[lit-ideas] Re: Can You Imagine 2 + 2 = 5?

  • From: "Andreas Ramos" <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 22:44:00 -0800

----- Original Message ----- From: "Robert Paul" <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>

I don't get what it would mean for someone to know a logical impossibility. Usually logical impossibility is a deal-breaker in arguments—to show that one's interlocutor is committed to believing in one if he or she continues down the present path is more or less like saying 'Mate in two moves, if you don't move your knight.' More or less, but not exactly.

As I said, I would have agreed with this for many years.

But I've noticed in the last few years that illogical or irrational thought (which you and I assume isn't possible) is indeed possible and it's disturbingly common.

You can't imagine that someone can think 2+2=5, yet if we increase the numbers (which doesn't change the logic sense), people easily imagine wrong percentages or results of large numbers.

And then there's politics and religion. These seem to thrive on logical impossiblity. The christian bible is a morass of illogical statements, riddled with logical contradictions. Yet that doesn't bother the believers at all.

We can stick to our principles and say "that's irrational, and therefore you've lost", but that doesn't go anywhere. They still believe their ideas and we end up having to deal with that.


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