Logical Errors

David Musick (David_Musick@msn.com)
Thu, 26 Sep 96 17:23:41 UT

Sarah Marr wrote:

"We've had this conversation before, so I'm fairly sure I won't convince you
(anybody else wanna shout for my corner?), but you continue to suggest a
binary is/is-not pairing and then suddenly assert that each member of that
pairing is the same, invalidating your own pair-dichotomy. Huh?"

I'll shout for Sarah's corner (at least I think I am. Please correct me,
Sarah, if you disagree).

This reminds me of the logical "paradox" that a certain bunch of people get
off on. They have several ways of stating it. Here's one:

(a) Sentence 'b' is true.
(b) Sentence 'a' is false.

Is sentence 'a' true or false?

Now, they enjoy watching people squirm, trying to figure it out, because if
it's true, then it's validating sentence 'b' which says it's false, and if
it's false, then sentence 'b' is true and that's exactly what sentence 'a' is
saying, so it can't be false. But it can't be true either.

This is analagous to presenting someone with a red box and asking, "Is this
box black or white?" Of course, it's neither black nor white, it's red, which
is something else altogether.

And, likewise, sentence 'a' is neither true nor false; it is
self-contradictory (via sentence 'b'), and that is something else altogether.
The mistake was in assuming that "true" or "false" are the only options for
sentences to be. Not every sentence is true or false; there are many other
categories of sentences. But narrow-minded logic only has two categories;
true and false, and it is not adequate to deal with reality, which suggests
many, many categories.

- David Musick