Laws of Aristotle and Ladders of Wittgenstein

6 Apr

For those of you who like to read good fiction try The HomeWrecker Series ™

Off to a Conclusion: How you get there. (Part Two)

Aristotle created three laws of reason.

The First law: A is A!

It is called the law of identity.

A thing is a thing is a thing, and not any other thing. A man is a man and not a monkey or a fish.

Of course Aristotle did not know there is only a one per cent difference in the genetic makeup of a man and a chimp. I’ve been told the percentage might be somewhat less in my personal case.

The Second Law: A is Not Not A.

It is called the Law of Non-Contradiction.

A thing cannot both exist and not exist at the same time in the same respect. A thing can not be both true and false at the same time.

Of course Aristotle was born 2,300 years ago. Quantum physics is a pinch over a hundred years old. Only a babe on the first rung of Schild’s ladder

At least he indicated AT THE SAME TIME and IN THE SAME RESPECT.

If you want to read a really good presentation of Aristotle’s Three Laws of Thought. James Carter Dawkins does an excellent job in his blog.

Please allow me to share with you the stupidest statement I have ever heard in my life:

Wherever you are at: That is exactly where you are.

And now please allow me to share with you the wisest statement I have ever heard in my life:

Wherever you are at: That is exactly where you are.

By definition I am a Christian. I adhere to certain teachings of Jesus.

By definition I am not a Christian. I do not accept the concept of an omnipotent God. Nor do I believe in the divinity of Jesus.

By definition I am a Hindu because I believe Jesus may be a reincarnation of Krishna, which is believed by some Hindus.

By definition I am not a Hindu because I am not convinced the Hindu pantheon exists.

By definition I am a Buddhist because I believe he is the wisest wise man I have ever read about.

By definition I am not a Buddhist because I do not base my life on his teachings.

By definition I am a Hindu because I believe Buddha may be a reincarnation of Krishna.

Somehow I am a hopper full of is and not is all at the same time. Yet I am a very simple man — and not one iota of misgivings that I might have an identity crises.

The kick here is — And this is an essential truth to Aristotle’s Logic and an essential Non-Truth to Wittenstien’s modeling.

The most ridiculous of the three laws is of course:

Either A or —A

The law of the excluded middle.

A thing is either true or not true. There is no middle ground. The color wheel does not exist for Aristotle. The colors either are red or orange or yellow or green or blue or indigo or violet or black or white or grey. The graduations of color in the color wheel are not allowed.

Nor, I suppose are Collodictyon. This single cell creature can best be described by what it is not. It is not an animal, plant, parasite, fungus or algae.

Let us contrast this with Wittgenstein.

“What can be said, can be said with clarity: What can’t be said, must remain unsaid … The language defines the limit, beyond that limit is nonsense.”

Okay, you know and I know I am going to disagree with Wittgenstein too — But he is on to something.

I’ll get into that in the next blog.


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