What Is It To Think Correctly?

Some say that correct thinking has to do with avoiding “logical fallacies”. (And, implicitly, only that. This approach to correctness is particularly developed among mathematicians.) That is, of course, silly. Imagine a pilot in a plane. Suppose she avoids all logical fallacies. Where does the plane go? Nowhere. Thinking correctly is more than avoiding logical “fallacies”.

One needs more than logic, to proceed: one needs e-motion, or motivation (both express the fact that they are whatever gets people to get into action; the semantics recognizes that logic without emotion goes nowhere).

There is another, related, fallacy in thinking that correct thinking is all about avoiding “logical fallacies”.

Cartesian Thinking Gets Gobbled Down By Vicious Dinosaur

Cartesian Thinking Gets Gobbled Down By Vicious Dinosaur

Assuming correct thinking is all about avoiding “logical fallacies” assumes that all thinking is “logical”. It is not. Not in the sense of what “logic” has meant in the West for 25 centuries.

If thinking is “logical”, one has to generalize what “logic” means.

This, let me say right away, is what I view as the correct approach, and, you guessed it, it has to do with the usual suspect, Quantum Physics.

What is it to think critically?

“Critic comes from the Greek kritikos “able to make judgments,” from krinein “to separate, decide”. So being critical means to embrace the context of a case. So it is first about gathering “evidence”, namely facts.

Hence, to think critically, one needs enough facts. Namely all relevant facts.

One needs to have the motivation to gather all facts.

It is arrogant to think that other people are prone to “logical fallacies”.

Logic, the logos, is a discourse: it is a succession of symbols, and of operations. All can be labelled with numbers: this is the basic consideration which allows to derive the Incompleteness Theorems in logic.

So the logos is a recipe in a cookbook. It is not the cooking itself.

Cooking is a continuous affair, logic is not.

How come?

And how can one determine all relevant facts, before one has established the logic that will articulate them?

There, again, one meets the concept of emotion.

One could say: ’Oh, I will go Bayesian. I will use Bayesian Logic. I will run a first logic with a first universe of facts. If what comes out does not fit, I will add more facts.’

This is, de facto, what people have been doing, often completely in their heads (“thought experiments”). The problem is that the verficiation itself depends upon facts, logic, and what is considered relevant.

Is there more we can say nowadays?

Probably. How does the Quantum work? The Quantum works according to Quantum Logic. A Quantum Wave evaluates the entirety of possible outcomes, then computes how probable they are. That’s eerily similar to “thinking”. Well beyond the “logos”, lightening up the way, there is the feeling of what is probable, what factors, what facts, ought to be taken in consideration.


To think correctly means to grab all the facts that are relevant to the problem considered, and to do so, all the emotions which are relevant not just to finding the facts, but for animating the logic.

Moreover, just as with the Quantum, this means to think teleologically, no holds barred. Quantum Logic is continuous (as emotional spectra are), teleological (as emotions are), and countable, in the end, as “logic” in the conventional sense, is.

Thinking has been more akin in its functioning to how the Quantum “thinks” that to how logic, countable, traditional logic, describes the outcomes. Notice that the outcomes of the Quantum are (often, not always) countable.

Emotion is fully part of thinking. No emotion, no thinking. Full emotion, full thinking. More exactly, full thinking out to be impervious to all and any emotion.  

How can we guess one is on the right track to correctness in the matter of thought? Precisely by using the preceding. Full thinking can be detected, when it is thinking which can resist to all and any emotional approach. When all and any opponents will either agree in the end, or start to squirm, and whine the reasoning is unfair, controversial, out of place, one knows fully correct and critical logic has been achieved.

Yes, the French word débat, does not come just from “batre” (modern: battre, English battery).

“Débattre”, “debate” thus does not mean to go to battle, and beat up the opposite logic. It also means even to do so completely (“de”). To check for completeness, check for resistance to all and any emotion.

You want to think critically? You need to create a crisis, and it better lead to completely beat the opponent’s thinking, with better facts, obtained through more penetrating emotions.

So much for those who feel one should not make philosophy with a hammer (Nietzsche claimed he mad philosophy with a hammer; I prefer H bombs). Consul Clovis made philosophy with a battle axe (see the Vase de Soissons decapitation of the opponent’s logic). Today, we have to make philosophy with thermonuclear bombs, or we are not serious.

War is death. Be it war to people, or war to the planet, which boils down to the same. To avoid it, one has to completely defeat erroneous thinking, and that means embracing the totality of the implicit order.

Patrice Ayme’

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11 Responses to “What Is It To Think Correctly?”

  1. gmax Says:

    When Wittgenstein was in Cambridge, a full professor there, he would make fun of Descartes by saying: “I think, therefore it rains.”

    So emotion are like quantum waves, and the LOGOS like particles?


  2. ianmillerblog Says:

    Your first sentence is not soundly based in logic 🙂 Avoiding logical fallacies is part of correct thinking, but it is not all of it, and as Aristotle noted, your statements should include whether your subject refers to all, some or none of what it relates to.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Ian:
      Hmmmm… What I said was :”Some say that correct thinking has to do with avoiding “logical fallacies”.”
      Per se, the sentence is incomplete as the proposition I was proposing. One had to add “that’s silly”.

      The first sentence was just: CT = ALF.
      (Correct Thinking = Avoid Logical Fallacies)
      I am just said that is not correct.

      Frankly, Aristotle can go cook himself green eggs and hams. 😉
      As I basically said in “Aristotle destroyed Democracy”, we would have been better without him. Aristotle was the exact opposite of what Pericles and his philosopher friends, including his spouse, had perfectly understood generations before.

      Aristotle tried to think before equations. So maybe that’s why he would be confused by: T = AF.

      BTW, I know about Second Order Logic (Logic involving existential quantifiers such as “there exists”, or “For All”). My statement was First Order Logic.

      However, let’s some get confused, I will introduce some precision quantifiers, and I thank you fro the suggestion.
      (You should be happy you escaped my latest Putin broadside… :_(. Considering the declaration of the Guide today…)


  3. Smart thinking – something else to learn from our dogs? | Learning from Dogs Says:

    […] in a subsequent essay, What Is It To Think Correctly?, Patrice opens, […]


  4. Paul Handover Says:

    I must admit that when I first read this I struggled to understand, to think clearly, as to what you meant with the phrase “logical fallacies”. I heard the word rational trying to push its way in.

    Surely, it must be obvious to anyone that thinks about it, even for a moment, that thinking is about feelings first, and clarity of purpose, or action, later.

    Indeed, one gets a much better insight as to why a person thinks the way he or she does by asking them how they feel.

    Tragically, all about us we see too many examples of terrible thinking. Too many opportunities missed to put on another coating of thought!

    I think that’s what I mean! (Now where did I put my headache pills?)


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Exactly, Paul! You put somewhat better than I did. Thinking is indeed first about feeling. That’s what I tried to say (I have a small back-up essay coming, with more examples, some high brow, some, that I will add, more down to earth…)

      “Terrible thinking” is often about loudly saying something is correct, because it avoided loudly logical fallacies. (I should have explained Aristotle, himself a most terrible thinker where it mattered most, introduced the notion of “logical fallacies”) As you say, it should be, instead, about feeling right.


  5. dimvisionary Says:

    Thanks, Patrice, for a great post! And thanks for introducing me to technical terms I was unfamiliar with. Cheers!


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