TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

All logic and reasoning is circular.

Let's say a child asks you a question. You answer him, and he questions your answer with "why?" The child continues to do this until, eventually, you are unable to give him an additional answer. The logic or reasoning ends, and you can only repeat giving him the same answer over and over. So even though logic does get you from A to B, all logic eventually comes to a circular Z.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_reasoning

So the idea is, no matter what your beliefs are, all of your logic will come to some sort of circle at some point.

And if a child played the "why game" with you, what would be your circular/final answer? Would the answer depend on what the original question was, or not? Do you have multiple circular logics?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jun 11 2013: "'Why' is a silly question." -Richard Dawkins.

    You can ask why there are mountains just as reasonably as why are there oceans. The question why is just a silly question, revolving around does it have a purpose. Nothing has a purpose unless we set it out to have a purpose. Why do we have planes? Because we have them serve the purpose of flying. Why are there mountains? Well, we didn't make them for our purposes so they do not have a purpose. They do however suddenly have a purpose if we set out for them to have a purpose, such as mountain skiing or hiking.

    Now if a kid repeats logical and justifiable answers, then there is actually a dead end, but the thing is we just don't know yet. We have been on this planet for dozens of thousands of years and it was only 500 years ago that we finally theorized the earth as not being the center of our universe. Why was it originally the center? Because we set it out to have a purpose.

    All in all, why is a question revolved around purposeful thinking. The "how game" can actually be rooted down to what we know so far. E.G.-

    How did we get here? We don't know yet, if we ever will.

    Why are we here? No reason at all, unless you set it out to have a purpose. If you are a theist then you set out the purpose of God to create the universe, us included.

    People seem to misconcept how the why question should be used. Why does the sun rise is not the same as how the sun rises.

    Why does the sun rise? no reason.
    How does the sun rise? It doesn't. Earth spins.

    It is not logical or reasonable to play the "why game" with something that we have given no purpose to.
    • Jun 11 2013: "Why"if doesn't necessarily always ask for purpose. It can also ask for cause and effect. "Everything happens for a reason" can be interpreted as with either about purpose or cause. A cause is a reason. When you answer "why" you use the word "because", which answers a reason, purpose, or cause.
      Example of cause and effect: Why did the car crash? Because the driver wasn't paying attention.
      That asked for a cause (driver not paying attention) to the effect (crash).

      "Why" is the cause, and "because" is the effect. The cause is asked, and the effect is answered.
      • thumb
        Jun 12 2013: I understand but you cannot ask why if the subject has no purpose. The car in your scenario had a purpose. Asking why is there a universe is not sensible because it has no purpose.
        • Jun 12 2013: Wouldn't asking why there is a universe be asking for a cause to the existence of the universe?
      • thumb
        Jun 12 2013: indeed, but there is no cause since we have not given it a cause.
    • thumb
      Jun 11 2013: I'd add: Asking a 'why' or 'how' should be founded on a purpose. Why you are asking why this is so? What will you do with the answer?
      It has been reasonably assured by science that there is no one description of reality, no one theory - we need an M-theory. There is no free will and there is no purpose disentangled from the intent. There is no objective truth independent of our observation even. It is tough to appreciate that but liberation is there in letting go of the ignorance.
      • thumb
        Jun 12 2013: I agree fully. As for M-theory, I'll believe it when it's proven. There is no solid evidence for it but I acknowledge they are working on it. As for now, I'll stay undeterred by the many many theories. M-theory is the one I do believe is most true though.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.