Is it the case that proposition "x" must either be "p" or "-P"?

 

Do you believe this for only SOME propositions?  If so, how can this assertion be a basic law of logic?

 

Do you believe this for ALL propositions?  If so, wouldn't just one example of a proposition that is both true and false prove the case is only true for SOME propositions?  Thus, if the example is shown, how can the assertion be a basic law of logic?

 

I'm hoping for your opinion and some serious, light-hearted discussion on the matter.

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This issue has bothered me for such a long time, I've known there was something not quite right about this, I just couldn't quite see the focus. However, I can say, your responses have helped me clarify it much better.

I have only recently been able to see where the problem lies:  An insistence to discard outright perceived contradictions in combination with relativism. I'm sure it numbers in the hundreds of people I have asked to "Point to an object at rest." In every single case he or she points to an object clearly knowing that that [object] is at rest. When I further ask "Would you also say that that [object] is in motion because it is moving with the Earth through space?" Nearly everyone admits that that is also true. The ones who stand steadfast (that it is not true) always mention something about relative perspective. But these individuals are very few in number. Believe me when I say that I hate to bring in Occum's razor, but the simplest answer is likely the best.  The majority of them required no advanced or complex mental techniques to see that the [object] is in fact at rest and in motion at the same time.  It's not really a problem for them, so why is it such the problem for the so-called intellectuals? You are correct that sometimes appearances can be deceiving. But on this particular case, what is deceiving is attributing false notions of relativistic perspective onto a scientifically provable scenario. You may call my method "lazy", but I say "Working hard for the sake of working hard is not smart when your work is overdone and wasteful."

I have outlined the scenario as clear as I possibly can. Reasonable people don't avoid obvious facts - not just obvious in this case, but a scientifically provable one. Reasonable people don't avoid a contradiction just for the sake of avoiding contradictions. Why? Because contradictions exist. Funny how only the learned insist on twisting basic concepts into something complex, unnecessary and ultimately wrong  [Damn Philosophers!].  It's only complicated because you (and others) make it that way by trying to force everything into a black and white fallacy - the 'excluded middle' box - no less by using the very concept of Relativism. You (and others) have admitted to this many times by saying things like "...they would simply agree that whether the cup is in motion or at rest depends on the perspective of the observer."  No. When exposed to the investigation, the majority are in fact fine with the contradiction.  One could only be playing rhetorical games by NOT admitting the facts. This case is not a contradiction by use of terms or definitions, but rather by reasonable, logical, provable scientific method.

I gotta know. Jason, are you a Relativist? Because I respect you too much to think you would fall prey condoning the addition of a repertoire of confusing concepts upon what you have already described as a fairly basic scenario.  Your example of the cup on the train only adds one additional aspect to the contradiction. It doesn't show that the contradiction doesn't exsist. The cup is at rest on the train while in consecutive motion with the train as well as also in motion with the Earth. And that is provable. Relativism is such the deep-seated human bias. It's funny that you bring up 'feelings' though. Because, the way I see it, it has to be 'feelings' alone which would cause someone to deny that contradictions exist and are provable. I would surmise, maybe it's because they need to 'feel good' about living in a Universe where contradictions don't exist.

Yes.  My method is condescending. But at least I'm willing to be condescending across the board with everyone. It's that wannabe philosopher in me. LOL   But, dare you say I am discourteous.

I found a decent article which helps describe from where I springboard my proposal.  http://www.newciv.org/ISSS_Primer/asem20jh.html

 

Though I ultimately disagree with Whitehead, I am rather fond of his "fallacy of mis-placed concreteness" presented in his book Process and Reality.

Marc, if by relativist you mean solipsist or postmodernist or somebody who agrees with the logically self-negating proposition that all points of view are equally valid or the nutty idea that we each create our own reality, then no, I am not a relativist. If you mean do I understand that things stand relative to each other such that prepositions are necessary and useful parts of language, then yes, of course.

 

The thing you just don't seem to want to get, Marc, is that there simply is no logical contradiction in your cup at rest/in motion scenario. There is no paradox. There are not two contradictory claims that are both simultaneously true. As I have, rather patiently I think, explained to you, the claim that the cup is at rest and the claim that the cup is in motion are, in short point of fact, two different claims with inherently and implicitly different points of view. And by point of view, I don't mean opinion, I mean literally the physical perspective which obtains by virtue of standing in a different physical location and looking at the same thing from a different angle. It's like the difference between looking at a piece of paper from the front and concluding that it is two-dimensional or looking at it from the side and concluding it is one-dimensional (ignoring for present purposes that it actually has a very small thickness). The piece of paper is not, in fact, simultaneously both two-dimensional and one-dimensional. It is the size and shape that it is, but where you stand makes it look different to you. Your cup motion/rest scenario is precisely the same. It is not what you seem to think that it is.

 

There is one objective reality, not one per observer. But different observers see different parts of it from where they are standing. The same observer sees different parts of it by moving around. How could it be otherwise? This is not mysterious or complicated; it does not require deep analysis. It does require the ability to take a cognitive step back and recognize that it's not possible to see everything all at once.

 

I'm sorry, but what you are attempting to do is pointless. You want to create paradoxes that don't exist and then create new logical mechanisms to account for them (never mind the fact that this would render logic fundamentlly illogical). You are literally trying to have it both ways, which is especially silly considering there are not two ways in the scenario you describe. The cup is where it is. It is moving the way it is moving. Incompletely describing its velocity in two different ways and thereby claiming to have discovered a paradox which needs a new form of logical accounting is just creating more work for yourself than it would take to more completely describe its velocity. Most people get this intuitively when you point it out to them. They don't see a paradox; they get that it's just a trick of perspective (and language). I don't understand why you insist there's a paradox when there clearly isn't one, or what you hope to gain from describing things in those terms. All you can do is confuse people.

 

If your aim is to allow atheists and theists to both somehow embrace the idea that there simultaneously is and isn't a god, and thus usher us into some sort of theological detente, well, that's been tried before and it doesn't seem to work. Steven Jay Gould's NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria) is arbitrary and overly deferential to religion. Religion and science are antithetical; they cannot be reconciled because they make contradictory claims about reality. They cannot both be correct, or even apparently so to the objective, discerning eye. Nor is this a simple matter of perspective. It doesn't matter where you stand on the issue. Science works even if you don't believe in it. Religion fails whether you believe in it or not, apart from some trivial placebo effects and other forms of self-delusion or autosuggestion.

 

By pursuing this agenda, Marc, it seems to me that you are the one embracing relativism by trying to paper over objective reality with merely apparent paradoxes. In effect, you are supporting the idea that there are, in fact, two simultaneously true and contradictory realities for each such paradox. This would be the end of understanding, not an extension of it.

Jason,I appreciate you answering my question so directly that you are a Relativist. I was hoping the link I posted (a short article) might help show that there has been a recurrent call for a new logical system for quite some time now. This call is by no means mine alone. Included with that theme over the last few decades has been at least one apparent agreement, regardless what informal system proposed: Scientists are going to hate it.
Included with this, there has also been a recurring theme throughout philosophy where methodologies tend to fall back into base dualities: Socratic vs. Sophist, Subjective vs. Objective, big 'B' Being vs. little 'b' being, Democrat vs. Republican (lol)... etc, etc. So, I'm more than intimating that: ideas, concepts, methodologies... that attempt a framework from a foundation spanning a plethora of useful categories work better (further into investigations on specifics toward specifics) rather than working from a base foundation of dualities begging for further sub-categories down the road. A somewhat lame analagy would be how to use a funnel. If you pour the liquid into the small hole, it pours out the wider end all over the floor making it so much less functional than if you flip the funnel over and use the wide opening. This was my intention in creating this thread: to emphasize the wider range of perceptions as a firmer base framework of logic. Dual concepts are going to come up. Dual attributes are going to be perceived. Dual perspectives will continue to be recognized. And, dual methodologies will be multiplied. But, I would rather utilize a framework which tackles these tendencies on the front end (and let them be classified) rather than continuing the trend justifying dualities from a strict logical one.

I will do my best to continue discussing this with you further. However, for the sake of this thread, I think that Drake's post is most definitely keeping within the focus. I will continue there.

Marc, it doesn't impress me that multiple people have been asking for what you are pursuing for a long time. Multiple people can be wrong and can persist in being wrong for a long time. Idiots like Deepak Chopra come to mind. Fantastically wrong about how the universe works, yet popular and persistent in their idiocy.

 

And you have yet to give an example in which what you propose will actually aid, rather than hinder, understanding of any situation.

Jason, I wasn't really trying to impress you here with the link.  This thread so far seemed to giving the impression that I might be the only one proposing what you think is such a crazy idea - a new logical system.  That's all.  Competition and coverting others does not motivate me.  But having a better understanding as life goes on does.  That is why I'm out here having such wonderful conversations.

 

As far as my proposal aiding rather than hindering understanding of situations, we did address that earlier when we jumped so far ahead to methods in general education.  But please allow me to continue this in reply to your last post.

Marc, I have read a fair bit of the back and forth in these posts and I can see very clearly that you are missing one major element: contextualization. 

 

"Rest" and "motion", to take that particular example, are not objective states. If you are discussing a coffee cup on a train, the exact statement is that the cup is at rest with respect to the train, while the cup is in motion with respect to the ground. It is not a fallback to relativism to recognize the discrete contextual underpinnings of each statement.

 

Rather, it strikes me that you are attempting to establish an objective reference frame with directional contextualization (which allows for multiple contradictory states so long as each one has a unique approach vector). This is a viable approach for integrating data from multiple sources, but I do not believe it is fundamentally distinct from the reference frames of general relativity. 

 

I would take this one step farther and strike at what I consider the very root of the challenge here: contradictions are not necessary to describe existence. From Hitchcock's approach and your own, the general argument for relying on layered contradictions is that "no other approach is available."

 

So I propose, instead, that all the contents of human experience (both physical and mental) contain progressive structuring which may be exactly described by a gradation from Nothing (a point of non-existence) to a given state. A common example would be how Kelvins count from absolute zero, but every other possible statement may be presented in the same way.

 

With the example of the cup on the train, the progressive description would use the momentum of the cup. The momentum of the cup is equal to the momentum of the train (it is at a relative rest), while the same momentum value is also greater than that of the ground (it is in relative motion). This description successfully eliminates the confusion of describing multiple differentials (rest, motion) at once. Contradictions have no value and cannot occur in a progressive description, so this would be an apt alternative to your approach.

 

I'm being a bit combative here, but I think that it may push you to see the boundaries of your thinking more effectively. While your approach does have merit has a data-handling scheme, I do not consider it to be exclusive from other such schema and definitely not fully representative of the structure of knowledge. My tendency is to dig very deeply into the foundation of theoretical frameworks and I think you could benefit from a sharper examination of the basic structure of your approach.

Drake, your response is exactly what I had hoped this thread might help produce - a sharper examination of the basic structure of my approach. I'm glad you moved this forward toward contextualization. I will admit it. I have put myself in the more difficult position here.

 
You are quite correct that the statements concerning the cup and train do beg for re-stating in order to expose the discrete underpinnings. But I hope by your mentioning "rest" and "motion" as not objective states that you mean they are not wholly objective, thus implying they are wholly subjective. I'm not presuming you do. So far on this thread I have been trying not to outright discount a basic concept of relativity, but rather tone it down to small roar by trying to re-state it without its tendency into extreme Subject/Object, mental/physical distinctions. And that tendency (as well as other dualistic systems) seems to point directly at the use of the Classical Logical model. So, you are correct that my proposal is not distinct from the reference frames of general relativity. In my model, general relativity is compelled to be broken down into parts first (by specific classifications on each specific investigation) BEFORE further evidence justifies a re-classification. This way, the whole model of general relativity is no longer a direct result of an Axiom in duality - thus lending credence to accepting only dualistic methodologies. Your progressive approach does describe more clearly the attributes associated with the cup/train case. But you come to the conclusions disintegrating "at rest" from "in motion" as both compatible but non-contradictory attributes Because you've accepted an axiom (Classical Logic model) which requires it - the tautology.

You stated that "Contradictions have no value..." And, of course, taking the strict definition that an entity or attribute cannot both be something and not something at the same time is self evident. But then, what's the point of even having the word 'contradiction'? We say "An elephant can't be a giraffe." Of course it can't. But we don't go around creating words for these self-effacing concepts. (i.e. 'agiraffelephant' is defined as an entity which is not both a giraffe and an elephant.) Shouldn't we then just rip the word 'contradiction' out of every dictionary? I'm saying contradictions exist because they exist at least as initially perceived (whether or not they are ultimately justified). And, at some point (in any model) perceived contradictions must be addressed. I don't see how we're doing ourselves any favors by putting off addressing these perceived contradictions further along in the model. You are correct "contradictions are not necessary to describe existence."  And I don't think they are always necessary which is why my approach still includes (T or F).  But I will not presume you mean they are not at least perceived.  I've come across so many contradictions (even if they only exist as perceived and not ultimately justified) as well as entire, monlithic-sized ideologies contradicting amongst and between, I am surely at my wits end continuing to condone denying their existence on the front end of a logical model - left only to be addressed somewhere further down the line - if that logical model (Classical) has only to offer an easily mis-used strict concept of noncontradiction.

Having said that, I must admit I like your approach with the progressive model in that "...all the contents of human experience (both physical and mental) contain progressive structuring which may be exactly described by a gradation from Nothing (a point of non-existence) to a given state. I would very much like to explore that further.  How do you see that defined in a new Informal Logical system?

Marc, why didn't you start with (and end with) this formulation: Perceived contradiction? If that is what you are actually talking about, it took you long enough to state it that way. My point all along is that there is no actual contradiction in your cup rest/motion scenario. That a contradiction is perceived is self-evident, but so what? That perception is clearly a wrong interpretation of reality, and once prompted pretty much everybody intuitively grasps the multiple frame of reference resolution to the apparent contradiction. Embracing contradiction, apparent or otherwise, is just a recipe for confusion.

 

And we are hardly putting off addressing the apparent contradiction in your scenario. It is the first thing we addressed by showing that it isn't actually a contradiction. The word "contradiction" exists for the same reason the word "problem" exists; even if we immediately resolved every problem to everybody's satisfaction, we would still need a word to describe the thing that needs resolving. Contradictions are no different. If they are resolvable, they need to be pointed out and addressed. If they are not resolvable (and some aren't), they prove that the original idea was untenable.

 

Also, I hope in describing me as a Relativist you are not lumping me in with the ridiculous postmodernists. Them would be fightin' words. In any case, you would seem to be the true relativist here, since you appear to want to simply embrace contradiction and be done with logic (though as I said above, if you just mean "perceived contradiction" then I have probably been misinterpreting you all along).

 

And finally, since when does perspective limit us to duality? Because things can be perceived from infinite angles, it's odd to assert that this forces us into a false duality. (And of course, embracing any such perceived contradictory duality without further analysis strikes me as much worse than having to deal with the contradictions to begin with.)

When I mentioned in an earlier post [What would be the least I would accept or the most I could expect when individuals choose to only take a basic 101 class and then move on in the world...], on the particular topic of religion, I would rather they be given at least some seed offering agnosticism rather than direct permission to only see the world as true or false.  I don't care if people believe in gods.  I really dont as long as their beliefs don't threaten my life with Holy Wars.  I started this thread because it seemed there was also this direct correlation to a long-time scientific call for a new logical system.  Right now, I don't see how my proposal threatens the scientific method (where other informal systems have).  The (T or F) is still the most relevant categories for conclusions in investigations.  My method simply allows those who will choose not to pursue science something, at least, in earlier education they can consider before going off to war for his/her hardcore absolute belief.  You have clearly made your point that you don't want people to be 99%er's.  I have heard a lot of you exclaim quite adamantly how important it is for you to make sure everyone knows that gods absolutely don't and can't exist.  I get it.  Good luck with that hardcore, absolutist approach.  I left that debate on the other thread for those who wish to remain focused on that specific question.

 

On this thread, I thought I had made it clear my proposal has no intention of purely satisfying the scientific community.  This is in the Philosophy Forum.  I did mention that my motives were more toward affecting sociological and psychological methodologies.  Philosophy, propositions, logical laws are not strictly unique to science.  We have been talking about 'perspectives' which must include 'perceived'.  I'm not sure there is any blame to be had here since you've responded so well as if you took these into account.  I asked you if you were a relativist because it wasn't clear if you were outright denying general relativity or if you fit like most into an overall tendency either in the Objective or Subjective primacies of that ideology.  By your response, you sound like you come from an 'Objective ontology takes precendence over the Subjective', but don't let me put words in your mouth.  I come from the opposite tendency - "Subjective ontology takes precedence over the Objective".  It should even give you a chuckle to know that I used to be a pretty serious Solipsist.  But nowadays, I'm not only balancing the two but trying to get away from that type of dualistic approach altogether.  I don't think perspective limits us to duality as you say.  But it sure does seem we allow ourselves that freedom (like it's already been justified) by all the thinking out there which show themselves as ultimately dualistic.  This was why I made my proposal the way I did - with the 4 categories.  And did I mention that scientists are going to hate it?  I understand how annoying it is to have to make concessions for what is obvious to scientists as unnecessary.  I understand how it appears to those who have made his or her way down long roads using scientific methods in order to determine actual, utilitarian truths.  But I think my model both satisfies the continued needs of the scientific method while also stepping away from giving people permission to codify what they perceive as knowledge into the false duality of only either true or false.

I do hope we are communicating a bit better now.  What do you think of Drake's suggestions?

I think Drake's suggestion of taking momentum into account is spot on, and I said as much above when I said, "The cup is where it is. It is moving the way it is moving. Incompletely describing its velocity in two different ways and thereby claiming to have discovered a paradox which needs a new form of logical accounting is just creating more work for yourself than it would take to more completely describe its velocity."

 

There is no contradiction in your cup scenario, period. Only imprecise use of language makes it seem so. Codifying imprecise language into a new formal logic is a giant leap backward for humankind. Doing so for the sake of eroding religious fundamentalists' lethal certainty of incorrect manias is doomed to failure, since fundamentalists reject this kind of waffling by definition. They explicitly reject any kind of I'm OK, you're OK thinking because it doesn't comport with their manichean worldview. If they were inclined to see the world in shades of gray, they wouldn't be fundamentalists. Again, I truly fail to see what you hope to achieve with your endeavor. Perhaps the cup scenario is throwing me off, and you'd do better to simply describe the kind of thing you'd actually like to address once your system was perfected. I really can't imagine how it would work in practice without some examples.

 

And of course what you are proposing would not actually threaten science in any direct way, because it would be utterly irrelevant to science. Indirectly, it would erode humanity's already abysmal ability to think critically, so just like the "creation science/intelligent design" crapaganda, it would pose a threat by making humanity less capable of following scientific reasoning when discussing things like the vector of a cup on a train. We should not be in the business of undermining logic.

 

And as for deconverting the religious, the one method that we know works is supporting logic and the scientific method such that religious people, who already think logically in some areas, begin to consider religious ideas from a more logical perspective. Chipping away at the illogic does make people more defensive to begin with, but it has a way of getting under the skin of those who are at all susceptible to elevating reason over faith. You can't dynamite the truly delusional out of their faith positions, so they are a lost cause in any case. Weakening our only deconversion tool to try to mollify the unmollifiable seems a fool's errand.

Jason, Many years ago, when I took the Analytical Geometry course, It was very exciting for me when the professor asked the class: "Does everyone here know what a point is? Yes? Yes? Ok. That's the last we will discuss it. Does everyone know what a line is? Yes? Yes? Ok. No more discussion on that topic." Analytical compexities should never replace what one inititally perceives as much as intital perception should never be thrown to the side because of the fun in complexities.

The side point Drake responded to: The 'agirrafelephant' word I used was only an example of recognizing that 'existence' is often confused by excluding 'real' drawings, definitions, mental ideas (beyond the 5 senses) as non-existent. I do agree that manticore, griffin, harpy santa claus, tooth fairy, etc... are not "real" in the sense that they do not fit in the exclutionary classification of the 5 senses. No problem. I agree with him. This moves this thread forward. It is irrational to say they aren't at least 'real 'in the sense that drawings, definitions, mental ideas are 'real' at least in the Subjective sense. Mental processes will expose 'realities' which exist beyond the 5 senses (i.e. radio waves). But those 'realities' are ONLY exposed by deductions based on other 'realities' which are perceived by the 5 senses. In more simplistic terms: gods are real as mental processes. Yes they are irrational but they cannot be so easily disposed of by hardline simplistic opposition. To rely on educative methodolgies which ONLY rely on 5 senses perception excluding the understanding of the 'realities' of mental processes is ultimatly falling in the wholly Objecive ontology. This the same as ONLY relying on the extreme subjective ontology. Gets a bit confusing which is why this is no simple topic to discuss. What is unfortunate is that: mental processes also produce irrational beliefs based on 'realities' perceived by the 5 senses as if they ARE 'real': gods. This thread has moved beyond dualistic distinctive tendencies. This thread is intended to entertain progressive ideas which expose the 'intersect' of mental perceptions beyond what one may deduce by ONLY taking an 'Objective ontology precedence over a Subjective ontology'.  It has moved beyond the converse as well.

I get your scientific approach. Dude, I really do. We can go on and on about the cup. But, when you are ready to accept that Subjective mental processes (no matter how irrational they may be) are 'real' identities people have; and you are ready to accept that "Subjective ontology is as equal to Objective ontology." I'm not sure our discussion will be fruitful to continue.

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