Dismissed as a Disciple
© 4 Feb 2013 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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A short thought about discipleship.


There are philosophers I disagree with enough that when I discover someone agrees with them I dismiss them. I often don’t even bother working through the fallacies in what they say; if I had to explain why I’d probably say something like “‍he’s one of Freud’s disciples‍” with the implied suggestion “‍…thus everything he says will be built on unsound premises.‍”

There’s an interesting implied equality here. Put more positively, If the disciple makes sense then the philosopher must have been more sound than I thought. At some level this is the difference between a disciple and someone who just likes the writings of a philosopher. There is a logical implication between a disciple and a master: D → M. Dismissal of the disciple follows from modus tollens, acceptance of the master from modus ponens.

In my personal quest to become the best disciple of Christ I may I wonder how well I am doing at establishing this kind of logical connection between He and I. Do people who have prejudged Christ as incorrect dismiss me out of hand? Does my rationality and propriety suggest the soundness of my faith?

Mostly this thought is just another skin on the injunction “‍be an example of the believers‍” which Paul gave Timothy two millennia ago. But it also suggests that to represent anything is to put yourself at a disadvantage with some people: if you want to benefit from modus ponens you are stuck with modus tollens Except in some paraconsistent logics… but few people subscribe to those. and thus will be prejudged of to be logically unsound by those people.

Plus formal logic is easier for me to remember and incorporate into daily life than are the more common natural language definitions people offer.

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