Re: PHIL: Dynamic Optimism as a tool in logical reasoning

From: Menno Rubingh (
Date: Fri Jan 14 2000 - 12:47:57 MST

'What is your name?' 'Dan Fabulich.' 'Do you deny having written the
following? (on Fri, 14 Jan 2000)':

> 'Do you deny having written the following?':

I admit it !

> If I read this argument correctly, all you seem to be saying here is that
> any statement which "clashes" with Dynamic Optimism is false. While this
> IS entailed by the truth of Dynamic Optimism, if by "clashes" you mean
> "logically contradicts," the claim seems so trivial that I'm not sure
> you're saying anything other than "Dynamic Optimism is right."
> Maybe you mean something broader with your use of "clashes"?

Yes, I meant it in a different way, namely:
Having established the 'truth' of the statement "D.O. is right" we can use
that statement in its turn as a tool to determine the 'truth' (or 'falsity')
of other theories. This is analogous to using e.g. logical consistency, once
we have decided that logical consistency is "right", as a tool help determine
the 'truth' of another theory (a theory other than the theory "logical
consistency is right").

With this new tool, we can (if we so want) do reasoning which makes less use
of other reasoning-tools. Example: consider theory A: 'John will never do
anything good in his life'. This theory does not logically contradict, nor
logically supports, in a direct way, the statement "D.O.-ism is right". Now
we go use the new tool to determine the 'truth' of theory A: we can say that
the theory "clashes" with D.O.-ism because it opens up no new positive
insights or possibilities for anyone which can be positively and usefully
exploited in a D.O. way to anyone's own benefit. This is equivalent to saying
that theory A does not provide a basis or foothold for expansion or growth or
any other kind of D.O. thing. Or equivalent to saying that the theory does
not give a person 'believing' :-):-) in D.O. any tools to use that theory to
achieve something 'Positive'. Or, in a more 'mystical' wording, equivalent to
saying that the theory does not shed Light on things, only Darkness. :-)
(Sorry, I do really mean this fully seriously; please bear with me in spite of
these last two sentences.) So now, in this way, we have decided that theory A
"clashes" with D.O.-ism, WITHOUT having made use of showing that theory A
logically contradicts or supports D.O.-ism (or vice versa that D.O.ism
contradicts/supports theory A). Having decided that theory A "clashes" (in
this sense) with D.O.-ism, we then immediately use this as our reason to pin
the jugment 'false' on theory A.

What I want to assert is that the above type of reasoning (which may sound a
bit simplistic, I admit -- but I just like simplistic examples :-)) is a solid
and permissible way to do logic, and that any conclusions drawn from this type
of reasoning are the same as one would get using the conventional
reasoning-tools and the conventional body of well-established 'knowledge' or
axioms. The new reasoning-tool merely provides a shortcut that enables one in
some cases to come to conclusions quicker -- but a longer chain of reasoning
using the other existing tools must always lead to the same conclusions.
Alternatively, I think that the kind of reasoning used in the paragraph above
can *at least* help as a tool to quickly make a first (limited-accuracy) guess
about whether a theory is 'true' when one has too little time (as e.g. happens
often in daily life) to do the full reasoning in the conventional way.

Very best greetings, Menno (

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