July  2007     Edition 27
When logic is illogical

Logic is supposed to be Logical.

  It must be the same everywhere … it’s like math.

Sometimes Logic isn’t Logical

.  Ever wonder how someone can conclude something that seems to be so illogical that you just can’t understand it and you might even say “you’re crazy, where is the logic in that?”    Sometimes the logic might be just “bad logic”, a mistake, it happens all the time.  However, sometimes there is another very valid reason for why Logic isn’t Logical.

Remember in a previous “Post”

we talked about Deductive and Inductive Thinking.  Briefly, with Deductive thinking, if the premise is true, then the conclusion is guaranteed to be true.  However, in Induction, the sum of observations, experiences and beliefs creates “Assumptions” (premise), and it is from that you draw a conclusion with only a probability of truth.

Suppose you visited a place and observed young adults walking on hot coals and being congratulated after their mighty deed.  You might easily conclude that they were nuts and their decision to walk on hot coals was irresponsible adolescent play.   Later however, you learned that they were taught and believed that walking on hot coals ensured good luck for years to come.  Now while you might not agree with that belief, you can now certainly understand the “logic” that was used to justify “hot feet”.  Heck, if I thought this would work, I’d do that before going to Vegas!  You can understand the logic, only after you examine the assumptions. 

You probably work with people, whose cultural background are very different than yours

, although perhaps no “hot coal walkers”  This means that their belief system, as well as many of their experiences, may be dramatically different than yours, so much so, that you might not even be able to imagine what life might be like with those experiences.

So What?

  What’s the importance in this?  Since people have different assumptions and belief systems, their “inductive thinking” may result in a conclusion that is different than yours, even illogical to you.  This would warrant Critical Thinking to examine the assumptions that led to the conclusion.   While you may disagree with their assumptions, it is in there you will find the difference and be able to make sense of their “logic” and the conclusion that was reached.

The Takeaway:
  People from different cultures have varied experiences and beliefs.  The “Logic” behind conclusions and decisions will be “Logical” when you understand all the assumptions and beliefs that led to a conclusion.   Take the time to ask what the assumptions are before you conclude that the logic is faulty or the person is “crazy”!   When you disagree with a conclusion or decision, you would do better to discuss the assumptions and beliefs behind it, not the logic or the conclusion itself. 

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