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Betrand Russell doesn't understand logic

dylancatlow
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6/25/2015 3:58:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
One of Russell's criticisms of Aristotelian logic was as follows:

The Aristotelian system allows formal defects leading to "bad metaphysics". For example, the following syllogism is permitted: "All golden mountains are mountains, all golden mountains are golden, therefore some mountains are golden", which insinuates the existence of at least one golden mountain.

This argument is so absurd that it is hard to see how Russell could have thought it valid. It is obvious that the syllogism only insinuates that some definitions of mountain are golden, not that such definitions correspond to anything in reality. In other words, it insinuates that "mountain" and "golden" can both be ascribed to the same entity in principle.
HououinKyouma
Posts: 1,030
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6/25/2015 5:36:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 3:58:59 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
One of Russell's criticisms of Aristotelian logic was as follows:

The Aristotelian system allows formal defects leading to "bad metaphysics". For example, the following syllogism is permitted: "All golden mountains are mountains, all golden mountains are golden, therefore some mountains are golden", which insinuates the existence of at least one golden mountain.

This argument is so absurd that it is hard to see how Russell could have thought it valid. It is obvious that the syllogism only insinuates that some definitions of mountain are golden, not that such definitions correspond to anything in reality. In other words, it insinuates that "mountain" and "golden" can both be ascribed to the same entity in principle.

Well, Mr. Russell was the first Chomsky, after all.
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UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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6/25/2015 8:00:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 3:58:59 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
One of Russell's criticisms of Aristotelian logic was as follows:

The Aristotelian system allows formal defects leading to "bad metaphysics". For example, the following syllogism is permitted: "All golden mountains are mountains, all golden mountains are golden, therefore some mountains are golden", which insinuates the existence of at least one golden mountain.

This argument is so absurd that it is hard to see how Russell could have thought it valid. It is obvious that the syllogism only insinuates that some definitions of mountain are golden, not that such definitions correspond to anything in reality. In other words, it insinuates that "mountain" and "golden" can both be ascribed to the same entity in principle.

If the set of all mountains which are golden is empty, then the first two premises can be thought of as true, but the conclusion that some mountains are golden would be false. Therefore the syllogism is only conditionally true. Maybe that was his point?
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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6/25/2015 8:22:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 8:00:01 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 6/25/2015 3:58:59 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
One of Russell's criticisms of Aristotelian logic was as follows:

The Aristotelian system allows formal defects leading to "bad metaphysics". For example, the following syllogism is permitted: "All golden mountains are mountains, all golden mountains are golden, therefore some mountains are golden", which insinuates the existence of at least one golden mountain.

This argument is so absurd that it is hard to see how Russell could have thought it valid. It is obvious that the syllogism only insinuates that some definitions of mountain are golden, not that such definitions correspond to anything in reality. In other words, it insinuates that "mountain" and "golden" can both be ascribed to the same entity in principle.

If the set of all mountains which are golden is empty, then the first two premises can be thought of as true, but the conclusion that some mountains are golden would be false. Therefore the syllogism is only conditionally true. Maybe that was his point?

The conclusion that "Therefore some (real) mountains are golden" would only be implied if the original premise were true. But it's not, since it smuggles in the idea that golden mountains exist in the first place, thus affecting what's true of "actual mountains" (that some are golden) in a way that is clearly unjustified. So the proper syllogism would be "The concept of golden mountains are mountains, the concept of golden mountains are golden, therefore some concepts of mountains are golden."
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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6/25/2015 8:31:13 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 3:58:59 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
One of Russell's criticisms of Aristotelian logic was as follows:

The Aristotelian system allows formal defects leading to "bad metaphysics". For example, the following syllogism is permitted: "All golden mountains are mountains, all golden mountains are golden, therefore some mountains are golden", which insinuates the existence of at least one golden mountain.

This argument is so absurd that it is hard to see how Russell could have thought it valid. It is obvious that the syllogism only insinuates that some definitions of mountain are golden, not that such definitions correspond to anything in reality. In other words, it insinuates that "mountain" and "golden" can both be ascribed to the same entity in principle.

Oh puleeaase.

First, Russell's "analytic method" was an attempt to devise a logically ideal language and initially, his analytic methodology resulted in a view that every denoting phrase must denote, or refer to an existing entity. He was attempting to develop a system of philosophical language that was as precise as mathematics, a logical result of that endeavor was that for a sentence to be analytically true, it must necessarily be referential to an existent which the sentence can be true about. But that certainly doesn't mean that he actually thought that the true sentence "Unicorns have one horn" meant that unicorns must therefore exist. The subject was the proper use of analytic language in philosophy,

Second, this position didn't last long anyway, by 1905 Russell had published his landmark paper "On Denoting" which modified the extreme realism of his analytic method such that denoting phrases need not refer to an existing entity.

Third, as far as the informed go, Bertrand Russell is universally considered one of the greatest logicians that ever lived; it's preposterous to contend that he doesn't understand logic, especially based on a complete misunderstanding of a rather minor detail of his analytic method that he resolved shortly afterward.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,244
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6/25/2015 8:47:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 8:31:13 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/25/2015 3:58:59 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
One of Russell's criticisms of Aristotelian logic was as follows:

The Aristotelian system allows formal defects leading to "bad metaphysics". For example, the following syllogism is permitted: "All golden mountains are mountains, all golden mountains are golden, therefore some mountains are golden", which insinuates the existence of at least one golden mountain.

This argument is so absurd that it is hard to see how Russell could have thought it valid. It is obvious that the syllogism only insinuates that some definitions of mountain are golden, not that such definitions correspond to anything in reality. In other words, it insinuates that "mountain" and "golden" can both be ascribed to the same entity in principle.

Oh puleeaase.

First, Russell's "analytic method" was an attempt to devise a logically ideal language and initially, his analytic methodology resulted in a view that every denoting phrase must denote, or refer to an existing entity. He was attempting to develop a system of philosophical language that was as precise as mathematics, a logical result of that endeavor was that for a sentence to be analytically true, it must necessarily be referential to an existent which the sentence can be true about.

All of this is irrelevant, since his criticism of Aristotelian logic was founded on the assumption that it couldn't make valid conclusions given valid premises (indeed, that's the only way one can ever criticize a logical system). If Russell himself doesn't believe that the premise "All golden mountains are mountains" is true (because it has no actual referent), then he can hardly criticize Aristotelian logic for reaching a false conclusion based on it.

But that certainly doesn't mean that he actually thought that the true sentence "Unicorns have one horn" meant that unicorns must therefore exist. The subject was the proper use of analytic language in philosophy,


Why not exactly? The notion that "Unicorns have one horn" is analytically true.

Second, this position didn't last long anyway, by 1905 Russell had published his landmark paper "On Denoting" which modified the extreme realism of his analytic method such that denoting phrases need not refer to an existing entity.


That's good to hear.

Third, as far as the informed go, Bertrand Russell is universally considered one of the greatest logicians that ever lived; it's preposterous to contend that he doesn't understand logic, especially based on a complete misunderstanding of a rather minor detail of his analytic method that he resolved shortly afterward.

Lol, I know Betrand Russell understands logic to some degree, so I obviously never meant to imply that he doesn't understand logic period. He was a lot better at logic than most philosophers, it seems.