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This House Believes That The Law of Non-Contradiction Is Sound!

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 10/13/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,213 times Debate No: 63154
Debate Rounds (3)
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Shalom Alecium!

If you wish to change anything in set-up inform me prior to accepting, if you cannot accept at this time let the timer run out so that whenever we want to debate this, we can start immediately.

1. This is to debate the "law of non-contradiction" which is defined as: 'no two properties, statements, propositions, events contradictory in nature, can both be true at the same time. It is therefore impossible that A is B, and A is not B are both true, and there exists between them a formal exclusivity". My opponent may however bring forth any accurate explanation/definiton of this law, and I leave it to the judges to decide whether it is fair.

2. My opponent should start immediately, and should pass over the last round so that we have an even number of rounds. The burden of proof rests with my opponent to show that the law of non-contradiction is true.

3. Spelling, and Grammar alongside Conduct will not be considered unless there is an obvious, and important violation of them.

4. You need a minimum of 2500 Elo to vote, with a Select Winner option.

5. No intellectual dishonesty, trolling, or unfair semantics allowed. All terms are up for debate, and judges should cut points if they feel a certain definition is unfair.

I wish that bossyburrito does accept, I have been wanting a debate for a long time. While my entire argument will be comprehensible, and understandable by all I will for those few logic junkies be using a little but of logic. However in no way is the logic essential to my case, and I make it extremely clear, my argument that is.

Please accept bossyburrito! Best of luck!


This should be a fun debate.

I’ll start by stating that I’m comfortable with the formulation of the law of non-contradiction, as given by my opponent.

First, I wish to make clear the meaning of proof. In order to prove that something is the case, one must rely on prior premises – in order to prove that Socrates is mortal, one must hold that all men are mortal and that Socrates is a man. Likewise, the argument that all apples are fruit, no onions are fruit, and therefore no onions are apples only holds true because it is accepted that the conclusion can be derived from the premises.

How, though, are those premises proved? If it is the case that the proof of a thing relies on there being accepted premises to deduce the thing from, then you may either go on indefinitely with proving premises via more basic premises, or you may find a “bedrock” or sorts. The first is unsatisfactory, since an end can never be reached (and if this is true and nothing can be proved, it itself cannot be proved, meaning that it is false), but the second can be defended.

It can be seen, just by opening one’s eyes, that three basic things hold true: that something exists, that something exists that can grasp that something exists, and that the things that exist exist as something. In other words, existence exists, a consciousness that can perceive consciousness exists, and that the things within existence have identity. These things are implied with every action or thought one takes. These are axiomatic concepts – they are the point from which all proof comes. These are the most basic principles that are assumed in any discussion. If one says that they can be refuted, their argument is self-defeating.

Examine the argument that, for example, nothing exists. This refutes itself – the very utterance of that sentence shows that things do, in fact, exist. The argument that nothing has identity is equally pointless. If that which exists does not have identity, then it holds that it does not have a specific form or any specific qualities – it is existence without any existents. Any man can see that this is impossible, as existence without existents cannot be said to be existence at all. It is merely emptiness.

If it does hold true that things exist and that that which exist has identity, and that identity is the qualities those things that exist have, then it is known that those qualities are specific and real. For if an existent exists, and that existent has qualities, those qualities must exist as well – else the existent would be nothing at all. Qualities that are not qualities, also, cannot be said to be qualities.

If things exist which have specific qualities, then it holds that, in order for those qualities to be had, they cannot be in conflict with other qualities. For A to be all white and all black would for it to be neither, for one or the other must be chosen. An all white and all black entity cannot exist, by virtue of definition. If such an entity did exist, it would have a nature which destroyed the concept of nature. If it is all white, then for it to be all black would require it to not be all white – it can be seen, by any honest man, that these two qualities cannot be present in the same entity at once. If they were, the entity could not have a nature, since its nature would be one of non-existence (and such an entity would, therefore, not be able to exist).

A problem arises for he who tries to refute non-contradiction – since it is an axiomatic concept, all proof relies on it. Just as you cannot refute the existence of language by speaking, you cannot refute non-contradiction by assuming non-contradiction. This is a stolen concept – he who tries this smuggles in the very assumptions they have set out to destroy. If these things are vital to the refutation, for them to be refuted would also refute the refutation.

Any argument against non-contradiction relies on non-contradiction on every level. Take the phrase “non-contradiction is false”. If this is true, then it can be said that it is also false at the same time, since it being true would require things to be as they are and not as they are at once. If it is true, it becomes nothing other than an arbitrary mess. No proof can be said to refute proof – to say so would be to devalue any proof completely, including the proof which was made to do the devaluing.

It has been made plain that any proof against non-contradiction is impossible, as any such proof accepts that axiomatic concept in order to refute it.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for this round. To be clear I should note that my opponent has the complete burden of proof in this debate. This means that it is my opponent's burden to prove the Law of Non-Contradiction. S/he has provided no proof as such, and voters should take that into consideration. To say that a law is obvious, is not a proof. If anything I will argue that for too long we have appealed to intuition, and it has each time hurt the progress of human science.

One could easily say that the law of gravity is obvious. However even now gravity could be as Prof. Verlinde states not a force in itself but the result of entropy imbalance viz. entropic gravity. Or there could be a gluoun which would not seem to exist, but could cause gravity. The point is that my opponent has the burden of proof, and it should be seen as rude that he tries to place the burden to "disprove" on me. The person who is both Opposition, and holding the negative claim does not have the burden of proof. No matter how obvious it may seem, my opponent has not "proven" non-contradiction.

With that analysis let me rephrase the law of non-contradiction. My opponent agrees to the definition of non-contradiction set which states: 'no two properties, statements, propositions, events contradictory in nature, can both be true at the same time. It is therefore impossible that A is B, and A is not B are both true, and there exists between them a formal exclusivity.'

Let us phrase this as ~(P & ~P). That P, and not P are not possible at the same time. The Law of Non-Contradiction assumes two things: a. a binary truth value of 0 or 1; b. the attribution of this binary truth system to the analysis of said qualities. It then states that this formal exclusivity is applicable to everything. This is important, I will not show that the law of non contradiction is false, I will only show that it has exceptions, hence no longer giving it the sound status that it would have. The Law of Non-Contradiction like Newton's principles of mechanics are not incorrect per say, but what they attest: that they are "laws" is vulgar. Therefore so long as non contradiction is a "law" my opponent needs to show that it applies to all. I will show that there are exceptions, that this law is false in certain circumstances, and that is enough for me to win this debate. In fact since my opponent did not even give an argument, I de facto win this debate.

When we take ~(P & ~P) we assume the truth table as follows:
(P)--------(~P)------------------------------------------(~(P & ~P)
Or so had historians assumed it so. Let us add one more truth value, and then see the result.
1/2--------1/2------------------------------------------1/2 which by nature reducto ad absurdum 0

Thereby if the truth value of P, and not P is 1/2, by the law itself, since both will be considered true to a certain degree, the truth of 1/2 of the law will become 0. So if I may prove that P, and not P can both happen, I have disproved the law of non-contradiction. This seems a bit vague, but if you have the least bit sense of Logic it should be easy enough.

I shall start by explaining the fallacious grounding on which the law has been formulated. I will then attack that grounding, and by destroying that grounding, I shall destroy the law via. Occam's Razor. If I can disprove the base, then anything made on the base is unnecessary, and untrue.

As I said before the law of non-contradiction is not worthless, it is simply not a "law". This "law of non-contradiction" (from now LNC) is important enough, but it was originally formed by Aristotle in his Metaphysics to explain reality. Aristotle says on the LNC (differentiating it into two tiers):

"ontological: "It is impossible that the same thing belong and not belong to the same thing at the same time and in the same respect." (1005b19-20)
logical: "The most certain of all basic principles is that contradictory propositions are not true simultaneously." (1011b13-14)"[1]

As one can see this applies to Logic, and Ontology for Aristotle. According to our original (agreed upon) definition the LNC must be sound for: 'properties, statements, propositions, events' for bossyburrito's position to be the winning one. I will tackle the first, and the last of these two. I will tackle the Ontological aspect of LNC, and thereby showing that the LNC as agreed upon is unsound.

This LNC as my opponent himself/herself states is in fact an axiom of intuition. It is garnered from experience, and then follow up reason. Richard Feynman once wrote that the transition of science from experience to reason was perhaps the most important achievement of the 20th century. Einstein's theory of relativity, and modern Quantum Mechanics go against intuition in every way possible, and so my argument is precisely clear.

I will argue that there are indeed "events" which give objects "properties" which are real, and yet contradictory. I will also argue that there are "propositions" which are logical, yet contradictory. My argument will be enunciated by examples, and so I thought I would provide the underlying logic, which I have done above. Let us now approach the argument.


In the 20th century Physics was astounded by a most unusual discovery. This discovery was found in an experiment named the "The Double Slit Experiment"[2]. In this experiment an electron gun would be made to shoot electrons through two slits. The results were most complex. Instead of two lines of electrons being formed, multiple lines of electrons were being formed.[3]

This confused physicians for a long time. Finally they came up with a theory, which explained these particles, and could be proven by Mathematics. The name of this theory was, and is Quantum Physics. The explanation of the Double-Slit experiment is simple. It is provided by Richard Feynman:

"The electron did and did not go through the slit to reach the screen"[4]

Now this seems ridicolous. It seems strange, and we do not understand it. It is however the simple truth. The electron did go through the slit, and the electron did not go through the slit. In fact the electron went through an infinite number of slits, without ever going through a slit. Prof. Cox writes:

" may seem funny, and it is, but the simple truth of the matter is that the answer to the question: how did the electron go from the gun to the screen is, that is went through an infinite number of spaces, and times, and by that an infinite number of slits, without ever going through a slit...".[5]

This happens at the same time. It happens. This is a ontological event that the LNC does not explain. Similarly the list goes on with Quantum Fluctuations, Redshift Relativity, Multiverse String Ontology, and so on. The law of non contradiction cannot simple hold up anymore. By extension the electron will possess the property of having gone through the slit, and will possess the property of having not gone through the slit. Thereby breaking another rule of the LNC. This suffices in showing the soundness of my position.


Heraclitus denied the LNC.[6] Take the statement: "I can, and cannot step in the same river twice". This seems ridicolous but is a sound enough statement. After all if you step into a river, the river water has flowed, and even you have changed. Similarly when does a grain become a heap? If one has a heap, and one removes one grain, one still has a heap. By that extension a grain would be a heap.

In fact the LNC is overrated and does not allow us to make sense of many a thing. It would have us deny Quantum Physics, something which has been proven beyond any morsel of doubt. It is therefore that I oppose. Also because my opponent never gave an argument, and because I sufficiently shown the weakness' of the LNC I ask you to vote Opp.

Thank you.

[1]Metaphysics by Aristotle
[4]QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter
[5]The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw


On my “not having any arguments”.

This is far from the truth – I have shown that there is no way for one to refute (or even not accept) the LNC, as the very concept of doing so already assumes that the LNC is valid. If this debate were on the resolution “Language is real” and I argued that language must be real, given how both I and my opponent are using language to debate or to even hold opinions on the topic, I doubt the same accusation would be thrown at me. I have shown, without doubt, that the LNC is sound and must be sound, meaning that I have successfully fulfilled my BOP.

The issue of proof.

My opponent criticizes me for not providing proof of the LNC, even when I had specifically went over this point in my first round. Quoting myself, I said “These are axiomatic concepts [identity, etc] – they are the point from which all proof comes.“ I never intended to give proof from former premises, and my opponent seems to see this as a fault. He does not see, however, that I have set about validating the LNC as the axiomatic concept that it is – he has completely ignored this part of my argument. Note that nowhere in the opening round of the debate is it stated that I must use proofs to support my position – in order to fulfill my BOP, I must only show that the LNC is <em> sound </em>, and this can be done by showing that it is a self-evidency. This should be taken into account by any voters.

On the accusation that intuition isn’t “good enough”.

When my opponent says that intuition should not be considered to be a valid basis for reasoning, he fails to realize that reasoning itself is wholly reliant on intuition (intuition being the near-automatic grasp of self-evident truths). I’ve explained already in my first round why axioms are necessary in logic – if they are not assumed, logic as a whole breaks down, and, as a result, any “logical” argument against axioms gained by intuition is an argument against itself. If the LNC is not accepted, the reasons for its non-acceptance are, by definition, illogical, since the framework the reasons are justified in rely on the LNC in the first place. If things can both be and not be so, then no truth can be distinguished from untruth, making the exercise itself pointless.

Con’s use of gravity as an example is irrelevant, considering how the Law of Gravity is not a self-evident truth. It is a more-abstracted concept that relies on the self-evident axioms, meaning that it itself is not an axiom. I, in no way, need to defend every case of faulty reasoning (not that I believe the classical formulation of the LoG to be one), considering how most of them deal with non-axiomatic matters (which is beside the point of the debate). If it can be shown that a true self-evidency (true in the sense of the thing actually being a self-evidency) is false, then I will lose the debate. However, no such thing has been shown.

I just want to say this once more – every one of these arguments was already contained in my opening round, so if it sounds as if I’m repeating myself, that’s because I am. I am doing so out of necessity, because my opponent has completely overlooked my round and I must force him to not do so again.

On the Double-Slit Experiment.

I do not intend to refute certain interpretations of quantum physics by pointing out any specific flaws – I just need to show that those interpretations cannot be true in any case. If I can do this, Con’s argument can be disregarded.

If it is true that something both did happen and didn’t happen, then nothing can be said about it – it cannot exist, because it is, by definition, in conflict with the law of identity. I am not well-versed in QM, but one does not have to be to see why this interpretation completely disregards proper scientific methods. Firstly, science is wholly reliant on its base – the metaphysical principles that govern what it means to be at all. If the base is false, science cannot be said to be true. Likewise, if science does not cohere to its base, it cannot be said to be true. The relationship between the two seems fairly evident to anyone who things about the hierarchy of the branches of philosophy, and I doubt Ajab would object to me saying that metaphysics precedes physics.

If certain things in metaphysics can be shown to be true, then certain conclusions drawn from science will, by the nature of the relationship between the two, be false. Given the previous arguments I have given in support of the irrefutability of the LNC, it comes to reason that there must be some issue with the science being done. Science done that does not take into account the first principles of existence cannot be truly said to be useful in giving any conclusions about the things which actually exist. If they could, then there would be a conflict between the undeniable LNC and other axioms (which have been validated earlier) and science – and, since the LNC had already been validated, this situation could never occur.

I do not know exactly where science has went wrong regarding QM, but it is logically impossible for it to be right. Any arguments for it via experiment must have some hidden variable or other such unknown aspect to them that acts in such a way as to make the conclusions reached seem different to the actuality of the matter. Regardless of what it is, I have shown that Con’s arguments do not stand, given the primacy of the LNC.

On prepositions.

Quoting my opponent’s round, he says:

“"I can, and cannot step in the same river twice". This seems ridicolous but is a sound enough statement. After all if you step into a river, the river water has flowed, and even you have changed. Similarly when does a grain become a heap? If one has a heap, and one removes one grain, one still has a heap. By that extension a grain would be a heap.”

This is an entirely ridiculous example of equivocation – the meaning of the phrase is used in two different ways when it is evaluated. There are two meanings:

  1. I can step in what is commonly said to be the same river twice, regardless of whatever minute changes have taken place, since the general river shares enough similarities so that those differences are irrelevant in my use of language.
  2. I cannot step in the same combination of molecules twice, as doing so once would have changed the molecules.

As can be seen, neither one of these <em> individually </em> can be said to be both true and false, and it is only through language tricks that it can be said to be so.

Likewise, the problem of the heap of grain is a problem with language being used in different manners and in a flippant manner, not a problem with any particular definition that is clearly laid out.

Thanks for reading, and this is a really fun debate. Can’t wait to read the next round!

Debate Round No. 2


Ajabi forfeited this round.


How sad.
Please do not vote - I will see if this debate can be remade.
Debate Round No. 3
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
Posted by bossyburrito 3 years ago
I'm away from my house (and my computer) today. I'll challenge you tomorrow, alright?
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
Bossy, I want to do our debate.
Posted by bossyburrito 3 years ago
It's alright, really - we can just restart the debate and c/p the previous rounds.
Posted by Ajabi 3 years ago
*begs forgiveness on knees*
Posted by Ajabi 3 years ago
I am so so so so so sorry. Bossy I am so so sorry. My Blood Pressure was high again so with two hours to go I ser the alarm for an hour and went to sleep. I just now woke up. I am so so sorry. You deserve this debate man.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
In other words, the law of non-contradiction is by definition true insofar as definitions define and refer only to what they define (and not what they don't define) by definition. Any conception of "reality" which seems to preclude this necessity is simply ruled out (made logically impossible) by the definition of "truth".
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
The law of non-contradiction is implicit in the very definition of "truth". That is, truth is defined as truth, and not as non-truth. Thus, truth cannot be false (cannot be non-true), because that's not what it's defined as (we would no longer be talking about "truth"). Thus, the law of non-contradiction is true according to the definition of "truth".
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
Heraclitus denied the LNC.[6] Take the statement: "I can, and cannot step in the same river twice". This seems ridicolous but is a sound enough statement. After all if you step into a river, the river water has flowed, and even you have changed. Similarly when does a grain become a heap? If one has a heap, and one removes one grain, one still has a heap. By that extension a grain would be a heap.

This has to do with semantic ambiguity, not with logic. We can be unsure about these things without doubting logic itself. Until these sentences have definite meaning, the law of non-contradiction never claims they have answers.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
Keep in mind that a lot of what they say is logically absurd. They do a good job of outlining what we're dealing with (i.e., what we need to explain), but fail when it comes to the interpretation.
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