When I was in school I studied mathematical logic and proofs, thinking on how to prove stuff on my own as practice.

This can be useful to be able to influence others visa logical, undeceitful thought.

However, there is a catch. If the other person is unable to follow your reasoning, convincing someone this way won't help. After all, ask those years of practice will mean you will have a skull which will not be appreciated by others.

In the end, what influences the population at large is marketing techniques, not logic.

I would like to know your perspectives on this point of view, arguments in regard to this matter or counterexamples.

I hope to encounter positive constructive examples in your answers.


closed as too broad by Daniel R. Collins, Amy B, user173, Dirk, JoeTaxpayer Jun 25 '16 at 15:34

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    $\begingroup$ It is indeed true that we want to know both what is true, and how to persuade others of these truths. And, yes, bullying, rhetoric, appeals to patriotism or deities or ... are usually more effective than appeals to reason. The human animal. But, in fact, the considerable corruption of typical "human thinking" is arguably not a good reason to play along, and just be a marketeer. Rather, indeed, as you observe, "cold logic", unless communicated effectively, is often less effective than a spirited rant that appeals to baser instincts. So, yes, effective communication is critical. $\endgroup$ – paul garrett Jun 23 '16 at 22:57
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    $\begingroup$ ... and in teaching math classes, at all levels, and writing, I try to think in terms of persuasive arguments that can succeed by their own force, rather than by the force of "my authority". It's not always so easy, in part because many people are exactly accustomed to appeals-to-authority, rather than direct persuasion. More's the pity. $\endgroup$ – paul garrett Jun 23 '16 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Paul, you got me. These were indeed the two points that were on my mind. So next comes the obvious question: "what should we do about it?". $\endgroup$ – Jack Maddington Jun 23 '16 at 23:05
  • $\begingroup$ The other perplexing thought. Several people cannot follow the logic of mathematically structured thinking. But this means our ways cannot be influential because not everyone is wired to be able to process them. This seems extremely disadvantageous, especially when we would like others to think like us, but can only succeed as far as our limited math / honest science circles go. $\endgroup$ – Jack Maddington Jun 23 '16 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ Give counterexamples to naive/incorrect conclusions, ... and be prepared to scoff at "the exception that proves the rule" pseudo-principle. But/and examples (X at Y compound interest for Z years yields (compute...) more than A at B compound interest for C years... . People can appreciate that one number is larger than another... especially if it's dollars. :) $\endgroup$ – paul garrett Jun 23 '16 at 23:34

I'd argue that "using logic" is a marketing technique in and of itself --- you just have to mind your audience.

Further, I would argue (abuse the definition) that "logic" is a relative term. Every system has its own logic. Some systems' logic would be deemed to be crazy, or illogical, as there do not appear to be any consistent set of rules or adherence to if-then type of clauses.

If you would like to influence a religious zealot, then you may have more luck using the logic of their religion than trying to use logic from another system.

If you would like to influence a mathematical zealot, then you may have more luck using a line of argument more inline with how a mathematical zealot reasons.

The "logic" that we often speak of, colloquially at least, is loosely understood as "a system of minimal contradictions and maximal reproducibility rooted in those things observed", ie scientific in its nature.


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