January 24, 2020

Edgar Allan Poe once argued that a certain chess-playing "machine" had to be fraudulent because it did not always win. If it were really a machine, he argued, it would be perfectly logical--and therefore could never make any mistakes! What is the fallacy in this? Simply that there is nothing to prevent us from using logical language to describe illogical reasoning. To a certain extent it's true that machines can do only what they are designed to do. But this does preclude us, once we know how thinking works, from designing machines that think.

When do we actually use logic in real life? We use it to simplify and summarize out thoughts. We use it to explain arguments to other people and to persuade them that those arguments are right. We use it to reformulate our own ideas. But I doubt that we often use logic actually solve problems or to "get" new ideas. Instead, we formulate our arguments and conclusions in logical terms after we have constructed or discovered them in other ways; only then do we use verbal and other kinds of formal reasoning to "clean things up," to separate the essential parts from the spaghettilike tangles of thoughts and ideas when they first occurred.

Marvin Minsky, "Society of Mind"
This is very simpatico with the "Elephant and the Rider" view. Rational thought is usually an after-the-fact assemblage (or rather, after-the-feel) to justify our actions and opinions to others, and also to ourselves.
So I used to always believe in the "time goes by faster as you age because each fixed interval is a lesser fraction of your life span thus far", but this article suggests it might be changes in the physics of the brain - roughly speaking our worn out old brains are just plain slower, and thus the real world is faster by comparison... (here's another article that covers that general idea and a few other theories...)