Since the days of Aristotle, logic has been considered a cornerstone of civilisation.
Logicians have been highly respected (and despised) scholars, and while nobody particularly likes them, their intellectual credentials have generally been considered second to none. Despite the cavils of Tertullian, Martin Luther, Al-Ghazali and many others, critical thinking and philosophy has remained an important staple of the academic world.
However, logic scholars all across the world have been stunned and appalled by a recent discovery that threatens to not merely radically revise this time-honoured intellectual discipline, but rather, make it vanish into thin air completely!
How is this possible?
Well, it all begins, as all great stories do, in ancient Athens.
The ancient philosopher Aristotle famously coined three laws of logic.
1. Aristotle’s Principle of Identity
2. Aristotle’s Law of Contradiction
It is impossible for something to be, and at the very same time not to be.
Previous US politicians have all struggled with this one.
3. Aristotle’s Laws of the Excluded Middle.
This is where the s**t REALLY hits the fan!
In previous backward, primitive, pre-Trump days, it was commonly held that there is no middle ground. Either something is, or it is not, but it cannot be somewhere in between. Either you’re at war, or you aren’t. Either the economy is booming, or it isn’t. Either you’re winning, or you’re losing. Either the opinion polls are soaring, or crashing.
(These are all purely arbitrary and hypothetical examples, of course.
Or just arbitrary!)
However, logicians across the world have discovered, to their utmost, unimaginable horror, that the mythical unicorn of the excluded middle, which wasn’t even meant to EXIST in the first place, has finally been discovered.
Don’t underestimate the significance of this. The entire legitimacy of the field of logic rests on the non-existence of the supposed chimera or fabulous unicorn of the excluded middle.
So it’s no wonder logicians are in utter despair and going full Jonestown over this one!
Here is one important example of Donald Trump’s magic third option, the long-denied excluded middle, which threatens to send the whole house of cards crashing down forever!
Mr President, is it true you just shot a man in the middle of 5th Avenue, and got away with it?
FAKE NEWS! This is ridiculous.
Mr President, do you deny shooting this man?
I don’t have to deny anything! You are FAKE NEWS!
So you confirm you did shoot him? Is that what you are trying to tell us, Mr President?
I never said I shot him! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! FAKE NEWS!
Sorry Mr President, we are confused. We need to know whether you confirm or deny you shot the man on 5th Avenue.
Why do I have to confirm it? Why do I have to deny it? I don’t owe the dishonest fake news media ANYTHING! FAKE NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Other similar dialogues (mutual monologues?!) offer similar evidence: regarding Trump’s ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ comments, allegations the Trump Boom is slowing down, numerous purported leaks and even a baying horde of (not so) scurrilous allegations about Trump’s top pick John Bolton; who is alleged to be an unrepentant, warmongering swamp monster.
Oh, and the toupee!
Don’t forget the toupee.
Professor Smiggles justly, jolly, jowly notes:
The key point of interest here is that the President neither deigns to confirm the veracity of the proffered proposition (to wit, that he did indeed shoot a man on 5th Avenue and get away with it), nor to deny it.
So for the present, we may rightly deem that screaming ‘FAKE NEWS!’ does indeed a highly creditable alternative option beyond merely ‘the statement is true’ and the ‘statement is untrue.’
For millennia, mortal flesh have been unable to conceive that there could ever be more than two options.
This being so, the full historical implications of this astonishing discovery are at present simply impossible to conceive.
On the other hand, it may of course be that Trump is simply an evasive, equivocal old bugger who is impossible to pin down.
But I am quite sure I speak for many of my students, when I say that there is a lot to be said for just such unimpeachably virtuous heroes of the age!
More fun with Professor Smiggles here, with this free sample on Amazon.