Paarth Madan

A medium to iterate on my own thoughts.


Posted at — Mar 14, 2020

I’ve been told on a few separate occasions that I’m too logical.

Naturally, my response is, “I can’t be too logical – I’m either logical or illogical”, to which they say something to the effect of “see, exactly…”.

While the scenario seems funny, on reflection I’ve noticed that this has been a point of contention a handful of times – significant enough that I want to do an analysis on it.

While in the past I’ve rejected this claim, I’ll be using logic to breakdown why my view isn’t necessarily the only correct view, and that there are various world views and frameworks that people think through that differ significantly from mine. Hopefully this reflection is a sufficient exploration that provides the grounds to improve my response in these situations, and position myself to better understand other perspectives.

It’s important to first analyse what makes me think in this extremely rigid, logic framework. It mostly has to do with my interests and education. I’ve always been drawn to mathematics, science, and computer science. These disciples, and many of the others ones I’m interested in, are built on systematic frameworks of thinking. There’s usually processes, or methodologies that are ingrained in how these disciples were built.

Currently, I’m pursuing further education in computer science, and as such, I’ve taken a number of logic and proof courses. I’m also taking a course in philosophical reasoning.

These courses have changed my understanding of concepts like certainty and soundness. These concepts are where my views diverge with others.

The notion of certainty, absolute truth, confidence, and soundness are usually misaligned, amongst differing views. Conversationally, when a claim is made as certain, it’s almost always not.

For instance, a common occurrence could be like, “What’s being served for lunch today?”, followed by some food. It usually turns out they were correct, as they were basing their answer off looking at the menu. Occasionally, though, someone might be wrong, for various reasons. For instance they might have confused today’s menu with tomorrow’s.

Mistakes happen, and that’s not the point of this example. Rather, that, people makes thousands of these claims everyday, presenting them with full confidence and certainty, when usually it isn’t as such. There’s only a few things, assuming there’s an assumed relativistic truth, that are certain. For instance, if someone asked me what I had for breakfast, I can convey I certainly had a bowl of oatmeal.

Now normally, whether someone is representing the certainty correctly or not isn’t an issue, but sometimes, precision matters – sometimes. I’ve had the tendency of nitpicking and further analysing whether a claim that someone makes is truly certain, and I occasionally miss the underlying point trying to be conveyed, as I instead become hypercritical of all the details.

While there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with ensuring the other person communicating is being as clear as possible, it does become a point of friction when asserting correctness hinders efficient communication.

The construct of certainty and absolute truth never bothered me previously, so it is likely the evolution of how I view these concepts that have changed. Not everyone I interact with thinks about these concepts in the same ways – no idea greater than any other.

It then, would be rational to attempt to understand their angle.

I’m not a deterministic machine, and so I can make inferences and read between the lines, even though I prefer not to.

Points are often misconstrued because of the accuracy or precision of the language, but it isn’t as helpful to point or criticize this. Rather probe and better understand what they mean.

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