… to its Logical Conclusion
© 12 Sep 2011 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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A truth behind Aristotle’s Golden Mean.


Yesterday I listened to a presentation by Dallin OaksAt time of posting, the link does not include a transcript. I expect that to change within a few days. on the duality of tolerance and truth. A marvelous message (though, at time of writing, no transcript is available, only a video stream), it caused me to reflect on the general absence of logical conclusions in popular media.

To carrying an idea or ideal to its logical conclusion is to characterize what a world would be like where the idea or idea received no opposition and was balanced by nothing. The logical conclusion of tolerance is anarchy, the logical conclusion of its opposite is totalitarianism. Carrying “‍rain is good‍” to its logical conclusion yields an “‍ideal‍” world that is perpetually deluged, while “‍you should give to others‍” leads to “‍…until you have nothing and starve.‍”

Logical conclusions are about mocking an idea, pretending it is simpler than it is. It’s really rather rude, in a way, but also quite useful: by looking at the logical conclusion you can see the counter-balance.

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (book 2) introduces the idea that every virtue is the mean between two extremes. This is a concept I find rarely holds up to scrutiny, but it does point toward the virtue of considering logical conclusions. If you think your virtue is an extreme, not a mean, then it is likely that you don’t understand the balance in which it exists and could benefit from the perspective of a logical conclusion exercise.

What is the logical conclusion of the introduction of the Euro? See Wm’s comment: a better wording would be “‍the logical conclusion of argument X for the introduction of the Euro?‍” What is the logical conclusion of allowing the search-and-seizure clause of the US Constitution to cover abortion (regardless of your opinion about abortion itself)? ditto “‍…of argument X for allowing…‍” What is the logical conclusion of up-and-coming-idea-X? And, with each, what is the dual idea that will keep those mockeries from becoming reality?

Logical conclusions. A tool I wish was part of more mental toolboxes.

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