Friday, January 22, 2010

The Nature of Logic, Part 2

There is another feature of binary logic that is possibly not immediately apparent to the new student. It is this: there is a large difference between the access to true/valid conclusions and false/non-valid conclusions.

It might seem that true and false should be about the same: if it isn't one then it's the other. In computers, one or zero.

But the paths are far different. For a true/valid conclusion, there is only one combination of premise components that can succeed, those that are all true. If just one component of the premise, sub-premises, or axioms is false, then the conclusion is false. Truth is incorrigible that way; it tolerates no falseness. It is exclusively true/valid, top to bottom.

A false/non-valid conclusion is far different from that. There are many paths to falsity, and most of those paths can contain elements of truth. Any combination of truth and falseness, is false, not true. In this regard, falseness is not exclusive, it is very inclusive; it tolerates many paths to a false conclusion, in fact all paths except the one path that contains all and only true elements.

So truth is specific in a sense, where falseness is broad and pervasive. Truth must be carefully shepherded, crafted with care, skill and discipline. Falseness requires no such diligence. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that some folks are not able to see any truth in their environment; there isn't that much there to start with. It has to be cultured and nourished, with intellectual humility and in the spirit of honest pursuit of what is actual rather than what is sensory.

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