There be dragons!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Little Logic


So how is it that we know anything is true? How is it that all things aren't just opinion?
Let's try some logic. Let's rule out those things which don't submit well to opinion such as mathematics, basic physics, and Keanu Reeves acting ability and focus only on that realm much subject to opinion and arrogance, morality.

There are three possibilities:
1. all things are opinion and nothing is true
2. some things are opinion and some things are true
3. no things are subject to opinion and all things are true

If all things are opinion and nothing is true then there really is no argument at all - b/c all things are simply the subjective view of the opiner. But how do we know that all things are opinion? Wouldn't this be a truth? So nothing is true except that nothing is true? The only truth is that there is no truth? That makes no sense.

So let's skip number 2 and go on to number three. All things are true and there are no opinions. But if there are no opinions don't people have divergent views on things (morality that is)? Then if all things are true wouldn't every view be true even if it diverges from another view? Am I right and are you right and is all quite content? Wouldn't the existence of divergent viewpoints indicate that not everything is true? Either I am right or you are right b/c we can't be both right and diametrically opposed to one other... that makes no sense.

So we're left with number 2; some things are opinion and some things are true. If so, then wouldn't the process be to convert opinion into truth? How best to do this? Wouldn't the best way be to find out what other thinkers and writers, respected and noted on the subject, have to say? To read them, determine what they are saying, discover what they mean? Surely it wouldn't mean to simply find flaws in their arguments, not read them, or dismiss them b/c they contradict our deeply held beliefs (such as the right to have long hair or the right to be sexually active).

Seems that, as Aristotle and Plato both point out, if the purpose of life is to be happy and if happiness comes through virtuous living and if virtuous living can only be discovered by hard work and intense focus then not doing the work, being satisfied with talent, allowing ourselves to persist in our own idiocy would not be the best way to become happy.

Just a guess, of course.

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