A Logical Argument

by CT on June 7, 2014

In the Monadologie (1714), G. W. Leibniz writes: “And there must be simple substances, since there are compounds; for a compound is nothing but a collection or aggregatum of simple things.” –  tr. Robert Latta.  (“Einfache Substanzen muß es geben, weil es zusammengesetzte gibt; denn das Zusammengesetzte ist nichts, als eine Anhäufung oder ein aggregatum von Einfachem.” – tr.Robert Zimmermann)

On this same pattern, a logical argument can be sustained asserting that there must be absolute being for there are relative beings. Now here we are fully within the constraints of the human mind, for which it is not possible to conceive anything (much less to name it) without its correlative concepts.

It is not possible, for example, to speak of the “left” direction without implicit or explicit reference to the “right.” We equally cannot either represent or hold in mind the idea of fullness, without the idea of emptiness.

In general, there is no idea pure enough not to bring its shadow and its correlates with itself. It does not do this “sequentially” as a moment or phase of its development, but immediately as part of a larger Gestalt, a structure enveloping it on all sides. This structure may be devoid of “colour” (some parts may be de-emphasised in the mind’s attention) but it is nevertheless present.

The correlates of an idea or representation are always prefigured as its conditions, and only the linearity of human interaction and the sequential structure of language obscure this reality. In fact, the unfolding Gestalt of an idea is fully articulated around it, the most elementary form being the so-called Square of Oppositions.

The key is that logic opposition is automatic and dynamic. It is a natural phenomenon; a function of human understanding and reason. This is also the root of the tragedy of the human mind. Opposition, subdivision and contradiction are natural forms of conceptual eclosion, as well as “causes” of conflict from the individual level to all forms of organisation and sociality.

In this process of correlation and contraposition of representations we can find symmetries (for example “left” and “right”, “up” and “down”) precisely because we produce them organically during our exploration of the environment and our interactions with it. Among these structures, for example, we can find conceptual, ideological triads or trichotomies (see the works of C.S Peirce), which are ego-centred and primarily synthetic; and also tetradic structures (quaternities) which are of an analytical and systemic kind (for example in the works of I. Kant and C. Jung).

Considering this, it is therefore important to understand that fragmentation of opinion, divergence of reasoning and conflict are not simple “facts” of any particular situation, but part of the natural and inevitable dynamics of cognition and sociality, revealing the forms that the human being can and will take in the course of interaction.

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