Aristotle


If you ask one hundred people about any given problem concerning our social and political landscape you are undoubtedly going to hear an incredible number of causes and solutions. The problem is that in the real world two plus two always equals four. What I mean by that is that regardless how people perceive things there is truth and there is falsehood. People's opinions do not change reality, and so when we hear a large amount of different solutions and causes for various problems we can know that a vast majority of them are false. This is precisely why we have so many problems in our social and political world. We listen to opinions rather than look at objective reality.

The great philosopher Aristotle wrote about what he called the three Laws of Logic: The Law of Identity, the Law of Non-contradiction and the Law of Excluded Middle. The Law of Identity states that things are what they are regardless of whim, opinion or desire. An Orange will always be an Orange no matter how badly you want it to be a Grapefruit. This seems like a simple concept, but lets apply it to something a little bit different. If I have two apples and you want three apples from me then no matter how much you complain, or threaten or coerce me, I will not be able to give you three apples. You can not take what does not exist. Physical reality is absolute and the whims of human beings can not change that.

The Law of Non-contradiction states that contradictory statements can not true at the time and in the same way. For example the statements the cup is all blue and the cup is all red can not both be true at the same time and in the same way. Again this sounds obvious, but consider the following statements: “Those workers got laid off because the manager was selfish.” “Those workers got laid off because the owner could not keep the store open with all the expenses that had to be paid.” These statements are looking a the cause of the worker being laid off, therefore both statements can not be true. Despite this it is likely that you have heard both of these statements given as a reason for the same event exact event. In such a case you had to choose what to believe, but the question remains: is what you believed actually true?

The Law of Excluded Middle is very similar to the Law of Non-contradiction, it states that either a statement is true or its negation is true, there is no third option. This is sometimes referred to as Either-Or logic. For example The sky is blue, the sky is not blue, is a representation of the Law of Excluded Middle. One of those statements must be true there is no third option. Either the fruit is red or it is not red there is no third option. Why is it so important for me to give you a lesson in philosophy and logic? The reason is simple, people throw logic out the window when they become emotionally invested in a particular position. Assuming people want to believe what is true, then it is important that we have a groundwork for determining how we can know the truth when we see it.


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