Logical & Critical Thinking

with Professor Logic

Logical Absolutes

law-of-excluded-middle-law-of-noncontradiction-logical-absolutesLogical Absolutes form the very foundations of how we approach and understand reality. Logical absolutes are unchangeable absolute fundamental laws of logic. There are three logical absolutes which are the law of identity, law of non-contradiction, and law of excluded middle. Any human being that seeks the truth and wishes to be able to support their beliefs would do well to know and study these laws.

Law of Identity

The Law of Identity states something is what it is:

A = A

A certain rock is that rock. We identify the rock by our sense data, yet there is a true essence of the rock which exists exclusively apart from our sense data. So the rock is what it is independent of the attributes we ascribe to it. If no humans were around to observe the rock, it would still exist and its nature would still be what it is.

Law of Excluded Middle

The law of excluded middle says that a statement is either true or false. When someone states that a god exists the statement is either true or false but it cannot be both. The law of excluded middle ties in with the law of identity in this logic:

A = A, is either true (A=A) or it is false (A=/=A)

The law of excluded middle is not to be confused with a false dichotomy. A false dichotomy might state something like “either Christianity is true or Islam is true, can’t be both”. However there is the possibility that neither is true. A statement that has an excluded middle is Christianity is either true or false but it cannot be both.

Law of Non-contradiction

The law of non-contradiction states that two opposing statements cannot both be true:

A = A and A=/=A cannot both be true

Logical Absolutes and Time

Logical absolutes can be bound by time. So the law of identity might state that an apple is an apple. I might state that this apple in my hand is an apple and it would either be true or false by the law of excluded middle, in this case true. Then the law of non-contradiction would mean that if someone said my apple was an orange that their statement and my statement cannot both be true, so in this case my statement was true. Now imagine I eat the apple and digest it and excrete it as waste which is absorbed back into the earth. The truth of the prior statement of the law of identity is no longer true although it once was. The apples molecules have been spread out and chemically altered, it is no longer an apple. Also my statements about the apple which were once true are no longer true.

The statements made by the human in reference to the logical absolutes are not absolute yet the laws themselves are absolute and always constitute the reality of a thing or statement at a given point in time. Some have suggested that time is actually a perception we use to organize reality and that it does not fundamentally exist. This is called biocentrism, but it cannot be scientifically tested or proven yet.

  • Connor

    In the case of the Law of Excluded Middle, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that a statement is either true or not true? All false statements are not true, but not all non-true statements are false (square-rectangle relationship). The true-false dichotomy leaves out paradoxical statements and nonsensical statements and probably some others that I can’t think of.