Sunday, September 26, 2010

Basic Logic 1001.1

It is sad that many people today do not know what logic is, and do not even realize that they are using logic even when they are not aware of it. With this in mind, I would like to go through the fundamental laws of logic which everybody presupposes from the time they learn how to think and speak. They are 1) the Law of Identity, 2) the Law of Non-Contradiction, and 3) the Law of the Excluded Middle.

The Law of Identity simply states that a thing "A" = "A". In other words, if I say "God", I mean "God" and not "Man", not "Animal" and not anything else. Here of course, we are talking about the concept "God", so synonyms and translations are still considered "A" even though their forms are different. So the fact that "Deity" is a synonym for "God", and that "神" in both Chinese and Japanese is also "God" does not contradict this rule.

In any form of knowledge or conversation, this rule is always obeyed. When I say "this ball", I am referring to a particular ball I am pointing to, not a flower in the garden. Even in knowledge and discourse of God, when I say "God", I am referring to (since I am a Christian) the Christian God, shortening the phrase "Christian God" to "God" since Christians only recognize one God as true.

The Law of Non Contradiction simple states that a thing is not "A" and "non-A" at the same time in the same manner. This is again a very basic law which everyone utilizes, except for Hegelians after they have learned Hegelian thought (and even then inconsistently — they do not utilize it on their bank accounts for example). If I say I have a ball, it does not therefore mean that I both have and do not have the ball at the same time in the same manner. If I have $1000 in my bank account, it does not mean that I have $1000 and also do not have $1000 in my bank account at the same time in the same manner.

In theological discourse, this again is always kept. If a Van Tillian says that Man's knowledge is analogous to God's knowledge, he does not mean that Man's knowledge is both analogous and not analogous to God's knowledge. If God is God, it does not mean that God is God and also not God.

The third law, the Law of the Excluded Middle, simple states that a thing is either "A" or "not-A", and not neither (in the middle). Here, we say that God is either God or He is not God; He is not neither "God" or "not-God". It must be seen here that we are dealing with total opposites ("not-A"), not antagonists ("A" versus "B"). Therefore, fire and water are (generally) antagonists, such that either one or the other can exist, yet they are not opposites. The opposite of "fire" is "not-fire", and the opposite of water is "not-water". The opposite of God is not Satan, but the absence of God ("not-God"). The opposite of "Man" is not "Animal" or "Inanimate thing", but simply "not-man".

These three most fundamental laws of logic are instrumental to any form of thinking or discourse. It is therefore not possible to even think anything apart from them, much less communicate to others without presupposing them. This is therefore why I say that epistemologically logic precedes God, for the very term "God" is nonsensical unless we assume all three laws.

If we say "God", we must obey the Law of Identity otherwise the word can mean anything anyone wishes it to mean. Whoever denies that this law is properly basic and does not precede the knowledge of God, to be consistent, must prove that the word "God" means "God" apart from appeal to that law (or any of the other two laws). Similarly, if one denies the Law of Non-Contradiction, then anyone can say that a person who says "God" is also saying "not-God" and that a sentence like "God is" also means "God is not". Lastly, whoever denies the Law of the Excluded Middle has no grounds for complaining when a person looks at a sentence "God is not Man" and says that the sentence can mean "God neither is God nor Man".

In conclusion, we have gone through these three basic laws of logic. When we understand these basic laws, we can see that it is totally impossible for anyone to think apart from assuming them as true. Communication would be impossible without presupposing them, and therefore epistemologically, logic must always precede God.

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