The Anhypothetical Principle

Since the birth of philosophy itself, thinkers have been searching for the principle of all logic: not a logical proof but the proof of the validity of logic itself. The search is for a justification of logic that is not waiting for us at the end of a chain of reasoning but that validates all reasoning in the first place. Both Plato and Aristotle call this principle of logic the “anhypothetical principle”: the principle that does not need to be hypotheized. (17)

What justification has the autonomous man for assuming the law of non-contradiction to be a reliable principle? The independent thinker is quick to respond that the critic himself must assume the law of non-contradiciton in order to argue against him; of course this true since all discourse require logical distinctions (or else every utterance would mean anything and everything else). But it does not follow from this fact that the function of logic is its own foundation! … Strictly speaking, this is only an indication that we are bound to think in certain patterns; this does not tell us anything about the truthfulness or appropriateness of those patterns! Perhaps we are locked into a distorted mind-set. (103)



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