Submitted for the workshop Logic for Children at the 6th World Congress on Universal Logic, June 21-26, Vichy, France. 30 minutes including discussion.
Visualization as Restructuring and thus a Source of Logical Paradox
We survey and systematize the ways our minds organize and visualize thoughts. We then observe their relevance in explaining different kinds of logical paradox. We also show where they arise in math.
We were inspired by educator Kestas Augutis's vision that every high school student write three books (a chronicle, a thesaurus, and an encyclopedia) so as to master three kinds of thinking (sequential, hierarchical, and network). We thus collected dozens of examples of how we organize our thoughts. Surprisingly, we never use sequences, hierarchies or networks in isolation. Instead, we use them in pairs:
In general, a first, large, comprehensive structure grows so robust that we restructure it with a second, smaller, different structure of multiple vantage points.
In a separate investigation, we listed and grouped paradoxes. This yielded the following six themes:
Each type of paradox brings to light the fundamental gap between the (seemingly infinite) primary comprehensive structure and the (manifestly finite) secondary structure which organizes our vantage points. Our mind visualizes a qualitative but illusory relationship between the two structures.
These same six restructurings arose in a broader investigation which yielded 24 ways of figuring things out in mathematics. We identify the six restructurings with six axioms of set theory: Pairing, Extensionality, Well-ordering, Power set, Union and Regularity.