So I’ve previously floated some remarks about Emerson’s famous quote about a foolish consistency being the hobgoblin of a narrow mind. It seems reasonable that there might be something like a foolish consistency, but is that evident reasonableness actually validated in practice? And how might a person with a logical turn of mind validate, in turn, that reasonableness in theory? I’d like to explore this subject a bit by offering some informal remarks on formal logic, the thought being that there are actually reasons for learning the latter, yet intelligent things that can be discovered pursuing the former.
Formal logic, as it is traditionally taught and interpreted, holds that a formal contradiction is the End of Days. It is the thing that causes Jason Voorhees to drop his machete, Freddy Krueger to weep like a baby, and Michael Myers to pee himself hiding under his bed. It is the gate kicked open on the Pit of Hell, the black hole that swallows the universe, the Cubs winning the Series. OK, maybe not the “black hole” thing.