What is Possible?

I have an imagination and I’m not afraid to use it. I had an employee give me a button to wear with that on it- and I wore it every day at that workplace.

When I was much younger, relatives called me “Spock” because I would comment on human behavior with “That’s just not logical!” I was taught from an early age to use declarative reasoning based on deductive and inductive logic to figure out what was likely true or false.

Deductive logic builds boxes or frameworks that allow us to separate or differentiate bits of knowledge- we can identify mammals by certain characteristics, then we can fit animals into the mammal box depending on whether they fit those characteristics.

Inductive logic creates general rules based on observation and experience, and draws conclusions leading us to what we believe is true or not. Pressing my foot on the vertical pedal on the floor of the Driver’s position of the car makes my car engine work more- and if I do that while the gearbox is in Drive mode, the car goes faster, but if I do that in park mode, the car doesn’t move at all. I can induce that there is a mechanism involved that disconnects the engine from the wheels when in park, and locks the wheels in position. In neutral, the mechanism disconnects the engine from the wheels, but the wheels are not locked in place.

Using both types of logic is necessary for us to discover what is likely true or not- but they don’t help us figure out what is possible! Only modal reasoning with the addition of abductive logic can help us.

Abductive logic looks for the best explanation that fits the data that doesn’t fit our current model. This creates a new, better model for us to work with. Abductive logic looks for what is possible and frees us from the chains of what we think is the only way. We create experiments to disprove what is possible, with a consequence of rich results that suddenly provide us with a bunch of never-before considered options.

To find what is possible, look for stuff that doesn’t fit into our differentiated boxes- these insights will help us form a new and better model. Then, experiment to disprove. An amazing thing will happen- you’ll learn that the universe doesn’t fall apart when you try something different.