**Next message:**John Klassa: "Re: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?"**Previous message:**Mike Dierken: "RE: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't gr ok it?"**In reply to:**John Hall: "How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?"**Next in thread:**John Hall: "RE: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?"**Reply:**John Hall: "RE: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?"**Reply:**Gordon Mohr: "Logic & Culture Re: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?"**Messages sorted by:**[ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

I'm trying to recall a reference I saw about two months ago, but I can't.

Anyway, it was a cognitive psychology paper about exactly such

difficulties in understanding logical forms with people in different

cultures. In brief, some 19th Century eggheads asked some Central Asian

tribesmen some "simple" logical questions, and the tribesman weren't able

to give them the answers they expected.

Something like "all big towns have camels, this town has no camels,

therefore...?" And they expected to hear "therefore this is not a big

town." But the interviewees just didn't get it. The eggheads concluded

that these people had no concepts equivalent to "Western" syllogisms.

This was a brief summary of old research, so I don't know whether followup

research was done to determine if it was more of a language problem than a

cognitive difference.

-Matt Jensen

NewsBlip.com

Seattle

p.s. - I know this doesn't answer your question about how to teach people

logic :-( However, much cognitive research has shown that people learn

logical concepts much quicker if they are put into a familiar, everyday

context, rather than an abstract context. A common example is the Wason

test[1], where you have four cards and you want to guess their values by

turning over the minimum number of cards. Most people get this puzzle

wrong. But if you use the same exact logical structure in a question

about four people at a bar, and who orders what and who is underage, most

people get it right.[2]

--- [1] http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/nikolas.lloyd/wason.html [2] http://www.math.ksu.edu/~dbski/contem_mathOn Thu, 3 May 2001, John Hall wrote:

> > I was presented with this problem from a lady that taught logic at the > college level. > > About the simplest thing in logic is: > Given: A => B > Given: A > Conclude: ? > > What do you do with a student that can't answer that question? > > My reactions boiled down to: > a) dumbfounded that someone over the age of 12 who can dress themselves > considers that a hard problem. > b) anyone who can't get that will never get that and can't be taught logic. > Hand them a shovel. > > On the other hand, I have seen people that had trouble with: > Given: A => B > Given: B > Conclude: ? > > That seemed to be harder to understand, and for someone that misses such > questions I can think of ways to teach them, provided they could get the > first problem right. > > Any thoughts? >

**Next message:**John Klassa: "Re: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?"**Previous message:**Mike Dierken: "RE: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't gr ok it?"**In reply to:**John Hall: "How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?"**Next in thread:**John Hall: "RE: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?"**Reply:**John Hall: "RE: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?"**Reply:**Gordon Mohr: "Logic & Culture Re: How do you teach fundamental logic to someone that doesn't grok it?"**Messages sorted by:**[ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

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