Mind Puzzles Part II How Can There Be This Many Puzzles

Christ. Okay. The question here is, “if there is red on one side, then the number on the other side is even,” but it does not say “if and ONLY IF there is red on one side, then the number on the other side is even.” So the statement is true if the blue card has an even number on the other side, and still could be true if the 2 card has blue on the back.

So I have to turn over the red card, to see if it’s got an even number, and the 7 card, to make sure there isn’t red on the other side, since either of those two outcomes would disprove the statement. Right?

(What about the drinking one? If he’s 24, it doesn’t matter what he’s drinking, and if she’s drinking Coke then it doesn’t matter how old she is, so you need to check the 19 year old’s drink and the whiskey-drinker’s license. Is that right?)

The problem with this is that this is in the section “Intuitions are Unreliable”, and since these answers seem intuitively true to me, I’m forced to consider the possibility that my intuition might be wrong. We’ve got, again, three things that aren’t quite in concert — my interior rational thought process (which has done something that seems like it yields true results), my intuitive gnostic sense (which asserts that these results are true), and an external or social mechanism (what should I believe?) that makes me doubt the results.

Interesting. These notes don’t have the answers on them, so if you know the answer to this, like if this is a famous philosophy puzzle that everyone gets wrong, tell me please.

(The other ones — the Conjunction Fallacy, the Availability Heuristic, and the Base-Rate phenomenon are all things that I already know about, so I won’t go into them. One thing that I think is interesting about fallacies though, is one fallacy no one ever talks about is the Cat-Origin Fantasy, which is the fallacy that any noise caused by an object you can’t see is caused by a cat in the other room. No one talks about this one because it isn’t real, of course — of course, it’s logically not true, so it’s not a fake fallacy because it’s right, it’s a fake fallacy because no one would ever believe it to begin with. This suggests not juts the subheading of this section, but that a broad definition of formal and informal fallacies ought to include not just their fallaciousness, but that they are caused by a conflict between logic and intuition.)

(So, doesn’t that mean we should always trust logic? Intuitively the answer seems to be yes, but intuition is often wrong — as Gettier pointed out, there are plenty of ways that logic can get turned up into knots to contradict itself, and as the “Is My Car Where I Left It?” question suggests, at least at some level I’ve got to rely on intuition to conduct my life, otherwise I’d have to initiate a grid-based search for my car every time I left work, rather than just walking back to where I saw it last.)

(Isn’t it logical to assume that my car is where I saw it last? I don’t know, is it logical? Like, could I prove it through a set of formal propositions? I don’t know, but I’m also not going to bother trying; the logical proof of object permanence is a dumb enterprise.)

Some oddities about imagination:

Look I don’t want to keep flogging my own person theories of brain-function here or anything, but all of these examples are potentially strong evidence of a suite of internal senses that don’t always agree with each other. I can, for example, have a visceral reaction to Hannibal Lecter because of certain responses based on sensory material, while at the same time some internal gnostic sense tells me that the thing I’m watching isn’t true. Another possibility: within the context of imagination, my brain asserts that Hannibal Lecter is true, which triggers my physiological responses, while another part of my brain suppresses other behaviors (like the urge to run away).

Same with Hamlet, or Oliver Twist — some internal aspect lets me consider these things as sufficiently real to trigger some kind of autonomic response, but then some other part, aware that this is part of a story (maybe) suppresses the desire to give up so that the current emotional state can be reconciled with a future emotional state. Imagine that the mind has a mechanism for delayed gratification for instance — something that says, “hold on, don’t do this now, the reward will be better if we wait.”

Maybe it was built to stop us from running blindly towards a watering hole when we’re thirsty and thus saving us from getting eaten by anacondas or something, I don’t know, doesn’t matter. Such a mechanism, if it exists, could intervene when we see Hannibal Lecter and say, “sure, I know this is scary now, but the experience of relief for this fear will be extremely satisfying” and advise us not to walk away from what we’re seeing.

This makes it sound maybe more intentional than I expect it is — I think that if you watch horror or tragedy films, and they have this kind of gnostic-sense, or maybe “gnostic sense profile” where we feel them as real in some respects but not in others, then you via experience learn to enjoy the experience when tragedy is relieved or horror is consummated or what have you, and your brain recognizes “watching horror” as the unpleasant prequel to a pleasurable experience, which it then pursues.