As far as I know, there hasn't been too much philosophical writing on the difference between logical and chronological precedence. It is an idea that I developed on my own after seeing too many examples of sloppy thinking on many people's parts. However, there is a good chance I actually got this idea from some philosopher I read years ago. In any case, no matter who developed it, it is an important idea to understand.

I don't think many cultures, either on a common level or on an academic level, distinguish too well before something that logical precedes something, and something that just happens to happen chronologically before. In many situations, the difference isn't important because one thing will be both chronologically before and logically neccesary to another. For example, a car must have gas in its tank before it moves. In every day life, this suggests that it had to have had fuel put in earlier, and that it will somehow use the fuel in the process of moving.

However, applying the same conceptual looseness to more abstract situations ends up in shabby understanding. For example, a figure must be 2-dimensional before it can be a square. But that doesn't mean that a formless two dimensional shape exists at one actual minute, and then the next minute takes on its completed form. That is, the logical before does not mean the same thing as the chornological before.

Personally, however, I always wondered why Greek philosophers used concepts of geometry to demonstrate everything, thinking perhaps it was a sign of Asperger's Syndrome. I use geometry to define my basic point, because it is an easy way to give an example. However, I hardly thought this all out for the purpose of geometry.

One of the best ways to apply this differentiation is in the idea of human identity formation. We all have an idea of who we are, and this idea forms what we do. This is true for both individual identities, and for group identities. However, it seems to me that we can not find out our identity, the logical precursor for how we choose to act, by looking in the chronological past. While memories do give us clues and guides, they can't totally define who we are, because eventually, using the theory that all memories are based on other memories, we eventually have to ask ourselves the question :who were we before we were anything at all? In traditional Christian society, this problem was circumvented by linking everyone into a surrogate tradition of identity going all the way back to Abraham, Adam and beyond. However, in modern secular society the causal factor behind our personalities is quite different, leading me to my second application of my theory.

Genetics is still the darling of modern science, at least in the media. I have also noticed that "genetics" has gained a quite nonsensical meaning in modern common speech. A few months ago, I was standing in line at the bank and I heard a woman say that preteen children were "genetically incapable" of standing still. A simpler way of saying this, I think, would be to say that they are "naturally" incapable of keeping still. But somehow in our common discourse, the sensical word has been replaced by the psuedo-scientific term "genetics". Why has "genetics" taken such a hold on the modern mindset? Because it refers to the belief that our selves are the result of a force in the chronological past. If you looked in the mind of a 12 year old jumping from place to place, you would find many things: the belief that whatever they are doing at the moment is the most important thing EVER, the belief that the adults around them are too slow and worn out to realize what is going on, and other such things. From these logical premises, we get a logical conclusion that standing still is a waste of time, and as with any syllogism, there is no chronological distance between the premise and the conclusion. Looking for an answer in anything as ridiculous as neurochemistry, genetics or perhaps some biogenetic theory about how our ancestors lived on the plains of Africa is just another example of why it is important to know what you are thinking.

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