-Briggs speak this requires synthesizing intuition and thinking--imagination and logic. This requires that one rethinks one's intellectual infrastructure, (for sensors it requires taking a sledgehammer to the whole system), and making modest investments in the right places (intuition and logic or, when fused, 'colored logic').

    Investing in intuition. What is intuition? In simplest terms, intuition refers to the immediate perception of truth without rational calculation. We use ‘perception’ in the definition because perception may or may not square with reality. After all, intuition tells one that the world is flat. It is only through critical thinking and a careful weighing of the evidence that one can establish that this intuition is false. We conclude, then, that intuition necessitates perception, but that perception may collide with reality. It can be deduced, then, that intuition may collide with reality. If intuition can be at odds with reality, then intuition itself is an incomplete means of arriving at knowledge, and this should come as no surprise as good investments come in packages. Still, before moving on to logic, it pays to briefly mention some of the merits of intuition, which is an asset. Intuitives often see the solution before making the calculations. Isaac Newton, for example, often intuited a solution before the mathematical proof. One can view thought through the prism of road systems. Like basic road systems, if one wants resources to circulate efficiently this requires that there are no clogs in the arteries of thought. In effect, one will need to establish the conditions that give rise to clear intuitive signals unfettered by the traffic of lesser thought. To do this, one needs to distinguish between meaningful signals and noise. If running efficiently, then intellectual selection will have it that noise is weeded out, so that all that is left, at least in terms of intuitions, are those with merit (as brain space for noise that does not result in abstract or else tangible benefits is by definition a misallocation of resources. That is, resources that could be used contemplating and/or storing more interesting things). The question remains: what is an intuitive signal? What circumstantial evidence can one look for to know that they are intuiting and not thinking logically or feeling? One intuits if (1) One’s train of conscious thought is suddenly interrupted by an intuition that differs from where one might figure that stream of thought would have lead. This could easily happen if one is dispassionately contemplating something at a mall and suddenly one sees something that triggers a thought involuntarily. One can then use logical thinking to check if there is any validity to the intuition. (2) An inner voice reveals a pattern to conscious thought without conscious calculation. One might suspect that this medium for expressing intuitions is particularly indicative of auditory learners. (Learners with a preference for visualization or kinesthetics may have different cues). (3) Intuitions, for me at least, typically come in waves (clusters of thought). In this sense, there is a wave of intuitions, but this wave is moving in a particular direction (that direction is established by Ni) and is moved along with extroverted thinking. In summary, sudden interruptions, an inner voice, and waves of thought that come in clusters are all signals of intuition.

    Investing in logical and algorithmic thinking. Once one has established a system for detecting intuitions, one must also have a system for assigning probabilistic values to them. The thinking function can be used to verify whether or not one’s intuitions accord with logic and square with the evidence. One might find, for instance, that certain intuitions are much more likely to be correct than others. It follows, therefore, that if one is to establish a systematic account of one’s intuitions, then one must craft a probability distribution curve of previous intuitions. This probability distribution must constantly be updated as new intuitions come to fruition, which may alter the odds. The exceptional intuitionist need not write out each probability because they already have built into their psyches a self-correcting mechanism that automatically updates the probability distribution of the correctness of intuitions based on historical precedents. However, intuitions are liable to err and therefore any rational thinker must be severely mistrustful of intuitionism alone. In one sentence, intuitions are not a substitute for logical thinking; optimality will usually require a combination of the two.

    Modest investments in logic can yield great pay-offs at a relatively low cost. The reasons are as follows: (1) Logic provides one with a set of tools that place the furniture of the universe under rules that are sensible and applicable; otherwise it is merely pieces without purpose. (2) Logic and algorithmic thinking is useful for problem solving. An algorithm is a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps. For example, when a mother calls her doctor and says that her child has a fever, one of the first questions the doctor might ask is whether the child’s neck is stiff. If stiff, then this symptom could mean the underlying cause is meningitis, which implies that the child needs to be taken to emergency immediately. If not stiff, then the doctor continues down his checklist. Thus, the doctor goes down a decision tree questioning for a set of symptoms. It is methodical, systematic, algorithmic, and uses differential diagnoses. Algorithmic thinking not only applies to medicine, but problem solving more generally. A Rubik’s Cube, for instance, can be easily solved by the simple application of algorithms. Although the color configurations change, one can follow the algorithms and always solve the cube. In effect, algorithms are isomorphic. Isomorphism is a kind of mapping between objects, which shows a relationship between two properties or operations. If there exists an isomorphism between two structures, we call the two structures isomorphic. For example, a wooden cube and a lead cube both share the geometric structure of a cube, which is isomorphic. Accordingly, isomorphism focuses on underlying patterns rather than changing details. Algorithmic and logical thinking, therefore, is part and parcel to isomorphic thinking. The relevance of this point comes later in the sequence. In summary, we have established that if one seeks to strengthen one’s intellectual infrastructure, then resources will need to be concentrated into intuition and logical, algorithmic, and isomorphic thinking. These are the corridors to the highest level of thinking.

    An effective training ground for strengthening intuitive thinking is playing more chess. Why? Chess involves a mixture of imagination and logic. After three moves played by both sides there are over 64 million possible chess games. Altogether, there are more possible chess games than elementary particles in the universe. Thus we conclude (1) Chess contingencies will never be exhausted (2) Chess is a viable means for increasing possibility/contingency thinking precisely because they cannot all of them be contemplated. Following this, some are contemplated while others are not, which means there must be a principle of selection to tell one what is relevant and what is not. Inevitably, survival in chess means adopting principles that are applicable across a range of cases. Principles that are applicable across a range of cases are by definition isomorphic. It follows, therefore, that chess requires isomorphic thinking. And since it has been concluded that isomorphic thinking is part and parcel to logical and algorithmic thinking, it follows that chess requires logical and algorithmic thinking. We conclude, then, that chess is a perfectly fitting training ground for strengthening intuitive, logical, algorithmic and isomorphic thinking. These are the basic mental conduits for higher thinking.

    Why is higher thinking desirable? Why would one want to be ultralogical rather than just have common sense, for instance? The reason is as follows. Most, if not all, value stems from scarcity. If there is an abundance of a resource, it is not as valuable. This principle explains why water, which is vital to our sustenance, costs very little (it's abundant in industrialized societies). Meanwhile, diamonds, which provide no such basic need for humans, are very expensive (rare). Economists conclude, therefore, that value stems from scarcity. If value stems from scarcity, then what is not scarce (common sense is by definition common and what is common cannot be scarce) is not valuable precisely because it is abundant. That is not to say that common sense is not necessary, but that it is not sufficient! Not only is it crucial for higher levels of understanding, but if one is to have a competitive edge over the herd then this requires an ultralogical/hypersensible approach to thinking that is beyond what the typical philistine can conjure up. This mini-essay has laid the groundwork for this enlightened approach by demonstrating the specific areas that require resource allocation and a means for how this can be accomplished. This exposition has focused on the individual rather than the collective. If one is interested in learning about what culturalogical changes would have to occur for this to happen on a wide-ranging scale, then in addition to what has been stated hitherto I recommend visiting my thread on the mathematization of culture.

    P

  2. #2
    Senior Member forzen's Avatar
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    The problem with this is logic applies to the known via a step by step process. Like the substitution property in algebra A = B, C = A, therefore C = B, but a roadblock is establish when in the realm of intuition an unknown problem presents itself that has no logical steps. Also, this way of thinking is also harmful when the truth is in fact false, an example is when people thought that Euclidean geometry was the limit of our dimension for thousand of years. Also, chess is invaluable to your intellectual growth, but the rules are established which the players are restricted, in other words, the roads are different but they lead into the same end.

    The trap is the notion that the establish facts are the absolute truth. We must be mindful of creating a road which lead us to believe this statement, because once that has been established in an individual then the opportunity to reveal the actual reality is closed off.
    This post grammatical errors had been intentionally left uncorrected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by forzen View Post
    Also, this way of thinking is also harmful when the truth is in fact false, an example is when people thought that Euclidean geometry was the limit of our dimension for thousand of years.
    Truth is by definition antithetical to falsehood. Therefore, all your example demonstrates is that people's perception did not square with reality. Nevertheless, science is constantly being updated. Something is only right so long as it is not wrong. Do you recommend that we abandon the project of science because history demonstrates that certain things believed to be true at former points in time turned out to be false? Certainly if it were not for science and technology you would not have a computer to type this very message on. Thus, you are among those who reap the benefits that science has brought. Therefore, you can argue for a higher standard of skepticism but only at the cost of being a hypocrite. And who wants to be a hypocrite?

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    Senior Member forzen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    Truth is by definition antithetical to falsehood. Therefore, all your example demonstrates is that people's perception did not square with reality. Nevertheless, science is constantly being updated. Something is only right so long as it is not wrong. Do you recommend that we abandon the project of science because history demonstrates that certain things believed to be true at former points in time turned out to be false? Certainly if it were not for science and technology you would not have a computer to type this very message on. Thus, you are among those who reap the benefits that science has brought. Therefore, you can argue for a higher standard of skepticism but only at the cost of being a hypocrite. And who wants to be a hypocrite?
    No, i'm stating that one should not establish anything as absolute truth. An example, if you do an experiment on an object, you would divide the facts from theories right? So in other words, you would be more than happy to get rid of the theories and continue using the facts and never question there validity. It's a simple concept, but this has trap many in the past. I'm just stating that facts are not absolute, i'm not saying not to believe it, but open yourself to enough doubt to question it. However, do have enough confidences on said fact to establish it as a credible source that matches the observation of the experiment that was done to prove its credibility.

    And your logic is flawed regarding the mindset on Euclidean geometry. You dismissed it as a flaw that society did not take the measure to validate to reality. But in actuality everyone thought it was the absolute truth and no one bothered to question it any further until Einstein, which he proved false with general relativity.
    This post grammatical errors had been intentionally left uncorrected.

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    psicobolche tcda's Avatar
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    Point of information: Not all economists agree that value stems from scarcity. The classical economists liks Adam Smith, David Ricardo, etc. and marxists, all agreed that value stems from human labour.

    But anyway, I'll let you get back to the topic at hand (that's just a pet issue of mine) :p
    "Of course we spent our money in the good times. That's what you're supposed to do in good times! You can't save money in the good times. Then they wouldn't be good times, they'd be 'preparation for the bad times' times."

    "Every country in the world owes money. Everyone. So heere's what I dont get: who do they all owe it to, and why don't we just kill the bastard and relax?"

    -Tommy Tiernan, Irish comedian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by forzen View Post
    No, i'm stating that one should not establish anything as absolute truth.
    Please point out my claim to absolute truth. With intuition I note that they are probablistic rather than absolute sources of knowledge. However, to increase my vulnerability I will now say that 2+2=4 given common mathematics as we know it, absolutely.

    Quote Originally Posted by forzen View Post
    So in other words, you would be more than happy to get rid of the theories and continue using the facts and never question there validity.
    This cannot possibly have been deduced from my post. Therefore, it must be an issue you have more generally. First, I regard both theories and facts as important (nowhere in my post do I claim that I'd sooner scrap a theory for a fact). Second, it is not the case that I never question the validity of "facts" (I do it all the time). If anything, I would expect one to surmise just the opposite: that this post suggests I am more theoretical than factual, and would sooner mistrust a stated fact then an elegant and parsimonious theory. But I understand both are crucial.

    Quote Originally Posted by forzen View Post
    And your logic is flawed regarding the mindset on Euclidean geometry. You dismissed it as a flaw that society did not take the measure to validate to reality. But in actuality everyone thought it was the absolute truth and no one bothered to question it any further until Einstein, which he proved false with general relativity.
    Hold your horses buddy. If anyone has committed a fallacy here it is you, by attempting to justify what is an ad populum fallacy. Poularity alone does not make an argument logically valid. That "everyone thought it was the absolute truth" does not make it true! It only means that everyone's perception on this matter until Einstein simply did not square with reality. Thus, you have not refuted my original statement on this matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    Please point out my claim to absolute truth. With intuition I note that they are probablistic rather than absolute sources of knowledge. However, to increase my vulnerability I will now say that 2+2=4 given common mathematics as we know it, absolutely.
    You state to use logic as a complimentary use to intuition. Logic is a deduction on the known to get to a conclusion. I did not claim that you stated anything, i simply added that one should be cautious about using facts in logic as the absolute truth. The error many made into believing something as the absolute truth had set human advancement for 900 years in the dark age. So it's not far fetch to ask people to reflect on the facts and not hold it as absolute because our reality is only as accurate as the interpreter.

    Mathemathical values are abstract, there is no absolute in reality. Every particles within an object has to be accounted for to compare to another object of equal value to be viewed as absolutely equal. Mathemathic simplifies the concept so it would be easier to understand. However, mathemathic is confine to the abstract and can only do approximations when describing reality.


    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    This cannot possibly have been deduced from my post. Therefore, it must be an issue you have more generally. First, I regard both theories and facts as important (nowhere in my post do I claim that I'd sooner scrap a theory for a fact). Second, it is not the case that I never question the validity of "facts" (I do it all the time). If anything, I would expect one to surmise just the opposite: that this post suggests I am more theoretical than factual, and would sooner mistrust a stated fact then an elegant and parsimonious theory. But I understand both are crucial.
    No it was not deducted from your essay, it was meant to be an example.



    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    Hold your horses buddy. If anyone has committed a fallacy here it is you, by attempting to justify what is an ad populum fallacy. Poularity alone does not make an argument logically valid. That "everyone thought it was the absolute truth" does not make it true! It only means that everyone's perception on this matter until Einstein simply did not square with reality. Thus, you have not refuted my original statement on this matter.
    No, it was not the popular notion, it was viewed as the limit of our dimension in our reality. That's why it held for ages, if it wasn't viewed as the absolute truth, people might have asked question which might be answered and human advancement might have experience unprecedented advancements much earlier. I could be in space by now!!

    So my question is, if no theory challeges a theory than what theory would it be more popular of?
    This post grammatical errors had been intentionally left uncorrected.

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    You have an interesting photo in this thread that interests me very much

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcda View Post
    Point of information: Not all economists agree that value stems from scarcity. The classical economists liks Adam Smith, David Ricardo, etc. and marxists, all agreed that value stems from human labour.

    But anyway, I'll let you get back to the topic at hand (that's just a pet issue of mine) :p
    Well, not human labor only.

    The general concept is human capital.

    If we can improve human capital through education, immigration, training, etc... then it will definitely improve the potential for the US.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcda View Post
    Point of information: Not all economists agree that value stems from scarcity. The classical economists liks Adam Smith, David Ricardo, etc. and marxists, all agreed that value stems from human labour.
    Do you think human labour is not scarce?

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