Noncontradiction And The Trivial

​For those thinking logic is mind-independent and its laws absolute, think of noncontradiction.

Let’s agree with it, absolutely, which means that the universe is consistent, that for instance a shape cannot be round and square at the same time. In saying this, we agree that contradictions do not exist in reality and that they are only in our minds, a sign of incorrect or incomplete thinking. The law of noncontradiction then is likewise mind-dependent.

But consider that’s not as compelling as you’d like. If we were to say “The ball is completely blue and completely yellow but not at all green”, the solution, as Aquinas noted, is some distinction, any distinction that makes sense. Supposing the distinction is that the ball is simply coated in blue and then coated in yellow. Have we not shown at least that the LNC is trivial? We have also guaranteed this law is mind-dependent because it is completely contingent on our ability to provide rational, coherent descriptions having distinctions which resolve the contradiction.

It should be clear that unless purely tautological, there exist no real contradictions as any we find are apparent, that is while abiding with noncontradiction, which entails to agreeing to its mind-dependence by definition.

Should we say “The phenomenon of contradiction is not the law which governs it”, then one has to wonder why such a distinction would matter even though it is true. If contradiction doesn’t exist in reality and its resolution through reason, it is accidental rather than necessary and has nothing in reality to actually govern; minds are a way of talking about the products of brains much like hearts are ways to describe meaningful experiences and ideas, but in so much as they are objects in the world upon which a law of reality can govern is the question begged.

As for the law of noncontradiction and given its triviality, it is a principle which cannot be violated yet a situation that never actually occurs in reality, assuring us of its complete mind dependence. All that’s left is to evaluate its utility. It seems that if Aquinas is right, then absolutely abiding by it discounts the merit of actually thinking about how to resolve contradiction, because in finding one, we immediately give it up as being false under its Aristotelian employ. This is less than useful in many cases.

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