Everything is Grounded in Logic

To become a philosopher, you only need to ask one question: “Why?”

When you receive an answer, ask the question again; you’ll quickly get into some deep, abstract ideas.  And you’ll quickly annoy whomever you’re talking with.

Most people don’t think about the reasons for their beliefs. They don’t understand that our conclusions about the world are periphery; they are at the very end of our thought-processes. If a worldview were like a tree, our conclusions would be the leaves. A tree’s leaves don’t grow in thin air – they are attached to branches. The same is true of our ideas; conclusions aren’t derived from nothing. They are stuck to a deeper set of beliefs.

But the branches of a tree do not float by themselves, either. They are attached to a trunk, which is attached to its roots. Without the roots, there’s no trunk, and certainly no leaves. Our ideas work the same way. Every conclusion is tied to a long chain of deeper premises.

Asking “Why?” takes you from the leaves to the branches, then to the trunk, then to the roots. This is the practice of philosophy.

Most people are only focused on their leaves, but today, I am going to the roots – not just of my own worldview, but of everybody’s. Contrary to what you might think, a long string of “Why?” questions can have a final answer. We can arrive at a foundational conclusion – a bedrock for our worldview.

Necessary Roots

The foundation is logic. The reason: inescapable necessity. All propositions, regardless of their content, presuppose logical constraints, and these constraints are not optional. They aren’t hypothetical; they are necessary.

Let me give you an example. Take the sentence “There is no married bachelor.” This proposition isn’t just true – it’s necessarily true. In no circumstance, in no possible universe, could there ever be a married bachelor. The concepts of “being married” and “being a bachelor” (i.e. not-married) are mutually exclusive. This is not a hypothetical statement; we don’t need to go out and “test” whether or not there’s a married bachelor somewhere. We can know simply by understanding the meaning of our concepts that there cannot be married bachelors.

Here’s another example: there is no object which has only six sides and only seven sides at the same time. Again, this is not a hypothesis. You can know it’s true with certainty. We don’t need to think, “Well, perhaps if I searched underwater or in another galaxy…” – you will never find such an object, because you cannot. By definition, it’s impossible for anything to possess mutually exclusive properties (otherwise, those properties wouldn’t be “mutually exclusive”).

This is the nature of logical necessity, and there are countless other examples.

Logic is the secret to all critical thinking. It’s the root of every philosophical tree. It’s presupposed by every sentence and every thought. Even by doubting the laws of logic, you’ve affirmed them, as thinking that something “might be false” presupposes that there’s such a thing as “true” and “false” in the first place.

Not even radical skepticism can defeat an idea it presupposes.

This brings up the ultimate question: why is logic necessary? The answer represents the bottom of my worldview. For better or worse, my mind cannot go any deeper. I know no more fundamental truth:

Logic and existence are inseparable.

I will illustrate and rephrase this several ways. The idea is important enough to risk being repetitive. Here’s what I mean: in all instances of existence, you find existence. And to the extent that something exists, it is necessarily false to claim that it does not.

There is no case of existence which is non-existence; nothing exists which does not exist.

This applies to everything which is and everything which could be.

Something cannot not-be the way that it is. If it weren’t that way, it wouldn’t be that way.

If something is – regardless of what it is – then it is, and it would be false to claim that it is not. Therefore, truth and falsehood are inescapable categories for all existence.

For the philosophers reading this, I am claiming that – at the very bottom of everything – epistemology and metaphysics blend together. We know knowledge because existence exists. All knowledge presupposes logical rules, and those rules are objectively inescapable because of the nature of reality – i.e. that it is.

Bedrock, as far as I can tell. There’s no running from it. There’s no “transcending” it. There is – quite literally – no possible escape from logic. You can verbally deny it, but only if you want to reveal your own foolishness, like a man insisting “It is impossible to attempt communication!”

The only thing to which logic does not apply is nothing (because it isn’t anything).

Big Implications

If you understand this, you’ll understand why I’ll never be convinced otherwise. It’s not pig-headedness. It’s because in order for these beliefs to be wrong, it requires them to be wrong – which would imply “wrong” and “not-wrong” are meaningful categories.

You can know, with certainty, that you’ll never hear a sound argument against logic for the same reason you’ll never hear a silent sound – it’s necessity.

The implications of logical necessity do not end with vague propositions like “a thing is a thing.” Instead, logic applies to every sentence in every area of study, regardless of how abstract or concrete. This allows the philosopher to state, with utter certainty: in any field of thought, propositions which entail logical contradictions are false. This is equally true from economics to gender studies to quantum physics.

It also allows us to develop a method for thinking. Propositions do not exist in vacuums – each one has presuppositions and implications. Everything which logically follows from true premises is also true, and any idea which presupposes or implies a logical error must be false. Thus, it should be no surprise that paradoxes don’t exist. Navigating through the world of ideas is like navigating through a dense jungle. And logic is your perfectly sharp machete.

So, at the very bottom of everything, there is an immovable foundation. No deeper truth exists, and methodologically speaking, no truth is more important. It is the essential to my worldview and yours, regardless of whether it’s acknowledged or understood. To grasp the inescapability of logic – and the reason for it – is to grasp the most fundamental truth of the universe.