Re: virus: Rationality

Wright, James 7929 (
Sat, 15 Mar 97 23:37:00 EST

David McFadzean[] wrote:
<snip first part>
>While re-reading parts of W.W.Bartley's "The Retreat to Commitment"
>to research an upcoming message on metacontexts for the Buddhism vs.
>Objectism thread, I came across the answer to your question:

> Ordinary logic includes both the law of non-contradiction[3] and the
> law of the excluded middle[4]. Of the two, our minimal logic would
> have to retain the law of non-contradiction as a metalinguistic rule
> governing the argument situation: for if contradictions were
> permitted, falsity could not be retransmitted and criticism in the
> sense intended would be impossible.

>So there you have it, a logic that permitted contradictions would be
>useless for its intended purpose. (Which isn't to say that it might
>not be useful for something else.)

It would not be a logic, then, by definition. It would probably not be
useless. The fallacy of the excluded middle can be easily demonstrated in
many contexts. The fallacy of excluded contradiction is only apparent in
specialized ones.
Dualistic thinking allows certain deductions that are useful in dealing
with the world. It handicaps one in thinking about one's own nature. Are
you really certain that you know your own nature so well that you can
positively state your own:
1) Murderousness? (in self-defense? In defense of helpless others? In
defense of those you love?)
2) Criminality? (if no one was looking? If no one would ever know? If in
pursuit of a true criminal?)
3) Honesty? (in telling a sick child of impending death? In telling a
known murderer where his proposed next victim was hiding? In telling an
acquaintance painful truth?)
Note that in these three preceding I am proposing dualistic categories,
criminal, ANYONE WHO LIES is not honest. This gives the 'dualistic'
thinking "You're either a murderer or you're not", "You're either a
criminal or you're not," and "you're either honest or you're not". Yet,
faced with the choices and categories above, we have whole armies of
murderers, criminals and liars running around in society.
My point is NOT to start a moral debate; it is to show the limitations
that dualistic thinking, and logic based on dualistic thinking, possess.
James Wright