Saturday, September 16, 2006

Chinese Text Project


Thanks to ephilosopher.

Jorge Garcia to speak on Monday, September 18

"Moral Virtues and the Moral Law," presented by Prof. Jorge Garcia, Philosophy Department, on Monday, September 18, at 4:30 p.m., in Higgins 310. Comments by Prof. Arthur Madigan, Philosophy Department. Reception to follow. Sponsored by the Philosophy Department. 617-552-3847.

see also the department of philosophy's official announcements page

I'm planning to be in attendance; I'll write some comments afterwards, and I'll see if I can get a copy of the paper and response.

Fr. Most on Predestination

The discussion over at Pontifications continues: see "Reprobating Predestination"

Fr. Most's Grace, Predestination and the Salvific Will of God: New Answers to Old Questions is still in print, I believe--it's published by Christendom Press. It's also available online here.

(Distribution is now handled through ISI. No more work study positions for Christendom Students at the Press?)

A quick glance at the ISI Books catalog confirms that it is still in print. However his other books are not. Maybe I should get another copy.

I don't have any formal theological training, but my opinion, for what it is worth--I find Fr. Most's book to be very clear (and concise) and an example of good theological method. Perhaps a book dealing with fundamental/dogmatic/positive theology can be more "literary," but there is something to be said for a certain style being appropriate to speculative or systematic theology.

From his preface to the Latin original edition:

But, in view of the great difficulty of the matter, it seemed good, before publication, to seek the critical judgment of many theologians. I therefore sent nearly 500 privately lithographed copies to many theologians whom I happened to know, both in Europe and in the United States, and in other lands as well. About a hundred replied. Many of them liked my position substantially; many did not. These excellent scholars who replied were a great help—some because they by their approval gave needed encouragement, others because they gave positive suggestions for improvement, still others because they raised objections.

By the goodness of Divine Providence, those who replied belonged to many and diverse schools of theology. That is, replies came from Thomists, Molinists, Scotists, Syncretists, and others. Among them were dogmatic theologians, exegetes, and patrologists. Perhaps the reader may wonder which schools liked, and which disliked my position. Actually, the division did not follow school lines. Instead, there were both Thomists and Molinists among those who liked it; and, conversely, both Thomists and Molinists among those who did not like it. However, one principle of division appeared in many, though not all cases: those who did not like it seemed to want to solve the entire problem by metaphysics; those who liked it seemed to want to start with the sources of revelation and the Magisterium, and only after that to add metaphysical considerations.

Speculative theology is not natural theology or metaphysics dressed up with citations from Scripture or the Fathers or the Magisterium--it takes as its starting point divinely revealed data, and this supernatural origin must be respected. (Even if certain polemicists wish to characterize Latin theology as nothing more than philosophy in disguise.)

The MOST Theological Collection at

Note: ISI Books offers a 20% discount for internet customers.
While ISI Books are available at fine bookstores everywhere, offers an easy, secure, and cost-effective means by which to order our titles directly. ISI Books is pleased to offer its customers a 20% across-the-board discount on ISI Books' titles purchased through the Internet.

Michael Behe coming to B.C.

First lecture for the philosophy undergraduate majors, organized by Fr. Tacelli, S.J.

Should be interesting--I'll try to attend and read up on the responses to Dr. Behe. (And if I have his book, of course I'll ask him to sign it.)

ARN authors page
Lehigh University faculty page
Discovery Institute page

"Misology and Truth".

Michael Pakaluk reports on Raphael Woolf's BACAP paper, "Misology and Truth".

It calls to my mind an essay on misology in the Aquinas Review.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pontifications' latest: predestination revisited

This is it. The answer, whatever it may be, will certainly require heavy-duty metaphysics?

On the other hand, Fr. Most writes:

The chief reason the debates proved futile was that all parties normally ignored scriptural context. In addition, they tried to solve many things by metaphysics. Metaphysics is very good, but we must not ask it to do what it can never do, to determine an answer in whicha free decision of God or man is a factor.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wehrle on Aristotelian scholarship

Walter Wehrle writes in his The Myth of Aristotle's Development and the Betrayal of Metaphysics:
One of the most objectionable tendencies I find in developmentalism is the sheer audacity on the part of commentators who shamelessly think nothing of correcting, at every turn, what they (erroneously) perceive as Aristotle's failures. Having painted themselves into their hemeneutical corners by assuming what Aristotle must be doing, any textual anomalies or even outright contradictions to their prescribed views can only be dismissed as some sort of mistakes on Aristotle's part, whether those mistakes be the result of mere absentmindedness or, more seriously, the result of confusion in Aristotle's mind. Accordingly, while these commentators cannot physically change the confounded text, they must resort to wholesale revision of Aristotle, along the lines of their predigested views. It is not surprising that the revised Aristotle looks more like something out of the twentieth century than a philosopher in his own element, the ancient world. For example, a developmentalist might be quite certain, on the grounds of a few texts, that Aristotle must be (in his mature theory at least) a materialist monist, and seeing that materialist monism represents his real views, can only shake his head at the numerous textual anomalies that he is likely to encounter. No matter, says the developmentalist, we know better than Aristotle did about his real intentions. Here is what Aristotle should have said. How often in these revised accounts do we encounter remarks such as "Aristotle does not really want to say this, because his commitment to materialist monism will not allow it" or "Surely Aristotle cannot have meant this; we shall just ignore this passge since it is obviously a _____" (fill in the blank with 'mistake,' 'oversight,' 'faulty text,' or whatever).

Of course what Aristotelian scholar has not had at some time or other the impulse to improve upon Aristotle's own words, or perhaps found himself wishing that the text were closer to his own interpretations? Moreover, have we not at one time or another run into those betes noires, passages that are so truculently contradictory to our prized interpretation that they might just as well be saying to us, 'Do what you will, you will not fit me into your interpretation"? But when we have run out of acceptable textual emendations that might make the offending passage at least palatable, or when we cannot write it off as a forgery, or we cannot identify it as the intrusive marginalia of some overzealous scribe, or when tradition has more or less corroborated its right to be there in all its brazen defiance of our own pet interpretations, then it seems that we are stuck with this anomaly and should treat it as such. But developmentalism gives rise to a reckless tendency to dismiss anything that would seem to be an anomaly (i.e., anomalous to their developmentalist interpretations), and so, armed with developmental theories, they become no longer interpreters but revisers, rather like scientists who would fudge or ignore altogether the flagrantly contradictory empirical evidence that fits ill with their a priori theorizing. An archaeologist may well wish that certain artifacts appear in Troy V instead of Troy VII, but clearly qua scientist, he must persevere with the evidence as it is given, even if he must seriously revise his pet theory or perhaps even chuck it altogether.

My complaint with developmentalism on this score is twofold. First, developmentalism itself is just one more tool by which scholars can dismiss these anomalous texts by consigning them to some early period (or even, as the evolutionary-minded Thomas Case would suggest, to the 'missing link' period when 'early' and 'later' will no longer suffice). If scholars in previous times used to cite textual authority (or lack thereof) as a basis for such dismissal, now we have an even better tool to get rid of unfriendly passages. And if the anomalies present themselves too prominently and frequently, we can always resort to the last-ditch remedy, namely, the comforting thought that Aristotle, in changing his mind, simply could not keep track of all the views he has held in his lifetime. Yes, developmentalism amounts to almost a blank check for those who would rewrite Aristotle along lines more suitable to themselves.

Second, if it were merely a matter of suggesting ways that Aristotle might have improved his philosophy, it would be one thing, for that, too, is a natural tendency in Aristotelian scholars. But it does not stop there. The revised view actually becomes the tail that wags the dog, by guiding the interpretation fo the actual text. One may well wish that Aristotle had been more like us, a positivist, say, or a materalist, but when one allows that desideratum to become the arbiter of what we are supposed to read into the disputed texts, I begin to wonder if one has not once again abandoned the role of interpreter and taken on the prescriptivist role of the dogmatizer. (1-3)
Apparently Wehlre approves of Robert Bolton's interpretation of Aristotle. I'll try to read more Bolton, but I certainly don't have high expectations for Anglo-American scholarship on Aristotle.

Now it is not out of the ordinary for the grad student preparing for M.A. comprehensive exams (which one must pass to qualify to teach, and to confirm that one's training has some sort of historical breadth) to rely upon some sort of history of philosophy, such as that of Fr. Copleston, S.J. I remember one Ph.D. student in particular who was discussing Aristotle's Metaphysics--she gave a presented Aristotle's teachings in contemporary terms (which are tied to contemporary philosophical accounts), and a "meta"-description of what he is doing, without grapplying with his arguments and relating them to reality. So, for example, "Aristotle's metaphysics is heavily influenced by his biology." (Now I know that something like this can be found in Majorie Grene's introduction to Aristotle, but I'll give her a pass for now, given her work on Aristotle and Descartes). But the student went on to claim that Aristotle's "empiricism" conflicted with his "Platonism" and this tension could be seen in the text of the Metaphysics.

There are plenty of other examples of "meta"-descriptions that gloss over the actual arguments and evidence in attempting to give a short and sweet summary of some "idea" or "teaching" and to draw as many connections between that thinker and other thinkers throughout history as possible. (Another weakness of a historical approach.)

Lloyd P. Gerson, What is Platonism

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Critique of consequence

For further reflection, whether it is true that anything follows from a contradiction?

PaedoSocrates (Kevin) discusses with Lukas Novak the truth of this at the Yahoo! group thomism:

message 1980:
The Notion of Consequence

jamesmiguez scripsit:

> This is not, in the least, a literally intuitive reconstruction.
> Klima is, by habit and training, using a modern logician's
> procedure, sometimes properly employed in branch chain dialectic. I
> remember quitting a modern symbolic Logic course, when this kind of
> procedure was introduced with the pious ejaculation that, quote:-
> Anything "follows-from" a contradiction.

While it is not my intention to make any comments on Klima's analysis of the Anselm's argument (although I indeed have an opinion), I would like to react to James's criticism of the standard notion of consequence.

"Followin-from" or logical consequence is defined thus: A conclusion follows from the premises iff it is impossible that all the premises be true and the conclusion false.

I hope it is clear to everyone that given this definition, it is indeed true that anything follows from a contradiction, since given that it is impossible that a contradiction be true, it is also impossible that the contradictory premises were true and the conclusion false, therefore, the definition is satisfied in case of any conclusion whatsoever.

Now the only objection against this can be that this notion of logical consequence is somehow wrong, useless or whatever.

Do decide whether it is, we must ask, whether the notion serves its purpose. What is the purpose of the notion of consequence? The relation of consequence is introduced as a "truth preserving" relation: as a relation that will guarantee to you that you can never arrive at a falsity when you start from truth. Since this is what logic is about: it is an instrument by means of which we are able to derive safely new propositions from known ones, and can be sure that IF the latter are true, then the former are as well.

The notion of consequence is just a precised expression of this requirement. Therefore, IF one wishes a universal truth-preserving relation, then the notion of consequence as defined above is THE relation wanted. Refusing to accept the notion of consequence as useful equals to refusing to accepting the notion of preserving truth in inferences as useful. Of course, noone is obliged to favour truth over falsity.

Rather than to object against this very central notion of logic (logic is nothing else than the theory of consequence), James perhaps meant to object agains the notion of material implication in modern logic, which admittedly does not express well the actual meaning of the natural-language phrase if-then (which fact, however, is no objection against using this logical constant; it is just objection against passing it for an adequate and exhaustive analysis of the menaing of "if-then) ?

message 2093:
In a message dated 06/06/06 3:49:01 PM Mountain Daylight Time, lukas.novak@... writes:

> PaedoSocrates@... scripsit:
> In a message dated 05/06/06 12:35:46 AM Mountain Daylight Time, lukas.novak@... writes:
> "But in our homeland, where we will see his essence, it will be for us much more self-evident that God is, than it is now for us self-evident that affirmation and negation are not both true."
> Lukas
> Thank-you, Lukas, for the prompt translation. Are you sure that St. Thomas meant "homeland" rather than "But in The Father (Patria) etc.?


> Yes. "Patria" is Homeland, "Pater" is "Father". What is meant is Heaven, of course.
> Lukas


KEVIN (formerly):

WHOOPS! Dumb question!!!

Probably it is "homeland" for The Father would be "Pater"/father, rather than "patria" (father's homeland?). So that seems straightened out.

What do you think of the phrase, requote, "...than it is now for us self-evident that affirmation and negation are not both TRUE.", given "p" & "not-p" and the alleged principle of LOGIC that "anything-follows-from-a-contradiction".

After all affirmation and negation are just another grammatical way of saying "contradiction" for affirmations contradict negations AND negations contradict affirmations. I'll return to your original post on consequence shortly.

Good to hear from you Lukas and Thank-you for the translation. Also thanks for the "heads-up" on De Veritate. Obviously that treatise must have some insights by Aquinas into Major or material logic, as distinct from your expertise in formal logic.


I attended at our local Catholic University library, with the frustrating result of No "De Veritate" nor "Disputed Questions" by St. Thomas Aquinas. The Summa and Summa Contra Gentiles were there, but not-"ON TRUTH" by Aquinas.

So I picked up a different translation of De Ente & Essentia (very clear; compared to two other translations I have read---still, even with the better translation, Aquinas was still quite young when he wrote that work. In Aristotle's phraseology, he "lisps" a bit. How come nobody translates that title as Of Entities and Essences? That is what the title suggests to me.), of St. Thomas's Commentary on The Book of Causes (He was mature then; no "lisping" there; The Book of Causes seems to be an Arabic regurgitation of some of Proclus's Elements of Theology) and Gilson's Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Good books all, but not what I was looking for!!! How could a Catholic University not have ON TRUTH by St. Thomas? But they did have John Stewart Mill's entire works! How bizarre. Rant ended. From "the net" I learned that one can buy the De Veritate of St. Thomas, in 3 volumes, for around 150 dollars. 3 Volumes?!!! Holy Smokes.

As to the questions, above recited, there was NO REPLY. Conclusion:- Lukas likes "to correct" (previously-corrected errors), but not "to answer" questions. So, back to Lukas's notion of consequence:-

"Followin-from" or logical consequence is defined thus:

A conclusion follows from the premises iff it is impossible that all the premises be true and the conclusion false.

The term IFF (2 "f"s; no misspelling) apparently refers to the biconditional-hypothesis meaning "IF and only-IF" all the premises of an argument are true (THEN) it is impossible for the conclusion of a VALID argument to be false.

I hope it is clear to everyone that given this definition, it is indeed true that anything follows from a contradiction, since given that it is impossible that a contradiction be true, it is also impossible that the contradictory premises were true and the conclusion false, therefore, the definition is satisfied in case of any conclusion whatsoever.

It is not clear to me, Lukas. What do you mean by a contradiction???

Contradictions are two propositions. They are not "a" thing, but, rather, "two" things, to wit, two propositions, with identical subjects and logically-opposed predicates.

Now the only objection against this can be that this notion of logical consequence is somehow wrong, useless or whatever.

How about the notion of:- "a contradiction"? That is what I object to. I do not think that logical consequence is somehow wrong, useless or whatever. Your point depends on the consequence of A contradiction or "from" A contradiction

Do (ie. TO) decide whether it is, we must ask, whether the notion serves its purpose. What is the purpose of the notion of consequence?

Rather, what is the puropse of the notion of "a contradiction", when contradictory propositions are 2 logically-opposed "notions" [affirmation vs. negation of the same predicate attributed to or denied of (not attributed to) a subject or substance].

The relation of consequence is introduced as a "truth preserving" relation: as a relation that will guarantee to you that you can never arrive at a falsity when you start from truth. Since this is what logic is about: it is an instrument by means of which we are able to derive safely new propositions from known ones, and can be sure that IF the latter are true, then the former are as well.

But if you start from a true proposition and its contrardiction which is a false proposition, how do you preserve truth, as a consequence of 1 true proposition and 1 false proposition?

True and false propositions are contrary, according to Aquinas, and contradictory when single subjects and logically opposed predicates are evident. No mention of contradiction or contradictory propositions or "notions" here.

The notion of consequence is just a precised expression of this requirement. Therefore, IF one wishes a universal truth-preserving relation, then the notion of consequence as defined above is THE relation wanted.

Prescinding from the obvious fact that you mention nothing of contradictions in your argument concerning consequence, let us examine the alleged precision of your definitions. What's so precise about a biconditional hypothesis, called, by you, a definition? Aren't biconditionals close to circular arguments, while also being close to convertibly predicable attributes---otherwise known as properties?

1. Some people know that false biconditional antecedent-consequent/consequent-antecedent propositions yield a true biconditional hypothesis, as also does a true antecedent proposition followed by a true consequent proposition and vice versa.

2. But, where 1 proposition of a biconditional hypotheses is true and the other is false the biconditional hypothesis, itself, is altogether false. It doesn't matter where the false and true biconditional propositions are placed in sequence, as long as the pairs of propositions disagree in truth value. (= 2 falsehoods in both directions)

3. Hmmm...Seems to be more falsity than truth in/with biconditionals.

Refusing to accept the notion of consequence as useful equals to refusing to accepting the notion of preserving truth in inferences as useful.

I don't refuse to accept the notion of consequence as useful. I just refuse to believe that "Anything logically follows from a contradiction.", for if that notion is TRUE, then you probably have to accept that arguments which contain contradictory sets of propositions are VALID. YES or NO, Lukas?

Of course, noone is obliged to favour truth over falsity.

Tell that to either Christ, at your final judgment, or the Judge at your local courthouse. eg. "I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, sir, but I am not obliged to tell the truth!" The judge may reply that you are obliged to tell the truth. The law "says so", but no one is obliged to obey the law, although the judge is obliged to jail people for perjury, otherwise known as giving, making or asserting contradictory propositions under oath.

Jail "follows-from" legally-proved contradictory-propositions, at court, unless you can find a "modern logician" seated upon "the Bench" of your local courthouse. And they're not too hard to find, since all modern lawyers were "educated" by modern philosophers and modern logicians, while modern lawyers are appointed to various "Benches", by, guess who---modern lawyers, who are so honest, just like their clients are so honest---and, "therefore"...(the farmer hauled another load away).

Rather than to object against this very central notion of logic (logic is nothing else than the theory of consequence), James (ie. Kevin) perhaps meant to object agains the notion of material implication in modern logic, which admittedly does not express well the actual meaning of the natural-language phrase if-then (which fact, however, is no objection against using this logical constant; it is just objection against passing it for an adequate and exhaustive analysis of the menaing of "if-then) ?


No, I didn't mean to do that. But you probably did. The modern notion of "p" as antecdent in a TEST situation and "not-P" as the non-antecedent in an existential CONTROL situation, is a wonderful way of proving EFFICIENT and MATERIAL causation in modern scientific experiments, using existential hypotheses as MAJOR premises. But "p and not-p" as a single ASSUMPTION is non-sense.

P and not-P are contradictory so-called "assumptions" (pleural)---NOT "an" assumption and NOT "a" contradiction, but rather 2 contradictory propositions.

I do think that the only thing that "logically follows from a contradiction"---in TRUTH meaning TWO contradictory propositions---is that someone, who contradicts him/her-self is a a liar OR plain ignorant, or, alternatively, anyone who contradicts "being", whether or not we think about, or speak about, "being" is also a liar OR, once again, both ignorant and forgetful about his or her previous assertions.

It is TRUE that modern symbolic logicians do object against the, requote "material implication (ie. TRUTH) in modern logic, which admittedly does not express well the actual meaning of the natural-language phrase if-then." (NOVAK).

But I am not a modern symbolic logician and am perfectly happy with affirming the antecedents of hypotheses OR denying the consequents of hypotheses to reach VALID conclusions about either the antecedents or the consequents of hypotheses.

But I would never call an hypothesis either true or false, being convinced by Aristotle's Metaphysics and his Posterior Analytics that mere hypotheses are NOT PRINCIPLES. But I can prove that at least one modern symbolic logician mentions the dissatisfaction of either people or symbolic logicians with calling hypotheses "truth functional", quote:

"People use modal logic to evaluate and justify reasoning about possibility and necessity. Aristotle and medieval logicians tended to think of possibility, actuality and necessity as modes of truth, that is, as ways in which sentences could be true or false. The study of the modes of truth became known as modal logic.

"Contemporary interest in modal logic stems partly from unhappiness with treating conditional sentences in terms of truth functions. [Very telling. Modern logicians are unhappy with truth functions!!!] Within the framework of truth- functional sentential logic, we can symbolize sentences of the form "IF A, THEN B.", only as formulas having the structure "A ----> B". As our definition of the conditional truth function indicates, these formulas are TRUE, whenever A is FALSE or B is TRUE."

What Bonevac probably means is what I said above:- Denying consequents WARRANTS denying antecedents in conjunction with a HYPOTHETICAL MAJOR premise [Thus "whenever A is false"; But experimental scientists don't think that way---ie. in terms of A being FALSE---but rather in terms of A being non-existent as an EFFICIENT CAUSE, which necessarily precedes its EFFECT in both necessity and in time In short, NO EFFECT (not-B), then NO CAUSE (not-A)].

As to Bonevac's other expression "OR whenever B is TRUE", he arguably means that given an hypothesis of the form IF A, THEN B; a.k.a., A ----> B; [which is, once again, actually two propositions; (1) antecedent and (2) consequent propositions (pleural)], which he calls, once again, A SENTENCE (but any scientist knows that an hypothesis is 2 sentences referring to at least 2 existential OBJECTS called CAUSES and EFFECTS, in general), B is TRUE, whenever A causes B. In other words, when there is an actually CAUSAL RELATION between A and B, when A exists then B existentially follows from A. (ie. "Whenever B is TRUE" the hypothesis "If A, then B" is a "true" hypothesis; although no scientist considers hypotheses to be either true or false---just antecedents and consequents to be experimentally tested).

Of course, being a modern symbolic logician, perhaps Bonevac doesn't want to take such arguable CAUSAL relations seriously!

WATCH Bonevac try to make such CAUSAL RELATIONS appear "puzzling"!

BONEVAC (continues):-
But taking a truth-functional rendering of IF seriously, gives rise to a variety of puzzles. [COMMENT:- How "unsurprizing" when Bonevac fails to mention taking THEN to be equally as "serious" (or even as "frivolous") as IF. But he "explains"; or at least attempts to "explain" such puzzles, next paragraph. KB].

First a truth functional analysis leads to the "paradoxes of material implication." [COMMENT:- His "scare-quotes" indicate that he may not take such "paradoxes" very seriously. But he doesn't seem to take THEN into consideration at all! He is also regurgitating Lukas or Lukas him because they have the same teachers.]

BONEVAC (continues):
These "paradoxes" though not really contradictions in a logical sense, show that our definition of the conditional can lead us to count some bizarre arguments as valid. Both these argument forms are VALID in classical sentential logic.
(1) a.

Therefore q -----> p


Therefore p ----> q

Bonevac has a strange take on "classical sentential logic", which has nothing to do with hypotheses which relate to classical modal logic. But even with actual respect to classical modal logic, this "stuff" above is almost BACKWARDS compared with and contrasted to classical modal logic, which looks like this:
(1) a. (revisited)

q -----> p (IF q, THEN p.)
p (Affirms consequent)
"THEREFORE?" Nothing! [Fallacy:- Affirming the consequent]
eg. If quadruplets, then parents.
Therefore quadruplets?
(Hardly! Singles, twins, triplets or "quints" equally imply parents
even when there are no "quadruplets")

q -----> p (IF q, THEN p.)
q (Affirms the antecedent)
Therefore p (VALID Affirms consequent.)

eg. If quadruplets, then parents.
Therefore, parents

As to Bonevac's "b." scenario, we have, according to classical modal logic
p ----> q
[eg. If penicillan, then quashed infection of non-penicillan-resistant "bug".]
[eg. no available penicillan]
"THEREFORE?" [Nothing follows; Invalid denial of antecedent.]
(A bug could also be quashed by another antibiotic
or by an infected person's own immune system---or NOT!)

p ----> q
[eg. If penicillan, then quashed infection of non-penicillan-resistant "bug".]
[Nothing quashed a penicillan sensitive "bug"]
[No one administered penicillan.
Either No antibiotic at all or they administered a wrong antibiotic to which
the "bug" was resistant. VALID and SOUND]

We continue with Bonevac's "puzzles" for his readership, quote, given his two examples of "truth functional" hypotheses, quote

However, arguments according to them sound strange [I hope my arguments didn't sound so "strange" as those Bonevac proceeds to use as "examples". KB]

(2) a.

The Colorado river is good for white-water canoeing (p)
Therefore IF a nuclear bomb just exploded over the rockies (q)
THEN the colorado river is good for white-water canoeing (p)
[COMMENT:- This is a serious hypothesis/argument? OH PLEASE!!!]


IF a nuclear bomb just exploded over the rockies THEN the Colorodo
river may be 30 feet higher from excessive snow melt OR
non-existent if rock-slides DAM the river OR divert the river
in which POSSIBLE cases there will be NO "white water" at all.
SILLY example. UNSERIOUS example of a VALID argument.

It is still a VALID argument, but in this way:

Hypo:- IF a nuclear bomb just exploded over the rockies
THEN the Colorodo River is good for white-water-canoeing
for the next 15 minutes or awhile longer
Minor: A nuke just exploded (affirms antecedent)
Conclusion- Therefore the river is good for white-water-canoeing
for the next 15 minutes or awhile longer.
[VALID and SOUND; But POSSIBLY-not within a few hours!
In truth, it is just a hypothesis.).

Bonevac's second example:

b. NOT many Americans eat Thai food. (not-p)
Therefore IF many Americans eat Thai food (p),
THEN sales of antacids will soar (q)


IF many Americans eat spicey Thai food (p), THEN sales of antacids will soar (q).
Sales of antacids will not soar. (not-q)
Therefore NOT many Americans will eat spicey Thai food (not-p)
[VALID and SOUND; although only POSSIBLE, not necessary.]

Who knows the future or the effects of Thai food on American tummies? I don't. And do Thai people consume many antacids because of their spicey diets? Probably not. But Americans do---probably CAUSED by listening to silly arguments OR by eating TOO MUCH FOOD, at all hours, whether or not it's "spicey-food".

BONEVAC (contiunes):
Neither argument seems VALID (Bonevac's conclusion).

But they are valid arguments---just not very serious arguments. In TRUTH, Bonevac only seriously looks at EITHER (2. a.) the consequent of his first examplary hypotheses, ALONE (Colorado "whte water canoeing"; but NOT at any possible effects of "nuking-the-Rocky-mountains"), OR at (2. b.) the antecedent of his second examplary hypothesis ALONE (The eating non-habits of Americans.).

And no American needs a symbolic logic course to know about "white-water-rafting" on the Colorodo river or about his own countrymen's eating habits. But, at least we know what Bonevac takes seriously from his examples of "seemingly INVALID" hypothetical arguments---(1) American recreational pastimes (when he is not further corrupting the minds of his students) and (2) American eating habits (between classes, involving the corruption of the minds of his S-L students with frivolous examples of "seemingly INVALID", but actually VALID, though silly, hypotheses).

Bonevac provides his students with further examples of silly HYPOTHETICAL arguments which are actually VALID according to both classical modal logic and what he calls "classical sentential logic", which has nothing to do with hypotheses and everything to do with CONTRARY and CONTRADICTORY propositions.

But then Bonevac says something interesting with respect to Novak's definition of consequence and Novak's "following" argument for "anything follows from a contradiction" being a, requote, very central notion of logic, although what Novak really means is that CONSEQUENCE is a central notion of logic, which has nothing to do with justifying "Anything follows from a contradiction." At least Lukas hasn't rationally explained what "anything" follows from a contradiction, nor has he explained WHY "anything logically-follows from a contradiction" (meaning two propositions which contradict each other.)

Consequence is a very central notion of logic. But that "Anything logically follows from a contradiction.", usually expressed as "Anything follows from a contradiction." is what I have characterized as an unproveable "pious ejaculation" which has much more to do with TRUTH and FALSITY than consequence or validity.

But here is what I find interesting by Bonevac:

The English connectives IF and only IF aren't truth functional, therefore, although the truth-functional CONDITIONAL (ie. an hypothesis) approximates them closely within a wide range of cases.

This fella even writes sentences in the same style as his "p", therefore "If q, then p" hypothetical examples. What he seems to be saying above is:-

Biconditional hypotheses are not truth functional. But, truth-functional hypotheses approximate (are like?) biconditionals.
OR (perhaps)
Maybe he meant that biconditionals are like truth functional hypotheses in a wide range of cases, even though they aren't truth functional.

How "therefore" fits into the above quoted sentence of Bonevac is entirely "beyond" me. It sounds like he means:- Although biconditional hypotheses are not truth functional, biconditional hypotheses are like truth-functional conditional hypotheses (approximate them) in a wide range of cases.

What I say in response to that "revelation" and to parody that revelation, is that trure propositions are an awful lot like false propositions in a wide range of cases too. Take for example the simple proposition that, quote:-

Lukas Novak is inhaling some Czechoslovakian air.

Lukas is inhaling, therefore the proposition is TRUE! Whoops, now he is exhaling some Czechoslovakian air, therefore the proposition above cited is FALSE. Whoops, now it is TRUE (Lukas inhales.), then FALSE (Lukas exhales), then TRUE (Lukas is inhaling Czech air.), then FALSE (Lukas is exhaling; not-inhaling; Czech air.), etc., etc. And this is not any Bonovakian "case" of a biconditional non-truth-functional double-hypothesis approximating any truth-functional single hypothesis! No sirree, Bob.

It is, instead, a "case" of an IDENTICAL-proposition alternating between TRUE and FALSE about every 10-30 seconds, depending upon Mr. Novak's living metabolism, his physical condition and his present air requirements which depends upon what he is actually doing at present. eg. Running a marathon OR sleeping soundfully and peacefully in his bed.

IF Daniel Bonevac is an actually competent logician and biconditionals are NOT "truth functional" THEN why does Lukas Novak employ non-truth-functional BICONDITIONALS for his so-called definitions???

Biconditionals are TRUE just so long as their antecedent and consequent propositions AGREE in truth value. In other words a FALSE antecedent and a FALSE consequent AND "vice versa" (switch antecedent and consequent around) make for a TRUE biconditional hypothesis---but not for very good definitions, which, when good, are always TRUE and convertibly-predicable.

But, of course, biconditionals composed of EQUALLY-FALSE propositions are TRUE biconditionals because FALSE propositions have been contradicting TRUE propositions since the garden of Eden AND if you have a FALSE antecedent you're going to get a FALSE consequent everytime. That's the TRUTH.

But St. Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle before him, take care of Bonevac's frivoulous examples with the simple assertion that, quote

"In the same way, the being of the thing, NOT its truth, is the CAUSE of truth in our intellect. Hence the philosopher says that an opinion or statement is TRUE FROM (consequent upon) the fact that a thing IS, not from the fact that a thing is true (Aristotle; The Categories; Ch. 5., 4b line 8).

[Summa I; Q. 15. Article 16. Reply Obj. 3.]

That is why the same proposition (forget biconditional "definitions", involving 2 propositions in a reciprocating antecedent-consequent || consequent-antecedent relationship) may be TRUE (Lukas is inhaling) for only a short time, then FALSE (Lukas is inhaling? No he is not inhaling because he is exhaling!) within a few seconds of time. Thus Aristotle's definition of the basic axiom of thought (Law of Contradiction) is that:- The same attribute (inhaling) cannot at the same time belong (to Lukas) and not belong (to Lukas) to the same subject (Lukas) in the same respect (in respect of the breathing of Lukas Novak).

And that definition of the Law of Thought involves no hypothesis at all, because it is the basic AXIOM of all thought.

WHAT, therefore, logically-follows from a contradiction?

Lukas Novak is inhaling (TRUE)
Lukas Novak is not inhaling (FALSE)


What logically follows from the above contradiction?
(I won't hold my breath waiting for any answers.)



Message 2100(response to 2098):
Re. The Notion of Consequence

In a message dated 21/06/06 11:47:18 AM Mountain Daylight Time, lukas.novak@... writes:

> OK: so if you favour truth over falsity, you should be interested
> in the truth-preserving relation of consequence as defined.
> I apologise, I must end here, no time.
> Lukas

O.K. I do like your definition of consequence:- TRUE premises NEVER yield FALSE conclusions is fine. But that definition (however poorly I have rephrased it) does not explain, nor justify (IMMLTHO) the proposition:-

Anything follows from (consequence) A CONTRADICTION. (True? False?)

But Thank-you for your time, Lukas. To review:-

POINTS MADE & COMMENTS (since I have time):

Kevin's QUESTION & COMMENT (previously):
But if you start from a true proposition and its contradiction which is a false proposition, how do you preserve truth, as a consequence of 1 true proposition and 1 false proposition?

In this case, you don't have anything to preserve. But it nevertheless holds that IF the premises were true (which is impossible) THEN the consequence would have to be true as well.

O.K. When premises are true, so are the conclusions of valid arguments. But Consequence (validity) and truth (soundness) are different "ideas". And, of course, one does "have something to preserve", in cases of true vs. false contradictory propositions, to wit, the truth of the true proposition which contradicts the falsehood of the false proposition! The true proposition is worth preserving and that is what I am interested in, while logicians are mostly interested in consequence (validity).

Novak's hypothesis about consequence is fine, but he still doesn't tell me how anything follows from a contradiction. However, when Lukas actually said, requote

"In this case, you don't have anything to preserve.",

(Q.) wasn't he really saying that NOTHING follows from that kind of contradiction (ie. 1 true proposition vs. 1 false proposition)???

After all Lukas defined/described a contradiction as a proposition which is necessarily false, per, requote:

COMMENT and QUESTION (previous):
It is not clear (that Anything follows from a contradiction; True? or False?) to me, Lukas. What do you mean by a contradiction???

A proposition that is necessarily false.

HMMM!!! So much for other "pious ejaculations" related to truth preserving, since a contradiction is a proposition that is necessarily false. [What necessitates the falseness of a proposition? Non-being.]. However I don't believe that propositions are necessarily true or necessarily false or necessarily contradictory, unless there are two propositions which, in truth, are contradictory-propositionS (pleural).

PROPOSITION (Oxford Concise):
n. (noun) Statement, assertion, as ~ too plain to need argument, especially (logic) form of words consisting of predicate & subject; (mathematics, abbreviated prop) formal statement of theorem or problem, often including the demonstration, as Euclid Bk. I ~ 5; proposal, scheme proposed; (slang) task, job, problem, objective, occupation, trade, opponent, prospect, etc. Hence ~al adjective [Medieval English, from Old French or Latin propositio (as following, see -ION)].

ARISTOTLE (on propositions):
Every sentence has meaning, not as being the natural means by which a faculty is realized, but, as we have said, by convention [The limitation "by convention" was introduced because nothing is, by nature, a noun or name---it is only so when it becomes a symbol ; inarticulate sounds, such as those brutes produce, are significant, yet none of these (inarticulate sounds of non-human animals) constitutes a noun.]. Yet every sentence is not a proposition; only such are propositions which have truth or falsity in them. Thus a prayer is a sentence, but is neither true nor false. (Aristotle's "Scheffer stroke"?)

Let us, therefore, dismiss all other types of sentences but the proposition, for this last (type of sentence) concerns our present inquiry, whereas the investigation of the others belongs rather to the study of rhetoric or of poetry.

Ch. 5.
The first class of simple propositions is the simple affirmation, the next, the simple denial; all others are only one by conjunction.--(snip)--We call those propositions single which indicate a single fact, or the conjunction of the parts of which results in unity; those propositions, on the other hand, are separate and many in number, which indicate many facts, or whose parts have no conjunction...

...To return:- of propositions one kind is simple, ie. that which asserts or denies something of something, the other composite, ie. that which is compounded of simple propositions. A simple proposition is a statement, with meaning, as to the presence of something in a subject OR its absence, in the present, past or future, according to the divisions of time.

CH. 6.
An affirmation is a positive assertion of something about something, a denial a negative assertion.

Now it is possible BOTH to affirm and to deny the presence of something which is present or of something which is not (present), and since these same affirmations and denials are possible with reference to those times which lie outside the present, it would be possible to contradict any affirmation or denial.

Thus it is plain that Every affirmation has an opposite denial and, similarly, Every denial an opposite afffirmation.

We will call such a PAIR of PROPOSITIONS a pair of contradictories.

Those positive and negative propositions are said to be contradictory which have the same subject and predicate. The identity of subject and predicate must not be 'equivocal'. Indeed there are definitive qualifications besides this, which we make to meet the casuistries of sophists.

[Aristotle; On Interpretation; Ch. 4. through Ch. 6.; 17a lines 1 to 37]

Aristotle thinks that contradictories are pairs of propositions. In contrast, Lukas affirms that a contradiction is a necessarily-false-proposition. Both men are logicians. Aristotle is ancient. Novak is modern. Whom should we believe? Let us examine Novak, together, to see if what he says is true, because (formerly)...

Contradictions are two propositions. They are not "a" thing, but, rather, "two" things, to wit, two propositions, with identical subjects and logically-opposed predicates.

This is just one kind of contradiction.

Thank-you. I happen to think that contradictory propositions (pleural) are important "kinds" of contradictions (pleural), and the second important "kind" of logically opposed propositions (pleural) are pairs of contrary propositions.

We'll see what other kinds there are...

Furthermore, in order that it be a contradiction, it must indeed be a _one_ composite proposition.

WHY? A composite proposition may be two or more simple PROPOSITIONS (or 3, 4, 5, 6 etc.), according to Aristotle. Lukas continues to refer to "it" and "a contradiction", but his words do not make 2, or more, propositions (pleural) into "one" proposition (single/simple) at all. See Aristotle above.

Either (re. COMPOSITE-PROPOSTION KB) (1) one where of subject a conjunction of contradictory predicates (note "pleural" predicates KB) is said (S a (P&~P)),---[ie. 2 propositions, 1. S a P, &, 2. S a ~P; Still 2 propositions KB] or a sentential conjunction of two kategorial propositions ((SaP)&(Sa~P)), [Still 2 propositions KB] or any other proposition [Back to 1 proposition (singular) KB] that cannot be true.

COMMENT:- "...that cannot be true."!!! So much for truth preserving. And Lukas clearly indicates 2 propositions with both of his "composite-proposition", no matter how hard he tries to write of a single proposition/contradiction or an "it".

(1) He writes of contradictory predicates (pleural) in his first "kind" of contradiction (Single predicates? No! Two predicates = 2 propositions.) and of (2) two kategorial (categorical) propositions (pleural) in his 2nd "other-kind" of contradiction (One categorical proposition? No! Two categorical propostions.).

Kevin (previously):
Your point (ie. Anything follows from a contradiction.) depends on the consequence of A contradiction or "from" A contradiction

See above (for) the definition of a contradiction.

I have Aristotle's definition of contradictory propositions (pleural). Why is Novak's definition better (or even different upon close scrutiny), for definitions always relate to questions of sameness and difference, according to Aristotle. To show a difference is enough to overthrow one "definition" with a better definition. Lukas's definition of a contradiction is a proposition that is necessarily false.

Aristotle's definition of a contradiction, by contrast, is two propositions with the same subject and the same predicate, where the identical predicate is affirmed of an identical subject in one case and the identical predicate is denied of the identical subject in the opposite or contradictory case.

Aristotle says nothing of truth or falsehood in defining contradictory propositions, although he clearly says that propositions are the only kinds of sentences with either truth or falsity in them. As to contradictory-propositions, as contradictories (whether true or false) he simply says that every affirmative proposition has a contradictory negative proposition as its logical opposite and that every negative proposition has a contradictory affirmative proposition as its logical opposite.

That is a difference between Novak and Aristotle, although, upon close examination, Lukas seems to be indicating 2 propositions, despite his insistence on 1 contradictory proposition. So Aristotle and Novak arppear the same, as logicians, upon close examination. But they are definitely different, for nowhere does Aristotle ever say that a contradiction is necessarily-FALSE.

Aristotle clearly asserts, along with St. Thomas, that true propositions have necessarily-false propositions as their contradictions and, conversely, that false propositions have necessarily-true propositions as their contradictions. That seems to be a big difference between Novak and Aristotle, whereas their notions of consequence seem to be the same, when Novak's allegedly single propositions are closely examined, thereby indicating 2 propositions.

But to show sameness is not enough to establish a definition, for a standing-philosopher, like Socrates (when standing), is the same as a standing-stooge, like Meletus (when standing), as standers. But a stooge is not a philosopher no matter the same arrangement of each man's limbs.

Kevin (formerly): I don't refuse to accept the notion of consequence as useful. I just refuse to believe that "Anything logically follows from a contradiction.", for if that notion is TRUE,

This is not a notion but a statement.

Lukas interrupts or contradicts my antecedent as a "notion". So, "Anything logically follows from a contradiction. is not a notion, but a statement. (O.K. for the sake of argument.) It is a true statement, according to Lukas.

NOTION (Oxford Concise):
noun 1. General concept under which particular thing may be classed (in phil. first, second ~ = first, second INTENTION) 2. Idea, conception, (The notion of my doing it is absurd ; What he means I have not the haziest notion); view, opinion, theory, vaguely held or insecurely based (has a notion that ; such is the common notion). 3. Faculty, capability, or intention of (has no notion of obeying, obedience, discipline, letting himself be made a fool of) 4. Something in the way of miscellaneous wares, esp. cheap useful ingenious article. pl. || (not American) Traditional special vocabulary of Winchester College.

[From Latin notio (NOTICE, -ION)]

NOTIONAL (Oxford Concise):
adjective (Of knowledge etc.) speculative, not based on experiment or demonstration, whence notionalist(2) noun; notionally 2. adverb; (of things, relations, etc.) existing only in thought, imaginary; (of persons) fanciful.

[from medieval Latin notionalis (NOTICE, -AL)]

Notion and Notional don't sound like very strong terms above, given phrases like "vaguely held or insecurely based" theories or opinions and "not based on experiment or demonstration" (adjective notional), especially when LOGIC is demonstrative, given true and primary premises.

So to rephrase my hypothesis with Lukas's correction:

I just refuse to believe that "Anything logically follows from a contradiction.", for if that statement is TRUE, then you probably have to accept that arguments which contain contradictory sets of propositions are VALID.

Yes. A deduction of the kind "If 2+2=5, then I am the Pope" is valid.

"IF 2+2=5, THEN Lukas is the Pope" is neither a deduction, nor valid, nor a contradiction, so far as I can see. It is, I think, a hypothesis and a sequence, otherwise known as a conditional proposition, where one proposition depends upon another proposition in a sequence. But is it a consequence or a contradiction?

And, since when, is a hypothesis either a deduction or valid/invalid reasoning?

eg. HYPOTHESIS (Oxford Concise):
Supposition made as a basis for reasoning, without assumption of its truth or as a starting point for investigation; groundless assumption. So hypothetical(al) a.a. hypothetically adv. [From Late Latin, from Greek hupotheke]

1. Can "groundless assumptions" or "suppositions as bases for reasoning" be either deductions or valid (deductions)? [I doubt it.]

2. Can a mathematical sum, whether correctly or incorrectly calculated, contradict or confirm whether Lukas Novak is, or is not, the pope? [I don't see how.]

3. IF "Anything follows from a contradiction" is a FALSE statement THEN what follows or does not follow (since it is only a statement and not a notion)??? What is the consequence if it is a TRUE statement (since it is only a statement and not a notion)? So, let us examine together certain falsehoods and consequences, followed by certain truths and consequences, according to Lukas's hypothesis which he describes as a valid deduction.


Hypothetical Major: IF 2+2=5, THEN Lukas Novak is the Pope. (Hypothesis)
Categorical Minor: 2+2 is not equal to 5 [denying antecedent] (True; Categorical)
Conclusion: Therefore Lukas Novak is not the Pope (True; Categorical)

[INVALID!!! Fallacy; denial of antecedent]
---on the other hand---

Hypothetical Major: IF 2+2=5, THEN Lukas Novak is the Pope. (Hypothesis)
Categorical Minor: Novak is not the Pope [denying consequent] (True; Categorical)
Conclusion: Therefore 2+2 is not equal to 5 (True; Categorical)

[VALID!!! No fallacy; denial of consequent]
---on the third hand---

Hypothetical Major: IF 2+2=5, THEN Lukas Novak is the Pope. (Hypothesis)
Categorical Minor: 2+2 =5 [affirms antecedent] (False; Categorical)
Conclusion: Lukas Novak is the Pope (False; Categorical)

[VALID!!! No fallacy; affirmed antecedent]
---on the fourth hand---

Hypothetical Major: IF 2+2=5, THEN Lukas Novak is the Pope. (Hypothesis)
Categorical Minor: Novak is the Pope [affirms consequent] (False; Categorical)
Conclusion: Therefore 2+2 is equal to 5 (False; Categorical)

[INVALID!!! Fallacy; affirms consequent]

Supposing that everyone knows that 2+2=5 is false and 2+2=not-5 (ie. 4) is true AND also that Lukas is the Pope is false and Lukas is not the Pope is true, what about the truth preserving function of consequence from the 4 arguments above

1. The invalid/fallacious "consequence" results in a true conclusion.
2. The valid consequence establishes a true conclusion from false premises.
3. The valid consequence preserves a false premise and a false conclusion.
4. The invalid/fallacious "consequence" preserves a false premise and conclusion.

According to Lukas Novak's definition of a contradiction being necessarily-FALSE, all 4 arguments involved necessarily-false propositions = contradictions. But the valid consequences preserved both true and false conclusions as did the invalid bogus "non-consequences". So what does consequence have to do with preserving truth? What does contradiction have to do with preserving truth, on Lukas's view of contradiction involving necessarily false propositions? Contradiction cannot preserve truth on Lukas's view of necessarily-false propositions. Let's see...

Validity (consequence) and Soundness (truth) seem to be different things. And contradiction seems to be a different thing from validity and soundness. So what is really "truth preserving", if anything? Is it really consequence that preserves truth?

Once again, let us examine an assertion of Lukas to see if it is true:

According to Lukas, requote (original post):

NOVAK:- "...we must ask, whether the notion serves its purpose. What is the purpose of the notion of consequence? The relation of consequence is introduced as a "truth preserving" relation: as a relation that will guarantee to you that you can never arrive at a falsity when you start from truth.

The above indicates that you can never arrive at falsity when starting from the truth, since the relation of consequence is truth preserving when employed correctly. So, since I think I employed the notion of consequence corrrectly in two of Lukas's hypothetical examples and incorrectly for two of the same examples, let us reexamine those two examples where the notion of consequence was employed correctly, with respect to the alleged truth preserving function of consequence.

But don't forget. These exampls all begin with doubly-false antecedent-consequent propositions (pleural) in one hypothesis.

Hypothetical Major: IF 2+2=5, THEN Lukas Novak is the Pope. (Hypothesis)
Categorical Minor: Novak is not the Pope [denying consequent] (True; Categorical)
Conclusion: Therefore 2+2 is not equal to 5 (True; Categorical)

[VALID!!! No fallacy; denial of consequent]

Here we begin with a false antecedent and a false consequent in an initial hypothesis. By validly contradicting a false consequent (in Aristotle's sense of contradictions involving affirmative and negative propositions), with the minor premise, we arrive at a true conclusion with respect to the antecedent. Thus we validly deny a false antecedent proposition. We have validly moved from falsity to truth as the CONSEQUENCE of contradicting a falsehood.

Second VALID example:

Hypothetical Major: IF 2+2=5, THEN Lukas Novak is the Pope. (Hypothesis)
Categorical Minor: 2+2 =5 [affirms antecedent] (False; Categorical)
Conclusion: Lukas Novak is the Pope (False; Categorical)

[VALID!!! No fallacy; affirmed antecedent]

In this example, where no Aristotelian style of contradiction was employed, we validly affirmed a false antecedent and, hence, validly affirmed a false consequent, employing a VALID sequence and a logically warranted consequence. In this case, without an Aristotlelian style of contradiction, we preserved falsity with a warranted CONSEQUENCE---an allegedly "truth-preserving" function. But, to the contrary, we preserved a known falsehood as a VALID consequence.

In sum, a valid CONSEQUENCE seems to preserve falsehoods (eg. 3), when simple falsehoods are not contradicted. By contrast, the valid CONSEQUENCE is to refute falsehoods (eg. 2) when simple falsehoods are contradicted, according to Aristotle's description of contradictory propositions.

What about the invalid non-CONSEQUENCES mentioned?

The first invalid non-CONSEQUENCE (non-sequitur) was, requote:-
Hypothetical Major: IF 2+2=5, THEN Lukas Novak is the Pope. (Hypothesis)
Categorical Minor: 2+2 is not equal to 5 [denying antecedent] (True; Categorical)
Conclusion: Therefore Lukas Novak is not the Pope (True; Categorical)

[INVALID!!! Fallacy; denial of antecedent]

By invalidly contradicting a known-false antecedent, we bogusly arrive at a true conclusion, employing an Aristotelian-style contradiction of a false statement, as a known non-Sequitur (illogical non-consequence).

And the final example:-

Hypothetical Major: IF 2+2=5, THEN Lukas Novak is the Pope. (Hypothesis)
Categorical Minor: Novak is the Pope [affirms consequent] (False; Categorical)
Conclusion: Therefore 2+2 is equal to 5 (False; Categorical)

[INVALID!!! Fallacy; affirms consequent]

Here we invalidly affirm a known false statement and do not contradict it, according to Aristotle's definition of contradictions and invalidly conclude a known false statement as a bogus non-CONSEQUENCE.

So, in sum, for these 2 fallacious non-examples of "CONSEQUENCE", the contradiction of a known false statement (eg. 1) invalidly (inconsequentially according to logical doctrine) "results" in a known-true conclusion. But, invalidly and fallaciously affirming a false proposition (eg. 4) results in a known-false conclusion, when we do not fallaciously, or otherwise (validly) contradict known falsehoods.

Preliminary Conclusion

It seems clear that contradicting known false statements is the key to "preserving-truth", no matter whether or not we employ the logical notion of CONSEQUENCE correctly or incorrectly. But recall, we began with BOTH a known-false antecedent and a known-false consequent set of propositions in our original hypothesis and Lukas tells us that the NOTION OF CONSEQUENCE is a "truth preserving" function.

So, we should also examine a similar hypothesis, where we, according to Aristotle's thesis concerning contradictions, contradict both known-falsehoods, so that we begin with truth and attempt to preserve the truth with only the notion of correct consequence, employing Lukas's basic example. However, we'll have to change the name and the arithmetical sum to begin with truth and to attempt to preserve the truth with correct logical (albeit hypothetical) consequences.

IF 2+2=4, THEN Benedict/Ratzinger is the pope (Hypothesis)
2+2=4 (Minr; Affirms antedent; TRUE)
Hence, Benedict/Ratzinger is the pope. (TRUE)
[Conclusion:- Valid-consequence preserves truth affirmatively]

-On The Other Hand-

IF 2+2=4, THEN Benedict/Ratzinger is the pope (Hypothesis)
Benedict/Ratzinger is NOT the pope.
(Minor; Validly denies consequent; with FALSE contradiction)
Hence, 2+2 = not-4
[Conclusion:- Valid-consequence destroys truth negatively]

NOVAK (requote): The relation of consequence is introduced as a "truth preserving" relation: as a relation that will guarantee to you that you can never arrive at a falsity when you start from truth.

Above we arrived at a falsity, by starting with the truth, employing the notion of CONSEQUENCE validly, but by contradictiong the truth with a false premise, which had to be necessarily false given Lukas's definition of a contradiction. The notion of CONSEQUENCE logically validated arriving at a falsity when starting from truth.

It shouldn't be necessary to go over the INVALID-non-CONSEQUENCE examples of invalidly affirming the consequent (Benedict is Pope) to bogusly arrive at the truth with a non-sequitur (2+2=4) OR invalidly contradict a true antecedent (2+2=4) with a false denial (2+2=not-4) to fallaciously arrive at a false statement (Benedict is not the pope.) as a bogus conclusion and inconsequentially-FALSE result.

In all cases, it is the CONTRADICTION of true propositions by false propositions which, primarily, causes falsehoods and the CONTRADICTION of false propositions by true propositions which, primarily, "preserves truth", in accordance with Aristotle's notion of contradictory propositions (pleural; affirmation vs. negation).

Lukas's Notion of Consequence, on the other hand, preserves falsity, just as well as it preserves TRUTH, given any false and uncontradicted proposition in a properly sequenced argument.

So the CONSEQUENCE of an uncontradicted false proposition in any logical argument is the "preservation of falsity", but the logical CONSEQUENCE of a contradicted false proposition in any logical argument "refutes falsity" and CONSEQUENTIALLY "reestablishes the truth" by controverting a falsehood.

FINALLY, with respect to Novak's "notion of consequence" we have these two propositions to examine, again, with respect to allegedly preserving truth, requote:

Anything follows from a contradiction. (TRUE?)
A contradiction is 1 necessarily-false proposition. (TRUE?)

If a contradiction is 1 necessarily false proposition, then a necessarily false conclusion seems to be the logical CONSEQUENCE of employing that necessarily false proposition in any logical argument, unless it is contradicted. But, according to Lukas, a contradiction is necessarily false. [Gridlock?]

Of course, on Aristotle's and Aquinas's view of contradiction, a contradictory pair of propositions involve one TRUE proposition, logically opposed to one FALSE proposition, by logical-necessity. Hence contradictories are necessarily opposed as TRUE vs. FALSE propositions. In sum a contradiction is not necessarily false, nor is a contradiction a single proposition, except by conjunction. And who conjoins true and false propositions to arrive at the truth???

The two contradictory propositions are neither necessarily true nor necessarily false, just necessarily opposed in "truth value", which suggests another "notion" than consequence to determine which is which. That notion is the self-evident proposition, which is the basic notion of material or major logic. Major logic has truth, rather than consequence (formal logic's basic notion) as its basic notion and induction (in contrast to deduction) as its fundamental principle.

I wish Jacques Maritain had been given the time or the grace to actually write his promised treatise on Major Logic. It would have been interesting, although arguably not up to St. Thomas's standards of truth. Otherwise he probably would have been given both the grace and the time. I guess it wasn't necessary. Aristotle's formulation of contradiction is probably still the basic standard.


In a message dated 09/05/06 10:57:04 PM Mountain Daylight Time, uncljoedoc@... writes:

> In a message dated 5/8/2006 10:15:58 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, jamesmiguez@... forwards from Kevin:
>> That "pious ejaculation" entails an egregious perversion of the logical meaning of the expression "It follows..."!!! The only thing which logically "follows" a contradiction is that 1 proposition, of a pair of contradictory-propositions, is false & the other true, when the propositions are existential.


You suggest that what follows from a contradiction is of rather limited value to analytic cognition.

Hi again Joe:
No! I asserted that nothing logical "follows from" an existential contradiction save one true premise and one false premise. But I suppose if you think egregious perversions are of limited value to analytic cognition, you may be right.

Just kidding.

Existential "contradictions" (metaphorically-speaking), on the other hand from analytic cognition (whatever that is), are the basics of the scientific method. Such metaphorical existential "contradictions" are the crux of the experimental science "game"! Let me explain...

Take, for example, the contradictory conjunction "P & not-P", from Daniel Bonevac's example of an indirect proof. Can you construct an analytic cognitive truth table for that conjunction, Joe, using your analytic cognitive skills or, alternatively, your symbolic logic habit, if you have been trained in that art or acquired habit?

"Not" is what symbolic logicians call a truth functional connective, in SL, according to our friend Bonevac. The letter P is a formula in the SL "metalanguage", corresponding to some proposition in English, which is called a "natural language" to symbolic logicians (even though all languages are conventional).

So whether an SL proposition is "P" or "not-P", I think that they are actually talking about one and the same sentence in speaking of "P" and of "not-P"! By contrast in so-called "classical" logic, "P" vs. "not-P" would be two distinct and contradictory propositions, using the same subject and, THEN, the same predicate in logical opposition. In short two contradictory propositions.

So, with "NOT", however symbolized, being called a truth functional CONNECTIVE, they must (I suppose) be talking about connecting propositions to real states of affairs or being. Maybe. Maybe not. I dunno. But it sounds suspiciously like what the SL "guys" may be talking about---connecting propositions with being/reality.

Unlike classical logic, certain SL symbols stand for entire sentences, whereas in classical logic their symbols (when not using "natural language"; but only mere letter symbols) stand for subject and predicate. I gave an example of Algazali using such "classical" symbolic notation when he wrote to his muslim friends

If every a is b, then some b is a!
eg. If every man is an animal then (conversely) some animal is a man.
['Ghazali's example from "natural language"]

I think that SL people may come from the so-called "coherence theory of truth" school of modern philosophers, as distinct from the so-called correspondence and pragmatic "theories" of truth schools. An analog of coherence with respect to truth, is consistency in so-called "sets" of sentences or propositions.

So the SL "guys" seem to be more interested in how sets of propositions "agree" or "disagree" with each other, in either consistency or coherence, than in how human beings connect or disconnect subjects with predicates. They seem to be working off of Uncle Bertie Russell's "set theory", from mathematics and his theory of "signs".

However, no classical logician ever "thought" that the truth was any sort of theory, in the modern sense of theories. With classical logicians the truth is axiomatic, as opposed to "hypothetical", where modern theories are considered to be repetitively confirmable or verifiable hypotheses.

By contrast:- Theoria in the ancient sense meant the kind of knowledge and truth that Theos/God had of things---immutable, eternal, unchangeable---sorts of knowledge. Thus we have Aristotle saying in the Metaphysics that if "the divine" is anywhere in human things, it must be in the study of abstract mathematics, physics or theology---for in those subjects we apprehend so much of "the divine" which is possible for human beings to grasp. Or in Aquinas, you have the entirely "cocky" (according to modern "truth-theoreticians"!) assurance that THE CONTRARY of Scripture's truth can never be demonstrated, since Scripture rests upon infallible truth and the contrary of infallible-truth can never be demonstrated.

Truth, according to Aquinas's definition, isn't "correspondence with reality" (way too general; reality being the sum of all real things), but, instead the "conformity of an intellect with a thing." In other words one "thing" at a time, or one step at a time. No one is going to know or understand "reality", or have a mind which "corresponds with reality", at one time, or even with much of "reality", in any amount of time.

"Reality" is just TOO MUCH and TOO BIG.

But "P" and "not-P" are neither too much nor too big to handle. They're simple.

The SL "p" and "not-P" stuff probably comes out of logical positivism, and its descent from Hume. Positivists were not going to take courses in BARBARA-CELARENT logic from a bunch of "obsolete/irrelevant" monks in Catholic institutions. That "logic" was passe. And since Hume posed as a sort of "Newton-of-Philosophy", while guys like Jeremy Bentham were also posing as Newton-Clones and "thinking-up" things like the "Felicifical-Calculus" (I love the British because they pretend to be staid and serious---when, in truth, they have more WILD 'N CRAAAZY GUYS than even Steve Martin could "dream-up"), Hume's descendants just, naturally, had to "dream-up" some wild calculus symbols for what any ancient scholastic could do with MNEMONICS like Barbara-Celarent-Darii, etc.

Of course, it was also the "new age" of experimental science. So "chuck" those outmoded categorical syllogisms and TURN EVERYTHING into HYPOTHESES because that's what the "scientists" do. So that's what positivists tried to do. But it didn't work because those SCIENTISTS were not "reasoning" according to the rules. The illogical clowns were apparently "reasoning" by AFFIRMING THE CONSEQUENTS of their hypotheses---which is irrational. However they were getting results, like dynamite as well as anti-septic-surgery.

So they must be doing something INDUCTIVE with their experiments. Inductive sounds more logical than Irrational any day of a logical positivist's week. So the positivists started "throwiing around expressions" such as inductively valid, but deductively invalid and confusing themselves along with all their former students who DROPPED LOGIC and went into "science/math". At the same time, people were looking for an equivalent set of RULES OF INDUCTION to go along with their RULES OF DEDUCTION, but never found such expected "rules".

But what the scientific guys were actually DOING was taking any old garden variety hypothesis such as----IF "P" THEN "?" and also doing the same hypothesis with--- IF "not-P" THEN "?" In other words they were DOING "P" and "not-P" in an existential mode, which is illogical to DO in a mental mode.

Scientists do not misreason (as a general rule; although any individual scientist can be as "cracked" as the next guy) from AFFIRMED CONSEQUENT to AFFIRMED ANTECEDENT (contrary to logic's rules) but from AFFIRMED ANTECEDENT & not-AFFIRMED ANTECEDENT to "?"-CONSEQUENT, normally called TEST vs. CONTROL in a modern scientific experiment.

In short, scientists can existentially do, validly, what logicians are forbidden to mentally do in terms of logic. However, nothing succeeds like "success", so, apparently without understanding the WHY of the scientific method's success, logicians started to come up with "goofy sayings" such as "anything follows from a contradiction" in order to "justify" a logical imitation of the scientific method, such as the INDIRECT PROOF method with "assumptions" such as "P & not-P".

That "stuff" perfectly imitates the TEST vs. CONTROL "system" of experimental science. But logicians know that it is, at best, an "iffy" logical procedure, as Bonevac frankly confessed with his "flying pigs" example. So they only use indirect proofs when all their other actually-LOGICAL rules leave them "dead-ended".

And, of course, since many of the SL guys are actually LOGICAL, they have to put their little boxes around everything and make sure they cancel their "shows" and rub-out their intentionally introduced contradictions, in mathematically calculated ORDER and precision, so that one ERROR cancels-out a balancing-ERROR.

Unfortunately, no one can put "little boxes" around existential errors and cancel out one existential error with a counter-balancing existential error, then ERASE the whole intermediate MESS, while being SATISFIED with a final correct answer. Reality doesn't work that way. Stick one ERROR into an existential system and the whole system begins to react, in various unpredictable ways, to that error and NONE of the unpredictable reactions are either BOXED or ERASIBLE. eg. Ignoring the 95 theses of an Augustinian monk, by calling the "95" a monkish "quibble". Oh! That's where Apolonio may have gotten the term "quibble" from. I wondered about that...

At any rate, Joe, that's the gist of the "P" & "not-P" thesis in science. Let P stand for Pasteurization.

If P, then kids don't die from drinking bad milk
"P" in every "civilized" country of the world
ERGO kids don't die from drinking bad milk.

That is called AFFIRMING the antecedent, which is perfectly logical to do. The observations, and work by Louis Pasteur, which led to that sort of actual logic and actual science did have some apparently illogical (to positivists) steps. For example, poor Louis had to take tons of illogical criticism from "positivists" after basically pioneering sterilization and antisepsis, despite irrational opposition. But finally the "successes" convinced even the most hardened sceptics.

However when Louis began to inject supposedly "infectious matter" (which Louis had carefully rendered "inert" by sterilizing/pasteurizing the formerly infectious stuff) into patients another furor and scandal erupted, because what he was doing (immunization) went against "sterile" medical procedures and practices. However, curing rabies soon silenced more irrational critics, who failed to distinguish sterilization from immunization. What a guy! Even the atheists and positivists had to pay him homage.

The more I learn and understand the more my Faith becomes that of a Breton peasant. If I continue to learn more and understand more, perhaps I may gain the Faith of a Breton peasant's wife.

Atta Boy, logically-scientific-Louis!!!


The Notions of validity in Anselm, Aquinas, and Novak:
1986, 1987, 1988, 2038, 2049, 2052, 2053, 2054, 2056, 2059, 2062


A more common term meaning the same thing would be "reification," but the problem with reify or reification is that res ('thing') can be applied analogously to substance, accident, even mental entities. A popular definition of reification is to attribute concrete or material existence to something, but this is problematic because it does not distinguish between substance and accident. Hence my choice of the word substantiation, because of its link to the word substance.

[It is also what Whitehead's fallacy of misplaced concreteness (or the fallacy of reification) is trying to get at, even if one disagrees with his examples.]

My two big targets:
(1) Treating science, knowledge, a body of opinion, any -ism, a "system of thought," etc. as a thing in itself.

Small wonder C. Blum prohibited the talk of any -ism in the philosophy of history class. Such a label may be convenient at times, but it can also be vague, if one does not specify what one is talking about. And what is this the case? Because unlike actual substances, an -ism does not have any existence in itself, but only exists as an accident in the thinking subject.

There is no fixed and stable "essence" of an -ism to discover, as if one were observing an animal. Rather one must create such an "essence" through the -ism's properties--namely the arguments, both the premises and the conclusions and the structure of the argument. Because an -ism has existence only in the thinking subject, it can differ from one thinker to another, and this needs to be taken into consideration before one begins to speak of an "universal" -ism.

Many try to classify an -ism as if it were a real thing, searching for similarities and differences between -isms, but the problem is that it can be difficult to generalize between the various thinkers who formulated the -ism or contributed to the development of the -ism. Is it necessarily the case that all who claim to be adherents of an -ism hold all the same principles or conclusions? No. Hence, one usually has to resort to delineating an abstraction, looking for what holds true for most [and it is best to support such an abstraction by citing the relevant thinkers and texts showing that such an abstraction is accurate representation of the -ism].

The example I would use is one that I have to deal with in my investigations, and that is Liberalism. Classical or philosophical liberals may have certain tenets and conclusions in common, but they may also differ elsewhere. (Hence it is difficult to argue that "ideas" do have consequences. One can show that this person was influenced by anothers's writings, either because he explicitly references it, or there is indirect evidence that it is so; but to argue that a whole society developed in a certain way because certain members of the intellectual or professional or ruling elites held to certain ideas is usually difficult and problematic.)

It is better to find errors in the premises or principles than errors in arguments and conclusions--the latter are more "distant" and while they may be invalid, this does not necessarily entail that the premises are wrong. (If the conclusion is unsound but the form of the argument valid, then one knows the premises are false, but for the sake of dialogue and the diffusion of truth one needs to show why they are so, by proving their contradictory[ies].)

It is also better not to critique an -ism, but to direct one's attention to a particular writer or thinker. It may be possible to critique a [coherent and unified] tradition if one can identify not only the principles but the conclusions which are explicitly drawn from those principles. While one can show that a conclusion that is adhered to contradicts what actually follows from his/their principles, one should frame one's critique as an exercise in logic, and not psychologize the discussion or write a historical narrative. ("He was unable to see that..." etc.) Dialogue is between two people, not two -isms. Just because one's opponent has studied Kant, for example, does not mean that he is Kant reborn--one must address the actual positions held by the opponent, and this can be discovered only through [hopefully respectful] questioning.

Writing a critique as some sort of historical narrative or genealogy can be dangerous if one is not sufficiently attentive to the evidence and what can be shown from either the text or the tradition. Many who engage in such an enterprise commit various fallacies, such as the argument from silence.

Drawing grand historical conclusions, a la Gilson or Strauss, connecting thinkers who are centuries apart, purely on the basis of arguments and logic, without showing an actual historical connection between them is problematic--it's bad history, and does not amount to a philosophical demonstration, since it is just a comparison between what two people have said. Without evidence of a historical connection, the most one should say is that their arguments are similar (or even identical), and one can hazard a guess that perhaps there has been some learning or borrowing, but this cannot be a certain conclusion.

On the other hand, trying to address too many thinkers without sufficient familiarity with their differences and argumentation = painting with a broad brush, and usually fails. Gilson, for example, attempted to show that many of the great mistakes in philosophy were made because those committing the errors were too essentialist and not existentialist. Criticisms have been leveled against his analysis; I will try to write some thoughts on it some other time.

[It is for these reasons that the historical approach towards philosophy has very limited practical value in leading others to truth. If one already possesses true science and wisdom, and the good logic (especially dialectical skill) , one has all one really needs to dialogue with someone else. Of course this may not be sufficient to convince or persuade, but one also needs to admit that there are other factors, especially moral ones, which influence one's reasoning (or lack thereof).]

(2) The other example is to reify function or, in a political context, office. Function or office cannot be separated from the acts that fufill that function or office, or ultimately from the agent who performs them and has that function or office. Moreover, the actions that can be performed for the sake of a function can vary greatly--still, this does not mean that one cannot evaluate them--some actions may be better than others, or some may be morally good while others are not. I will try to think of some examples of the substantiation of function.

Monday, September 11, 2006

podcast: T. Hibbs on Nihilism

One of his favorite topics? At least one that he writes and talks about a lot.

mp3, listed here

(From Right Reason. As Maxwell Goss of RR notes, the Center for Ethics and Culture also has some online papers. One of these used to be John Haldane's (definitely an analytic Thomist) "Thomistic Ethics in Amerca." Now available only to academic institutions that have a subscription. I guess I'll have to download it at B.C.; I don't think this was re-published in his collection of essays.)

Alexander Pruss

An analytic; is he an analytic Thomist?

faculty page

He was a part of the Thomism-Analytic philosophy program at Princeton in August (more info; original site--seems dead). He has joined the Right Reason blog, which needs to be updated more often, and perhaps on more substantial topics. (Though I can understand why one would want to save that sort of writing for potential publications--that's the nature of academia.)

Also at the Princeton seminar--Mark C. Murphy. Another analytic? That would be my guess. He and John Finnis definitely differ on the notion of "common good," though as far as I can tell he is mostly sympathetic to the concerns and formulations of the "New Natural Law Theory."

Some other blogs:
The Prosblogion
Thomist Tacos for the Soul

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Fr. John Meyendorff on Original Sin

Over at Pontifications, in the thread Eastern Triabloguers Take on Eastern Orthodoxy, the discussion was brought to the topic of Roman Catholic teaching on the Immaculate Conception.

As a result of Stephen Todd Kaster's suggestion that I read Fr. Meyendorff on original sin, I looked for a copy of Byzantine Theology online, since I don't have a hard copy of it. I found an abridged version of the book.

Before I comment on what I read, some links:
My Belief in the Immaculate Conception, by Daniel Joseph Barton
Original Sin and Its Transmission, Peter Kwasniewski
New Insights into the Deposit of Faith
Plus this thread at Pontifications on "Bad, bad Augustine." See Daniel Jones's posts in particular, and his replies to Perry Robinson. [Written during his "Romanist" days--he is now Orthodox and goes by the handle Photios Jones at Pontifications and Energetic Procession.]

Here is the abridged(how much abridged?) text plus my comments:

In order to understand many major theological problems, which arose between East and West both before and after the schism, the extraordinary impact upon Western thought of Augustine’s polemics against Pelagius and Julian of Eclanum must be fully taken into account. In the Byzantine world where Augustinian thought exercised practically no influence, the significance of the sin of Adam and of its consequences for mankind was understood along quite different lines.

We have seen that in the East man’s relationship with God was understood as a communion of the human person with that, which is above nature. "Nature" therefore designates that, which is, in virtue of creation, distinct from God. But nature can and must be transcended; this is the privilege and the function of the free mind made "according to God’s image."
The divine life or friendship with God.

Now, in Greek patristic thought, only this free, personal mind can commit sin and incur the concomitant "guilt" — a point made particularly clear by Maximus the Confessor in his distinction between "natural will" and "gnomic will." Human nature as God’s creature always exercises its dynamic properties (which together constitute the "natural will" — a created dynamism) in accordance with the divine will, which creates it. But when the human person, or hypostasis, by rebelling against both God and nature misuses its freedom, it can distort the "natural will" and thus corrupt nature itself. It is able to do so because it possesses freedom, or "gnomic will," which is capable of orienting man toward the good and of "imitating God" ("God alone is good by nature," writes Maximus, "and only God’s imitator is good by his gnome");17 it is also capable of sin because "our salvation depends on our will."18 But sin is always a personal act and never an act of nature.19 Patriarch Photius even goes so far as to say, referring to Western doctrines, that the belief in a "sin of nature" is a heresy.20
Here is the definition of sin, which is strictly adhered to: a personal act, in which one rebels against God, etc. Sin can be used only univocally, and not analogically.

From these basic ideas about the personal character of sin, it is evident that the rebellion of Adam and Eve against God could be conceived only as their personal sin; there would be no place, then, in such an anthropology for the concept of inherited guilt, or for a "sin of nature," although it admits that human nature incurs the consequences of Adam’s sin.
Yes, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God they committed a sin in the sense defined above. They were responsible for this sin and therefore guilty. However, the concept of inherited guilt, even if it be of Augustine, is not part of the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Greek patristic understanding of man never denies the unity of mankind or replaces it with a radical individualism. The Pauline doctrine of the two Adams ("As in Adam all men die, so also in Christ all are brought to life" [1 Co 15:22]) as well as the Platonic concept of the ideal man leads Gregory of Nyssa to understand Genesis 1:27 — "God created man in His own image" — to refer to the creation of mankind as a whole.21 It is obvious therefore that the sin of Adam must also be related to all men, just as salvation brought by Christ is salvation for all mankind; but neither original sin nor salvation can be realized in an individual’s life without involving his personal and free responsibility.

This is insistance on the univocal use of sin, which names a voluntary, personal act for which one is responsible.
The scriptural text, which played a decisive role in the polemics between Augustine and the Pelagians, is found in Romans 5:12 where Paul speaking of Adam writes, "As sin came into the world through one man and through sin and death, so death spreads to all men because all men have sinned [eph ho pantes hemarton]" In this passage there is a major issue of translation. The last four Greek words were translated in Latin as in quo omnes peccaverunt ("in whom [i.e., in Adam] all men have sinned"), and this translation was used in the West to justify the doctrine of guilt inherited from Adam and spread to his descendants. But such a meaning cannot be drawn from the original Greek — the text read, of course, by the Byzantines. The form eph ho — a contraction of epi with the relative pronoun ho — can be translated as "because," a meaning accepted by most modern scholars of all confessional backgrounds.22 Such a translation renders Paul’s thought to mean that death, which is "the wages of sin" (Rm 6:23) for Adam, is also the punishment applied to those who like him sin. It presupposed a cosmic significance of the sin of Adam, but did not say that his descendants are "guilty" as he was unless they also sinned as he did.
Except that "inherited guilt" does not become a part of the Latin theological tradition lasting to this day. Nonetheless, the question is whether "inherited guilt" is taken to mean what Orthodox theologians and polemicists think it means.

A number of Byzantine authors, including Photius, understood the eph ho to mean "because" and saw nothing in the Pauline text beyond a moral similarity between Adam and other sinners in death being the normal retribution for sin. But there is also the consensus of the majority of Eastern Fathers, who interpret Romans 5:12 in close connection with 1 Corinthians 15:22 — between Adam and his descendants there is a solidarity in death just as there is a solidarity in life between the risen Lord and the baptized. This interpretation comes obviously from the literal, grammatical meaning of Romans 5:12. Eph ho, if it means "because," is a neuter pronoun; but it can also be masculine referring to the immediately preceding substantive thanatos ("death"). The sentence then may have a meaning, which seems improbable to a reader trained in Augustine, but which is indeed the meaning which most Greek Fathers accepted: "As sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, so death spread to all men; and because of death, all men have sinned..."

Mortality, or "corruption," or simply death (understood in a personalized sense), has indeed been viewed since Christian antiquity as a cosmic disease, which holds humanity under its sway, both spiritually and physically, and is controlled by the one who is "the murderer from the beginning" (Jn 8:44). It is this death, which makes sin inevitable and in this sense "corrupts" nature.
Just physical mortality or spiritual morality as well?

For Cyril of Alexandria, humanity after the sin of Adam "fell sick of corruption."23 Cyril’s opponents, the theologians of the School of Antioch, agreed with him on the consequence of Adam’s sin. For Theodore of Mopsuestia, "by becoming mortal, we acquired greater urge to sin." The necessity of satisfying the needs of the body — food, drink, and other bodily needs — are absent in immortal beings; but among mortals, they lead to "passions," for they present unavoidable means of temporary survival.24 Theodoret of Cyrus repeats almost literally the arguments of Theodore in his own commentary on Romans; elsewhere, he argues against the sinfulness of marriage by affirming that transmission of mortal life is not sinful in itself, in spite of Psalm 51:7 ("my mother conceived me in sin"). This verse, according to Theodoret, refers not to the sexual act but to the general sinful condition of mortal humanity: "Having become mortal, [Adam and Eve] conceived mortal children, and mortal beings are a necessary subject to passions and fears, to pleasures and sorrows, to anger and hatred."25
It is not clear to me that Adam and Eve did not need to eat. If we take Genesis literally, why would they offered be food if they did not need nourishment? For the pleasure of eating?
It seems to me that one can argue that they needed food in some way, though they could not be killed by an external object. As for Orthodox teaching on whether Adam and Eve needed food, is this a definitive teaching or is Fr. Meyendorf advancing a theological opinion? not definitive teaching?

One notes that strictly speaking, nature (as form or essence) itself cannot be corrupted without simultaneously being destroyed. Nature as matter, however, can be, or nature as referring to the composite taken together, form + matter. Hence, Aquinas will speak of corrupt nature as well--see for example, question 85 of the Prima Secundae, or this passage.

There is indeed a consensus in Greek patristic and Byzantine traditions in identifying the inheritance of the Fall as an inheritance essentially of mortality rather than of sinfulness, sinfulness being merely a consequence of mortality. The idea appears in Chrysostom in the eleventh-century commentator Theophylact of Ohrida27, who specifically denies the imputation of sin to the descendants of Adam,26 and in later Byzantine authors, particularly in Gregory Palamas.28 The always-more-sophisticated Maximus the Confessor, when he speaks of the consequences of the sin of Adam, identifies them mainly with the mind’s submission to the flesh and finds in sexual procreation the most obvious expression of man’s acquiescence in animal instincts; but as we have seen, sin remains, for Maximus, a personal act, and inherited guilt is impossible.29 For him as for the others, "the wrong choice but not inherited guilt made by Adam brought in passion, corruption, and mortality."30
And the Latins would agree--(1) concupiscence is a consequence of the sin of Adam, and (2) there is no inherited personal guilt for Adam's descendants. But is there guilt in another sense?

The contrast with Western tradition on this point is brought into sharp focus when Eastern authors discuss the meaning of baptism. Augustine’s arguments in favour of infant baptism were taken from the text of the creeds (baptism for "the remission of sins") and from his understanding of Romans 5:12. Children are born sinful not because they have sinned personally, but because they have sinned "in Adam;" their baptism is therefore also a baptism "for the remission of sins." At the same time, an Eastern contemporary of Augustine’s, Theodoret of Cyrus, flatly denies that the creedal formula "for the remission of sins" is applicable to infant baptism. For Theodoret, in fact, the "remission of sins" is only a side effect of baptism, fully real in cases of adult baptism, which is the norm, of course, in the early Church and which indeed "remits sins." But the principal meaning of baptism is wider and more positive: "If the only meaning of baptism is the remission of sins," writes Theodoret, "why would we baptize the newborn children who have not yet tasted of sin? But the mystery [of baptism] is not limited to this; it is a promise of greater and more perfect gifts. In it, there are the promises of future delights; it is a type of the future resurrection, a communion with the master’s passion, a participation in His resurrection, a mantle of salvation, a tunic of gladness, a garment of light, or rather it is light itself."31
Augustine is not the whole of the "Western tradition." A straw man argument. What do the authoritative documents of the Catholic Church maintain? Also, how is remission being used by Augustine?Aquinas will speak of both the healing and the perfective necessity of grace.

Thus, the Church baptizes children not to "remit" their yet nonexistent sins but in order to give them a new and immortal life, which their mortal parents are unable to communicate to them.
Yes. And it is this lack of the new and immortal life, this privative state, which the Latins call original "sin"--not sin as a personal act, but sin analogically. Does original sin have the character of personal sin for Augustine? Or does he use it analogically as well? And if it is used analogically, can one still nevertheless speak of it being remitted? Does the privative state of original sin have the nature of punishment which should be lifted or taken away? If it does, then one can see why one could speak of the "remission" of original sin, to release from the guilt or the penalty [of]. And the penalty? Physical and spiritual death, being under the dominion of the devil, etc., which was incurred by Adam not only for himself but for the whole human race because of his act of disobedience.

The opposition between the two Adams is seen in terms not of guilt and forgiveness but of death and life. "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven; as was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven" (1 Co 15:47-48). Baptism is the paschal mystery, the "passage." All its ancient forms, especially the Byzantine, include a renunciation of Satan, a triple immersion as type of death and resurrection, and the positive gift of new life through anointing and Eucharistic communion.
Ok, this is in agreement with Catholic teaching.
In this perspective, death and mortality are viewed not as much as retribution for sin (although they are also a just retribution for personal sins) but as means through which the fundamentally unjust "tyranny" of the devil is exercised over mankind after Adam’s sin. From this, baptism is liberation because it gives access to the new immortal life brought into the world by Christ’s Resurrection. The Resurrection delivers men from the fear of death and, therefore, also from the necessity of struggling for existence. Only in the light of the risen Lord the Sermon on the Mount does acquire its full realism: "Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body — more than clothing?" (Mt6:25).
What is retribution, or punishment? The effects of original sin are a punishment of Adam's sin, imposed on all human beings, in so far as they share his nature and are descended from him.

Communion in the risen body of Christ, participation in divine life, sanctification through the energy of God, which penetrates true humanity and restores it to its "natural" state rather than justification, or remission of inherited guilt, — these are at the centre of Byzantine understanding of the Christian Gospel.
Justification is not just the remission of inherited guilt--Catholi teaching also covers the "positive" aspect of justification and sanctification.

The differences in terminology can obscure the fundamental questions, which are:

(1) Was Adam given the gift of divine life or friendship with God or righteousness?
(2) Did God intend for this gift to be passed on to Adam's descendants?
(3) As a result of Adam's sin, was this inheritance taken away, so that his descendants would be not be created in the state of being righteous, etc., unlike Adam?

Is it necessary for official teaching and theology to use univocal naming only, for the sake of clarity? Even if this were taken to be the ideal, it would be necessary not for the intelligibility of discourse, but because of our weaknesses, both intellectual and moral.

As for the corruption of nature, we note that the Greek Fathers, who did not have a complete account of the word "nature," can be misconstrued if one equates "nature" with essence. Rather, however if they are interpreted in the light of a proper understanding of nature as matter, these difficulties can be resolved.

As for "inherited guilt" we note that it is not spoken of in the Compendium of the Catechism or in the CCC. I doubt if guilt is used in connection with original sin in any magisterial documents of the last century. (It is not used in the Council of Orange, as far as I can see.)

From the Compendium of the Catechism:

76. What is original sin?


Original sin, in which all human beings are born, is the state of deprivation of original holiness and justice. It is a sin “contracted” by us not “committed”; it is a state of birth and not a personal act. Because of the original unity of all human beings, it is transmitted to the descendants of Adam “not by imitation, but by propagation”. This transmission remains a mystery which we cannot fully understand.

77. What other consequences derive from original sin?


In consequence of original sin human nature, without being totally corrupted, is wounded in its natural powers. It is subject to ignorance, to suffering, and to the dominion of death and is inclined toward sin. This inclination is called concupiscence.

The corresponding sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

402 All men are implicated in Adam's sin, as St. Paul affirms: "By one man's disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners": "sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned."289 The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ. "Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men."290

403 Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam's sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the "death of the soul".291 Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin.292

404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? the whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man".293 By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. and that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.

405 Although it is proper to each individual,295 original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

406 The Church's teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine's reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God's grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam's fault to bad example. the first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. the Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529)296 and at the Council of Trent (1546).297

However, the Council of Trent does use the word guilt.

The Council of Trent, Decree on Original Sin (DS 1510-1516):

One online English translation reads thusly:
5. If any one denies, that, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted...

The original Latin:
5. Si quis per Iesu Christi Domini nostri gratiam, quae in baptismate confertur, reatum originalis peccati remitti negat...

Here reatum = guilt or the state of guilt. But is it personal guilt or fault, that which obtains with responsibility? Or is guilt being used to name something analogically, namely that effects or consequences of Adam's sin?

Aquinas writes in the De Malo, q. 4, a. 1:

If we should consider this privation so transmitted by physical descent to a particular human being insofar as the human being is an individual person, then such privation cannot have the nature of moral fault, for which voluntariness is a prerequisite. But if we should consider a particular begotten human being as a member of the whole human nature propagated by our first parent, as if all human beings were one human being, than the privation of original justice has the nature of moral fault because of its voluntary source, that is, the actual sin of our first parent.
It has the fault not because we are responsible for bringing it upon ourselves, but because Adam was responsible for himself and for all of mankind, as head of the human race. It is called fault not in reference to us, but in reference to the origin, Adam, from whom the consequences are transmitted.

A similar charge has been levelled at the term "sin of nature"--the objection again rests on a univocal definition of sin as something that is personal. The response is the same--Aquinas continues in the same passage:

This is as if we should say that the movement of a hand to commit homicide, insofar as we consider the hand as such, does nto have the character of a moral fault, since something else moves the hand in a determined way. But if we should consider the hand as part of the human being who acts willingly, then the hand's movement shares the character of the moral fault, since then the movement is voluntary. Therefore, as we call teh homicide the moral fault of teh whole human being and not the hand, so we call the privation of original justice a sin of teh whole human nature and not a personal sin. Nor does the privation belong to the person except insofar as human nature corrupts the person. And different parts of a human being, namely, the will, reason, hands, eyes, and the like, are used to commit one sin, and yet there is only one sin because of its one source, namely, the will, from which the character of sin is transmitted to all the acts of the other parts. Just so, we consider original sin as if one sin by reason of its source in the whole human nature.

If, however, " sin of nature" is equivalent to the corruption of nature (as matter), then the objection does not hold. Or, to put it in another way, "sin of nature" merely emphasizes that we are all descended from Adam and suffer the consequences of his sin, and that "all have sinned in Adam."

Hence, the "sin" of "sin of nature" should not be understood univocally as it meant the same thing as personal sin. Aquinas [and I assumes other Latin theologians as well] are not committing the mistake of attributing a personal act to the nature, as some Orthodox might assert. Rather than assuming they understand the terms, they should back their interpretation up with texts, and see how the terms are being defined.

Unless I see how Augustine defines "guilt" and "sin" univocally (and I have not seen any proof that he has), I withhold from judging that he has made an error. If he does not define guilt and sin, then the meaning must be drawn from the texts and given "the most charitable interpretation" possible. Even if he does make this mistake, one needs to show that his definitions are employed by the Latin tradition, and not just the terms.