Re: virus: Rationality

David McFadzean (
Thu, 27 Feb 1997 00:46:56 -0700

> From:
> Date: Tuesday, February 25, 1997 2:18 AM
> > So, "rationality" and "logic" are indeed memes that happen to be about
> > rationality and logic respectively (which aren't memes).
> I think this makes sense to me. Do you mean that the idea of Logic
> existing is a meme, but the actual process of such is not?

Yes, the idea of logic is a meme because it is a (transmissable) idea.
Are all ideas memes? I'm not sure, but I'll go ahead and assert that
they are, and see if I'm attacked :) Some memes have referents in the
real world, and I believe that "logic" is one of them. It certainly
is not as obvious as a meme that refers to a physical object; the
ontological status of an abstraction such as logic is tenuous to
say the least. I seem to remember a related discussion not too long
ago in the great Truth debate. I was suggesting that logic is a law
of the universe more fundamental than even the physical laws because
I found it easier to imagine a universe with a different set of physical
laws than different logical laws. Admittedly this isn't very compelling

> > Many humans are rational as well, in that they can behave rationally by
> > consciously following logical rules.
> So logic feeds the rational side of behaviour?

I'm not sure what your intended meaning is, but I would instead claim
that rational behaviour is judged or recognized by logic.

> > A few humans are "post-rational" in that they recognize that "logic" and
> > "rationality" are memes, and as such are imperfect descriptions of logic
> > and rationality. And that "logic" as a formal system is not and cannot
> > be justified logically, but is rather a complex and beautiful set of
> > mutually supporting beliefs (a meme-complex) supervenient on our
> > pre-rational brain. (Which isn't to say that hypothetical aliens wouldn't
> > arrive at the same system of logic given that their pre-rational brains
> > evolved in the same physical reality.)
> Hang on, does this mean that If I take logic and rationality to be
> memes, and realise how to bypass their effect, I would be post-rational?
> Is that good or bad? :)

That wasn't what I was trying to convey. How can you bypass the effect
of logic? According to my aforementioned intuition, it would be easier
to bypass laws of physics. Here's a biblical allusion I don't get to
use very often: you can't break the law, you can only break yourself
against the law.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus