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Old 27th May 2020, 11:45 AM   #1
AlexPontik
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Is this argument logical or not?

Hi all,

is the below argument logical to you (does it make sense), or am I wrong somewhere (p.s. yeah, I know it's a weird argument...).
All feedback welcome, but please keep it classy

Hypothesis:
A joke is funny if and only if:

1) When I think of it, it is abnormal.
2) When I feel it, it feels good.
3) I cannot experience it continuously for it to still remain funny.

Forward Proof:
Assume a joke is funny --> prove that all 3 above are true:
1) If when I thought of it, it was normal, it wouldn’t surprise me. Yet a successful joke always surprises me.
2) If when I felt it, it felt bad, it wouldn’t be a joke to me.
3) No matter how good a joke is, I can only experience it from time to time for it to be funny.

Backwards Proof:
Assume all three above are true --> prove it is funny
Start from 2.
2) it feels good. It belongs in the set of experiences I want to live.
1) I think it is abnormal. It is a surprise/unknown experience I want to live.
3)I cannot experience it continuously. It is an unknown experience I want to live, but once…or from time to time…but I’m not sure when…isn’t it ?

In the above text, by definition the following words provide answers to the following questions in life:
1.Think: If I calm down from emotion, what conclusion do I reach?
2.Feel: which emotions come to me?
3.Experience: within everything, it is me, it is the rest (rest = everything-me). What is my connection with everything, this time?
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Old 27th May 2020, 11:48 AM   #2
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Joking is an art. Art cannot, per definition, be quantified.

A joke is funny of you think so.
It may not be a joke to everybody.

Hans

ETA: Oh, and welcome here.
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Old 27th May 2020, 12:17 PM   #3
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Are you asking if the argument is logical in structure?

Or are you asking if the argument is a logically sound description of how jokes work?

Or are you asking something else?

---

If the question is whether it's logical in structure, we can get rid of the joke-specific references:

Hypothesis:
A is true if and only if
1) B is true
2) C is true
3) D is true

Forward Proof:
Assume A is true --> prove that all 3 above are true:
1) B is true
2) C is true
3) D is true

Backwards Proof:
Assume all three above are true --> prove A is true
Start from 2.
2) C is true
1) B is true
3) C is true

I'm not sure this argument structure is logical. But I'm not sure it isn't.
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Old 27th May 2020, 12:30 PM   #4
MRC_Hans
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Oh, and to dissect:

Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
Hypothesis:
A joke is funny if and only if:

1) When I think of it, it is abnormal.
False. Jokes can be about the trivial.

Quote:
2) When I feel it, it feels good.
False. Jokes can hurt you (even if, and perhaps especially, if you can see they are funny)

Quote:
3) I cannot experience it continuously for it to still remain funny.
False, some jokes are funny especially on repetition.


Hans
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Old 27th May 2020, 04:21 PM   #5
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If the question is whether it's logical in structure, we can get rid of the joke-specific references:

Hypothesis:
A is true if and only if
1) B is true
2) C is true
3) D is true

Forward Proof:
Assume A is true --> prove that all 3 above are true:
1) B is true
2) C is true
3) D is true

Backwards Proof:
Assume all three above are true --> prove A is true
Start from 2.
2) C is true
1) B is true
3) C is true

I'm not sure this argument structure is logical. But I'm not sure it isn't.
It is, because when all is said and done, when you say "if and only if", it's an equivalence. Essentially the proposition is "A <=> (B ∧ C ∧ D)". (Where "∧" is the logical conjunction operator. I.e., "and".) By definition of how an equivalence works it is itself equivalent to "(A => (B ∧ C ∧ D)) ∧ ((B ∧ C ∧ D) => A)". In turn, by definition of the conjunction operator, B ∧ C ∧ D can only be true if B, C and D are all true.

So basically what you wrote and I quoted above is pretty much just the verbose version of the definitions. So it's not even as much a case of it being logical, as it just being the definition of the operators involved.
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Old 27th May 2020, 04:30 PM   #6
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
Hi all,

is the below argument logical to you (does it make sense), or am I wrong somewhere (p.s. yeah, I know it's a weird argument...).
All feedback welcome, but please keep it classy

Hypothesis:
A joke is funny if and only if:

1) When I think of it, it is abnormal.
2) When I feel it, it feels good.
3) I cannot experience it continuously for it to still remain funny.
That said, I think the argument is unsound, as in, your premise is false.

The most obvious problem is P3. You attempt to define what is funny, but P3 is a part of your definition and it includes it being funny. That's circular. You'd need to define it in some way that avoids that, such as stopping feeling good.

But the biggest problem is that, even with the above redefinition, the categories you use for the definition are actually covering a lot more ground than you seem to think. Especially feeling good is covering a LOT of mental states, over VERY different neural pathways and even different chemical mediators in the brain.

E.g., if I were a furry, seeing a poster of an anthropomorphic cat with big titties might
2) turn me on, which is pleasurable, and
1) A human shaped cat with only two breasts, on the chest, is abnormal as hell for this world, if you have a think about it, and
3) well, I can't stay sexually turned on for ever, can I? After a while it will *ahem* go down, one way or another
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Last edited by HansMustermann; 27th May 2020 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 27th May 2020, 07:15 PM   #7
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I always lie on surveys like this just to maliciously skew the numbers because I think a lot of the other surveyed did too.
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Old 28th May 2020, 12:31 AM   #8
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Analysing a joke is like dissecting a frog. You don't learn much, and the frog dies.
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Old 28th May 2020, 03:25 AM   #9
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I only got as far as "when I think of it, it is abnormal" and couldn't define what that means.
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Old 28th May 2020, 03:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
Hypothesis:
A joke is funny if and only if:

1) When I think of it, it is abnormal.
2) When I feel it, it feels good.
3) I cannot experience it continuously for it to still remain funny.
A sunny day in November is abnormal, feels good, and isn't funny if I experience it continuously; but in fact it isn't a joke in any sense, because it's not funny if I experience it momentarily either.

Conversely, observational comedy is rarely abnormal in any sense, as it focuses on the humour of the familiar.

Since there are counter examples to your hypothesis, it can't be always true, regardless of the argument offered for it.

Dave
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Old 29th May 2020, 11:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
A sunny day in November is abnormal, feels good, and isn't funny if I experience it continuously; but in fact it isn't a joke in any sense, because it's not funny if I experience it momentarily either.

Conversely, observational comedy is rarely abnormal in any sense, as it focuses on the humour of the familiar.

Since there are counter examples to your hypothesis, it can't be always true, regardless of the argument offered for it.

Dave
Ah, you've missed a point.

In effect, your counterexample assumes that you have a "true" sense of humor. Based on your examples, you don't.

Or at least, your sense of humor does not correspond to the logical structure of "funny" as given in the OP.
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Old 29th May 2020, 12:29 PM   #12
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I am guessing that English is not the first language of the OP. I think he means something different than "When I think of it, it is abnormal."

Ward
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Old 29th May 2020, 03:25 PM   #13
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I note that this theory of jokes seems to ignore established classes of jokes.

1. Funny once.
2. Funny always.
3. Funny never.

There is probably some argument that puns fall into class 3.
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Old 29th May 2020, 03:34 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
I note that this theory of jokes seems to ignore established classes of jokes.

1. Funny once.
2. Funny always.
3. Funny never.

There is probably some argument that puns fall into class 3.
That's what makes them so awesome!
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Old 1st June 2020, 08:11 AM   #15
AlexPontik
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Hi all

I need to warn you from the beginning the below is a bit far fetched, so please keep it classy in your responses .


I use the following simple model to describe myself. Generally, I can:
1. feel, which ranges from subtle to intense.
How good and how bad I don't know , but the fact that there is this range is obvious to me judging from my life's experience. The specific point in the range which happens at any given moment, depends on the occasion.
For example, sleeping feels less to me than swimming, and swimming feels less than me hitting myself (and also the last one feels a bit stupid for me to do repeatedly to verify...)

2. calm down, which requires time to work, and when successful changes feelings to a less intense state.
How much time, I don't know , but the fact that I can't calm down instantaneously is obvious to me judging from my life's experience. How much time it will take for me to calm down depends on the occasion, and my previous state.
For example physical pain going away (i.e. stop feeling pain) takes more time , than putting myself to sleep.
Calming down is related to thinking, but when I am thinking, I am also trying to reach some conclusion after I imagine, feel, and calm down from emotion.

3. experience, which has to do with what I can sense happening in time to me.
How experience can be defined formally, I honestly don't know(despite my attempts in this text), but the fact that what I experience has to do with what I can sense happening in time to me, is obvious to me judging from my life's experience.
For example, when sleeping without dreams I don't have any memory of experiencing anything when I wake up.
Sleeping with dreams which I remember, I can sense in time, and remember the dream in some order in time (probably not continuous but still ordered in time).
When I am awake, regardless of the occasion, and how relative time may seem in the moment, I can feel time passing by.
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Old 1st June 2020, 08:19 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
I note that this theory of jokes seems to ignore established classes of jokes.

1. Funny once.
2. Funny always.
3. Funny never.

There is probably some argument that puns fall into class 3.
There's probably some argument that puns fall into all 3
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Old 1st June 2020, 09:34 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
Hi all,

is the below argument logical to you (does it make sense), or am I wrong somewhere (p.s. yeah, I know it's a weird argument...).
All feedback welcome, but please keep it classy

Hypothesis:
A joke is funny if and only if:

1) When I think of it, it is abnormal.
I order for to be funny it has to be abby normal....


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I AGREE








Someone had to say it.
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Old 10th June 2020, 12:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by The Man View Post
I order for to be funny it has to be abby normal....


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Someone had to say it.
In order for something to be funny it has to be normal, is what you wanted to write I assume (please correct me if not the case).

If you are walking down the street with a friend, and while we are walking, your friend steps on a banana, slips, and falls, before he/she slipped, he/she didn't expect to slip, or he/she would have tried to avoid it.
The normal thing he/she would expect to happen is to be able to still walk without slipping.
Is it funny to your friend? If it feels good (he/she doesn't get hurt just a slight fright), and is experienced once (he/she doesn't keep on slipping like it's his/her thing now), it is.

Something which was funny, can be normal after it has happened (you slipped, you fell, but nothing bad happened), but at the moment it happens, it is not normal. If something was normal at the moment when it happened, and at the same time it was funny, then people would be laughing hysterically all the time , which is not the case.
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Old 10th June 2020, 12:52 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
Hi all,

is the below argument logical to you (does it make sense), or am I wrong somewhere (p.s. yeah, I know it's a weird argument...).
All feedback welcome, but please keep it classy

Hypothesis:
A joke is funny if and only if:

1) When I think of it, it is abnormal.
2) When I feel it, it feels good.
3) I cannot experience it continuously for it to still remain funny.
While I don't want to put myself in the strictures of "if and only if" I think your formulation is close. I'd put it more like a joke has the potential to be funny if:

1) if it is logical
2) and it is unexpected

If you think about it for a moment, your #3 is simply an extension of my #2--the joke isn't funny after awhile because the surprise goes away.
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Old 14th June 2020, 06:08 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
In order for something to be funny it has to be normal, is what you wanted to write I assume (please correct me if not the case).
Nope, I wrote what I wanted to say which in itself was a joke.

Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
If you are walking down the street with a friend, and while we are walking, your friend steps on a banana, slips, and falls, before he/she slipped, he/she didn't expect to slip, or he/she would have tried to avoid it.
The normal thing he/she would expect to happen is to be able to still walk without slipping.
Why can't slipping on the banana peel and avoiding it both be normal outcomes based on the particular circumstances?

There an old saying in visual comedy particularly about the set up for that gag.

See the banana,
See the banana,
Slip on the banana.

Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
Is it funny to your friend? If it feels good (he/she doesn't get hurt just a slight fright), and is experienced once (he/she doesn't keep on slipping like it's his/her thing now), it is.
Watch some internet videos, people will at times laugh at their own pratfalls, even when hurt.

Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
Something which was funny, can be normal after it has happened (you slipped, you fell, but nothing bad happened), but at the moment it happens, it is not normal. If something was normal at the moment when it happened, and at the same time it was funny, then people would be laughing hysterically all the time , which is not the case.
The logical fallacy here is called denying the antecedent. Just because something that is funny can be normal does not infer that something normal must be funny.

As I think already noted above, observational comedy is specifically about finding what is funny in what is normal.
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Old 14th June 2020, 06:26 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
While I don't want to put myself in the strictures of "if and only if" I think your formulation is close. I'd put it more like a joke has the potential to be funny if:

1) if it is logical
2) and it is unexpected

If you think about it for a moment, your #3 is simply an extension of my #2--the joke isn't funny after awhile because the surprise goes away.
Right, particularly about the exclusion of the "if and only if" formulation.

Let's take the Three Stooges for example. While their antics may not be normal for the real world or even often their own given environment at the time. It is normal for them and even expected of them, yet still funny to people. So while some jokes or gags can get played out for some, for others there may be an expectation, that when missing diminishes the humor. While there can be pseudo formulaics in comedy (like the "triple" in comedy) nothing is cast in stone or universally dependable. From the subjects to the topic, from the circumstances to even the freshness (as you note) of the gaf or gag and of course the audience, all often have a greater influence on the comedic outcome than some logic or formula.
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Old 15th June 2020, 05:39 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Analysing a joke is like dissecting a frog. You don't learn much, and the frog dies.
It should have ended with “...and the frog croaks.”
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Old 18th June 2020, 04:35 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
It should have ended with “...and the frog croaks.”
Quick - a joke!

We should analyse it using the above formula!
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Old 22nd June 2020, 01:13 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by The Man View Post
Nope, I wrote what I wanted to say which in itself was a joke.


Why can't slipping on the banana peel and avoiding it both be normal outcomes based on the particular circumstances?

There an old saying in visual comedy particularly about the set up for that gag.

See the banana,
See the banana,
Slip on the banana.
because at the moment when you stepped on the banana and starting slipping, you expected to be walking, and not slipping, meaning an unexpected event took place for you (the others around you may have noticed the banana, for them the unexpected event is that you didn't notice it.
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Old 22nd June 2020, 02:09 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
While I don't want to put myself in the strictures of "if and only if" I think your formulation is close. I'd put it more like a joke has the potential to be funny if:

1) if it is logical
2) and it is unexpected

If you think about it for a moment, your #3 is simply an extension of my #2--the joke isn't funny after awhile because the surprise goes away.
If a joke has to be logical and unexpected, when you are reading a book on mathematical logic, which you haven't read before, what you read is unexpected and logical. Is this funny?

If I google "logical definition" I get the below .
Logical:
1)of or according to the rules of logic or formal argument.
2)characterized by or capable of clear, sound reasoning.
3)(of an action, decision, etc.) expected or sensible under the circumstances.

Are you referring to one of these definitions of logical, or do you mean something else? If the latter, please explain yourself a bit more.

My view is that logical arguments take time to formulate.

For example let's consider a little child, who just learned how to speak, and as children do, is trying to have some fun. Their parents, laugh when something the child says or does is funny, and don't laugh when it isn't and try to deter it from doing or saying the same thing. The child slowly learns how to behave in a way that is fun for its surroundings. This process doesn't stop when the child grows, the adult still does the same thing, but now it is not his/her parents who judge his/her behavior, but society.

Logic happens with time, as people find that there are words which when put in a particular order, describe what seems to be happening in the world for all humans. (e.g. if the sky is full with black clouds, there is an increased possibility it will rain, compared to when the sky is clear).
For everyday life, humans use what humans call "common sense", which means that the way an individual senses the world, has overlaps with the rest humans (else we couldn't communicate). The reason this happens, is that our senses are...common to a certain degree. (e.g. I like chocolate ice-cream, you like vanilla, but it is common sense that both vanilla and chocolate ice-cream, is still ice-cream)
For example most people blue is blue, the ones who think or say that blue isn't blue are at best ignored, or at worst treated.
This is why we say "words have meaning", most words meaning is common to us up to a point and open to interpretation after this point. The reason this happens is that our senses are common up to a point, and after this point depend on the individual's senses. (e.g. I like chocolate ice-cream, you like vanilla ice-cream, but if you say chocolate ice-cream isn't ice-cream...you are not making any sense).
In summary, I would say that our senses, with experimentation and communication, becomes common sense, and with thinking it becomes logic. (and please do correct me if you disagree with this last phrase)
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Old 22nd June 2020, 08:47 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
because at the moment when you stepped on the banana and starting slipping, you expected to be walking, and not slipping, meaning an unexpected event took place for you (the others around you may have noticed the banana, for them the unexpected event is that you didn't notice it.
First, simply being unexpected doesn't make it abnormal. In fact slipping on such peels became such a common expectation that it helped drive municipal ordinances and the creation of sanitation departments.


https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/...-comedy-staple

Quote:

Whether or not people frequently slipped on the rotten skins, the banana peel came to symbolize poor manners. Around 1880, Harper’s Weekly admonished anyone who tossed their banana peels on a public walkway, as this would likely result in broken limbs. In the book Bananas: An American History, author Virginia Scott Jenkins describes how Sunday Schools warned children that an improperly discarded peel would not only definitively lead to a broken limb, but that the person with the broken limb would inevitably end up in the poorhouse due to this injury. In 1909, the St. Louis city council completely outlawed “throwing or casting” a banana rind on public thoroughfares.


Second, if you are to hold to your formulaic claims then being unexpected by both it should be funny to both.

Third, the others around you, having seen the banana, or even having placed it there themselves, may well have expected you to slip. In fact a whole genre of humor, practical jokes, gags and pranks are enacted by the specific actions and expectations of others.
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Old 22nd June 2020, 09:21 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
If a joke has to be logical and unexpected, when you are reading a book on mathematical logic, which you haven't read before, what you read is unexpected and logical. Is this funny?
It could be but again doesn't have to be.

Even just considering "a joke has to be logical and unexpected" to be true that doesn't make simply what is "logical and unexpected" a "joke".

Please see the formal fallacy of Afirming the consequnt.


Originally Posted by AlexPontik View Post
If I google "logical definition" I get the below .
Logical:
1)of or according to the rules of logic or formal argument.
2)characterized by or capable of clear, sound reasoning.
3)(of an action, decision, etc.) expected or sensible under the circumstances.

Are you referring to one of these definitions of logical, or do you mean something else? If the latter, please explain yourself a bit more.

My view is that logical arguments take time to formulate.

For example let's consider a little child, who just learned how to speak, and as children do, is trying to have some fun. Their parents, laugh when something the child says or does is funny, and don't laugh when it isn't and try to deter it from doing or saying the same thing. The child slowly learns how to behave in a way that is fun for its surroundings. This process doesn't stop when the child grows, the adult still does the same thing, but now it is not his/her parents who judge his/her behavior, but society.

Logic happens with time, as people find that there are words which when put in a particular order, describe what seems to be happening in the world for all humans. (e.g. if the sky is full with black clouds, there is an increased possibility it will rain, compared to when the sky is clear).
For everyday life, humans use what humans call "common sense", which means that the way an individual senses the world, has overlaps with the rest humans (else we couldn't communicate). The reason this happens, is that our senses are...common to a certain degree. (e.g. I like chocolate ice-cream, you like vanilla, but it is common sense that both vanilla and chocolate ice-cream, is still ice-cream)
For example most people blue is blue, the ones who think or say that blue isn't blue are at best ignored, or at worst treated.
This is why we say "words have meaning", most words meaning is common to us up to a point and open to interpretation after this point. The reason this happens is that our senses are common up to a point, and after this point depend on the individual's senses. (e.g. I like chocolate ice-cream, you like vanilla ice-cream, but if you say chocolate ice-cream isn't ice-cream...you are not making any sense).
In summary, I would say that our senses, with experimentation and communication, becomes common sense, and with thinking it becomes logic. (and please do correct me if you disagree with this last phrase)
Logic is a rigorous formal language not a "sense" (common or otherwise) nor a method of thinking. Least not any more than thinking in French or English is a particular method of thought. Heck, common sense is an oxymoron as our mental sensibilities are as individual to us as our physical senses and their interpretations. Hence the development of language to try to give us a common basis to express what is specifically not common, our thoughts. Heck, if any measure of sense were in fact common we probably wouldn't be so dependent on language, and rigorous formal languages in particular, to try to make sense of things.


Take ants for example. Communication is done chemically, common sensory apparatuses results in common action based on chemical stimuli.
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Last edited by The Man; 22nd June 2020 at 10:48 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 04:13 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by The Man View Post
Heck, common sense is an oxymoron as our mental sensibilities are as individual to us as our physical senses and their interpretations.
Humans are pretty social creatures, our mental sensibilities are as individual to us as our physical senses and their interpretations, so long that they are not too individual to cut us off the group we belong in.

And when that doesn't happen, and our individuality meets the group sensibility, or further the human sensibility, this is what we call common sense.

It hasn't worked that bad for us if you ask me, I can't think of a better way for humans to be, we are different and the same, as long as it is fun.
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