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What's logic got to do with it?


Sep 23, 2018

Following on from Amanda Rush's post about "responses to the allegations surrounding Brett Kavanaugh and their surrounding aftermath", I was sufficiently impressed by something I heard on a podcast this week to stop mid-walk and share it.

Benjamen Walker was talking to Eugenia Cheng about her new book The Art of Logic, in the context of his entertaining and provocative series False Alarm! And she made some terrific points about linking emotion and logic, the most salient of which, to me, was that you cannot, logically and consistently, argue that an accused is innocent until proved guilty while an accuser is guilty of lying. Either both are innocent until proved guilty, or neither is.

"We have to presume the accuser to be innocent, until they're proved guilty," she said.

Of course, that's absolutely logical. Which is why nobody does it.

She goes on to talk about the relative consequences of false negatives and false positives, which also made total sense to me. Her book awaits me on my Kindle.

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Jeremy Cherfas

I work as a freelance communicator. In essence, I see myself as a translator. I speak Science, and I speak English, and I work hard to make the two understand one another. Mostly, I like to help people tell their stories. I'm a biologist by training and by inclination, and my main joy is applying that to food and the agriculture and industries that supply it. I also have side interests in economics and many other things.