The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

The Entirety of Logic is Circular

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/20/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,601 times Debate No: 52979
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (39)
Votes (2)




Good evening,

Today I will be debating for the idea that all of logic is circular. I am very interested to hear my opponent's contentions.


Logic: Reasoning conducted or assessed according to a strict code of validity

Circular: Already containing am assumption of what is to be proved, and therefore fallacious


Hello Pro thank you for debating with me.

For now I'll just accept the challenge and wait for Pro's case
Debate Round No. 1


Hello Con, and thank you for accepting my debate.

Logic relies on assumption that nothing can be illogical.
This is because, in a hypothetical situation where logic does not apply, nothing can be said with certainty.
If we accept this contention as true, then within an illogical world, a logical one could exist. If we accept this as true, then logical and illogical truths could coexist.

I am interested in hearing my opponent's response.


Logic as you defined it is a path of reasoning within a strict code of validity.

Having accepted the debate I also accepted the definitions Pro is outlining.

Given so, My contention is with the first premise that "Logic relies on an assumption that nothing can be illogical". Later you state that within an illogical world a logical one could exist. This strikes me as fallacious because if you are asserting nothing can be illogical then there is no illogical world. Therefore your premise should follow

Logic relies on assuming nothing is illogical.
Therefore, a Logical world exists inside a logical world.

I Don't agree with that inference either however. Circular being as you defined it "assumption of what is to be proved, and therefore fallacious" We both can come up with many examples. The Axioms of Math, the presuppositions of Science (Laws of nature acted the same through out all time, etc..) and so forth.

I am Con to THE ENTIRETY of Logic... Much can be construed as circular. Hence Descartes reasoning "I think therefore I am" I would Argue the truest statement that can ever be made. In the effort to Logically ascertain the state of his own existence Descartes could find no deductive or inferred reasoning to absolute condition of his existence. But in the Action of thinking, and I hope to make this clear, the result of thinking can have circular logic and the reasoning can encompass assumptions,

BUT the action itself is free from assumptions. Therefore With the action of thinking, it LOGICALLY proves " I exist". and is non circular by your definition. So the Entirety, 100% of logic, follows pros assertion is false
Debate Round No. 2


I would argue that the basis of logic is a priori truths or axioms. We cannot have conclusions that do not arrive from the idea that a=a (a here representing an idea, or Aristotle's "essence"). For example, an unmarried bachelor cannot possibly exist, because being a bachelor (a) means being unmarried (a), so a=a. We can reduce all logical claims to extensions of this idea. I now hope to demonstrate why a being a depends on the conclusion that that truth has already been found.

My opponent has claimed that I am asserting that the illogical is impossible, when in fact my entire case rests on the ground that the illogical is possible, and thereby rendering logic fallacious.

I could shift the BOP to my opponent and ask him to prove logical contentions to be true without using said logical contentions, but we are running out of debate and I should make my point.

If we are to put forward the idea of a truth, then there must be an opposite contention that is false. When we say that a=a, that means that any situation where a is not a cannot exist. But what THAT means, is that if a was not a, then things could not be the way things are in reality. To simplify, the world that exists and the world without logic's inherent validity are not the same world.

In a world without logic (which would have to be one that cannot exist) you can have a world with logic, because in a world where logic does not apply the truth of it being illogical no longer needs to true in order to be true. In a world where something can contradict itself, something can both contradict itself and not contradict itself at the same time. So, in a world where things can contradict themselves (aka a world that does not exist), there can be a world which can exist. So if in a world where the illogical is possible it is possible to have a world where the illogical is impossible, then you could hypothetically have a scenario where this exact world exists within a larger impossible one. So if a=/=a, then a (which is not a) could hypothetically be a because it isn't a. Logically, the illogical is not bound by logic, so any logical conclusions you can have about its inexistence are dependant on its inexistence.

I really appreciate your time and wit.


Yes a few more rounds would be nice.
It appears that when you use the word Logic, you sometimes refer to the Scientific Method.

The Scientific Method is a Logical Process. For instance before setting out on the process a scientist conceptualizes a hypothesis A equals A. Makes a prediction of what a test result will be: If I have A it will equal A. Then performs the test to find out if A=A or A=/=A.

But it is not the only Logical Process or only path to a understanding something true. There is Reasoning. Reasoning does not make a prediction. Deductive Reasoning. It seeks the certainty of Validity of a Truth statements on the premise that anything reasoned should match with prior experience.

There is also Inductive Reasoning that seeks to establish the probability of a truth statements claim.

For instance if I poke you in the eye, I use inductive reasoning to learn that this will probably hurt you because getting poked in the eye hurts me. I would say I can be 80% sure you will hurt. My truth claim This will hurt you is LIKELY and the reasoning for it is Strong Validly.

But after I poke you, and you claim "ouch that hurts" is more than just deductive for you. It's a Brute Fact! The pain is unmistakable to you. To you the truth statement " I hurt" is 100% True. To me I can assume it is LIKELY to be true. Even tho my Claim "it will hurt you" has an assumption at it's root; YOUR claim "I hurt" is not circular.

Can there be illogical things. Logic says "YES" because there are fallacies. There are lines of reasoning that we as a people agree can more often than naught lead to FALSE results. Logic as a study also states that one can logically infer currently from a set of premises a VALID Claim, even if all the premises are false. Logic says you can use the wrong numbers and still arrive at the right answer.

I think much of this is off topic. Given Pro's Assertion "The Entirety of Logic is Circular" given the definition Pro established. I have already proved wrong that there is some Logic (I think therefore I am, Brute Facts, Inductive Reasoning, False Premise -> Valid Claim) can begin with no assumptions and not rely on the out come for the starting conditions to be present.

Thank you for debating with me, I had a good time.
Debate Round No. 3
39 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 21 through 30 records.
Posted by Anonymous 7 years ago

I"m going to address the two sides of this debate separately because, unfortunately, the debaters appear to have been debating different resolutions throughout. I will begin with the instigator.

I find it hard to tell exactly what Pro was hoping to accomplish with this debate. He says that he is going to argue that all logic is circular. He then convincingly argues that a seemingly-logical world could exist as an internal artifact of a illogical universe, one not bound by the constraints of non-contradiction. I fail to see how this proves the resolution.

It is true that logic is inherently circular. The nature of the axioms of logic is that they presuppose themselves; one cannot discuss logic in any meaningful way without using logic. The axioms are assumed to be true because they permit/cause their own existence, which caused immense problems to mathematicians searching for the ultimate absolute foundations of math and logic; RE: Bertrand Russell, Hilbert, et al. It is elephants all the way down, as it were.

The circularity of logic does not mean it is invalid; quite the opposite. All circular arguments are obviously valid, since the premise and the conclusion are the same. Circular arguments are self-contained and self-evident. A, :. A. It is only considered a mistake of reasoning because you are not actually proving anything by it; you are merely restating your starting premise in your conclusion.

Now, the axioms of logic may or may not represent reality; their truth or falsity can be and are debated. But Pro's initial definition of circular arguments as false is incorrect; or at least misleading. All circular arguments are valid; false circular arguments are false, and true ones are true. It depends entirely on the truthhood of the premise.
Posted by Anonymous 7 years ago
Like wise, @Mhykiel. I do agree that I should have clarified more, especially surrounding the deductive argument. You seem very knowledgeable, and it would be great to debate you when I get a little more used to the site.
Posted by Anonymous 7 years ago
@creedhunt. I enjoyed the debate. It's so important to define the terms and how any argument relates to the assertion. Hope to debate you again some day. You have some interesting ideas.
Posted by Anonymous 7 years ago
The application of the logical system is oddly enough only non circular if it's assumed not to be true and therefore true
Posted by Anonymous 7 years ago
You are misreading me when you say that an objects cannot contain logic. My point is that there is a logical system, which means there is a negation of the absence of said system.
Posted by Anonymous 7 years ago
An illogical object can refer to an object to which the logical system does not apply. The term is not exclusively referential to an irrational argument or state of mind.
Posted by Anonymous 7 years ago
in other words there is no point in proving your case because there is no meaning in providing evidence that something can contain logic
Posted by Anonymous 7 years ago
your case is invalid do to you placing the form of logic within an object and not a person. the word something is improper in this case. a person is "something" that can be illogical and something (someone) containing of logic. therefore your case is fiddlebustered.
Posted by Anonymous 7 years ago
Well first off, Surrealism, you'd need to rephrase your example a bit for it to be logically sound. If ALL concave kites are chevrons then by definition..yeah. But more importantly, I am debating against the claim that they are by definition true. That's the entire point.
Posted by Anonymous 7 years ago
But they work by definition. They are synthetic propositions. It is impossible for them not to be true. For example, if we agree that a chevron is a concave kite, then, by definition, any time we see a quadrilateral with two pairs of adjacent congruent sides that has each opposite angle facing the same direction, it is by definition a chevron. Likewise, since the rules of logic are defined as the specific rules for managing truth claims, they are by definition true.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Chrysippus 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by LostintheEcho1498 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I agree with the con that this became very off topic but very interesting. As most of this was off topic I am only judging on what points were toward the prompt. I agree with the con because of the examples he gave proved his point very well. The pro maybe should have changed the prompt to be more about logic in general than logic being circular. Cool debate. You should use a source here and there though otherwise voters can't legitimately give you those points.

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