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4 Limits Of Logic
John Spacey, October 25, 2015 updated on March 18, 2021
Logic is a formal discipline of creating and validating reason. The value of logic lies in its correctness. That is to say that formal logic can be shown to be correct, given basic assumptions about existence and knowledge. As such, it is widely used to prove theories, solve problems and make decisions. In some cases it's used to fully automate decisions. If logic's strength is its correctness, its limitations are related to its range. In many cases, systems of logic don't handle types of thought that humans can process with ease. The following are a few examples:
1. Partial TruthsMany forms of logic only handle true or false. Where rational thought can easily see a glass as approximately half full. Logic tends to give you, false that the glass is full and false that it is empty. It should be noted that some forms of logic, including fuzzy logic, can handle partial truths.
2. LanguageEach form of logic represents observations in a formal language of logic. These languages impose limitations that don't exist in natural language. In other words, logic languages can't represent or consider the subtleties of a natural language such as French.
3. UncertaintySome forms of logic fail to handle uncertainty, although this is studied by a field known as probabilistic logic. Any form of logic that can't handle uncertainty has difficulty with real world decision making because uncertainty is common.
4. Human PerceptionUsing logic to create something that people are passionate about such as architecture tends to have low value. It is notoriously difficult to codify perceptions such as aesthetics, emotion or cultural concepts. For example, if you were to write a movie review with formal logic, humans would typically view the results as lacking insight. Artificial intelligence could review a film by looking at people's opinions about similar films and assimilating them. Such approaches are a facade of judgment that can generally be viewed as low value.
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