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The Laws of Thought

A Thematic Compilation by Avi Sion

Blog posts : "Logic"

1. The Foundations of Logic

 

Logic is founded on certain ‘laws of thought’, which were first formulated by Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher. We shall describe them separately here, and later consider their collective significance.

 

1.     The Law of Identity

 

The Law of Identity is an impe…

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2. Logical Relations

 

1.     True or False

 

Reality and illusion are attributes of phenomena. When we turn our attention to the implicit ‘consciousness’ of these phenomena, we correspondingly regard the consciousness as realistic or unrealistic. The consciousness, as a sort of peculiar relation betwee…

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3. Credibility

 

1.     Ground of the Laws

 

We began our study by presenting the laws of thought — the Laws of Identity, of Contradiction, and of the Excluded Middle — as the foundations of logic. We can see, as we proceed, that these first principles are repeatedly appealed to in reasoning and v…

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4. Paradoxes

 

A very important field of logic is that dealing with paradox, for it provides us with a powerful tool for establishing some of the most fundamental certainties of this science. It allows us to claim for epistemology and ontology the status of true sciences, instead of mere speculative digres…

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5. Double Paradoxes

 

1.     Definition

 

We have seen that logical propositions of the form ‘if P, then nonP’ (which equals to ‘nonP’) or ‘if nonP, then P’ (which equals to ‘P’), are perfectly legal. They signify that the antecedent is self-contradictory and logically impossible, and that the conseque…

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6. The Tetralemma

 

1.     The Tetralemma

 

Western philosophical and scientific thought is based on Aristotelian logic, whose founding principles are the three “Laws of Thought”. These can be briefly stated as “A is A” (Identity), “Nothing is both A and non-A” (Non-contradiction) and “Nothing is nei…

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7. A New Phenomenology

 

1.     Phenomenology

 

Phenomenology may be defined as the study of appearances as such. By an ‘appearance’ is meant any existent which impinges on consciousness, anything cognized, irrespective of any judgment as to whether it be ‘real’ or ‘illusory.’ The evaluation of a particul…

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8. Existence, Appearance, Reality and Illusion

 

1.     Appearance and Other Large Concepts

 

By ‘appearance’ is meant, first of all, anything and everything – but upon reflection, more specifically anything which ‘comes to mind,’ by whatever means. This is not a definition, but an indication. The term appearance is too fundam…

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9. Compatibility or Incompatibility

 

1.     Apprehension

 

Allied to sameness and difference are the concepts of compatibility or incompatibility, which underlie what Aristotle has called the three ‘laws of thought’ – identity, non-contradiction and exclusion-of-the-middle. How do we apprehend things (percepts, intui…

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10. Thinking Logically

 

1.     Logical Attitudes

 

Logic is usually presented for study as a static description and prescription of forms of proposition and arguments, so that we forget that it is essentially an activity, a psychic act. Even the three Laws of Thought have to be looked at in this perspect…

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11. Understanding Axioms

 

1.     Dialectical Reasoning

 

The three “Laws of Thought” may be briefly explicated as follows:

 

  1. Thesis: there are certain appearances; appearances appear.
  2. Antithesis: there are incompatibilities between certain of these appearances; in such cases, one or both of…

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12. On Contradiction

 

1.     Contradiction

 

Many people misunderstand what we logicians mean by ‘contradiction’. The contradictory of a term ‘A’ is its negation, ‘not A’, which refers to anything and everything in the universe other than A, i.e. wherever precisely A is absent in the world. The relat…

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13. Active Reason

 

1.     Special Status of the Laws

 

The three Laws of Thought must not be construed as some prejudice of Aristotle’s, which some scientific discovery – like the particle-wave duality or the relativity of space-time measurements – could conceivably raise doubt about or displace. Th…

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14. The Phenomenological Approach

 

1.     Appearance, Reality and Illusion

 

Phenomenology results from a realization that the building blocks of knowledge are appearances. This realization is obtained through a dialectic, comprising thesis, antithesis and synthesis, as follows.

  1. At first, one naturally regard…

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15. Fake Logics

 

1.     Poles of Duality

 

Concerning the principle, advocated by many, especially oriental, philosophers, that poles of duality (e.g. good-bad, light-dark, etc.) arise together – certain comments are worth making.

Oriental philosophers pursue a non-sorting mode of consciousne…

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16. On Negation

 

1.     Negation in Adduction

Concepts and theories are hypothetical constructs. They cannot (for the most part) be proven (definitely, once and for all), but only repeatedly confirmed by experience. This is the positive side of adduction, presenting evidence in support of rational con…

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17. More on Negation

 

1.     Formal Consequences

 

Returning to logic – our insight [earlier] into the nature of negation can be construed to have formal consequences. The negative term is now seen to be a radically different kind of term, even though in common discourse it is made to behave like any…

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18. The Principle of Induction

 

1.     The Uniformity Principle

 

Concerning the uniformity principle, which Hume denies, it is admittedly an idea difficult to uphold, in the sense that we cannot readily define uniformity or make a generality of it. We might speak of repetition, of two or more particular things …

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19. The Primacy of the Laws

 

1.     Briefly Put

 

Aristotle’s laws of thought cannot be understood with a few clichés, but require much study to be fathomed. The laws of thought can be briefly expressed as[1]:

  1. A thing is what it is (the law of identity).
  2. A thing cannot at once be and not-be (the la…

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20. Status of the Laws

 

1.     Ontological Status of the Laws

 

Discussion of the laws of thought inevitably arrives at the question: are these ontological or epistemological laws, or both; and if both in what sequence? Furthermore, what is their own ontological status – i.e. where do they ‘reside’, as i…

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