Avicenna’s Axiom for Argument (and related topics)

-By Joseph Knowles

The law of non-contradiction is (at least I hope) self-explanatory. Claims that contradict one another cannot both be true at the same time in the same sense. This means that either theism or atheism is correct, but both cannot be true because they make contradictory claims about the existence of God.

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Providence, not Fate

Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned.

Avicenna, Persian polymath of the 10th-11th centuries

The law of non-contradiction is (at least I hope) self-explanatory. Claims that contradict one another cannot both be true at the same time in the same sense. This means that either theism or atheism is correct, but both cannot be true because they make contradictory claims about the existence of God. This law or principle is generally an easy one to accept, which is why Avicenna’s proposed reeducation regimen for those who deny the law of noncontradiction would rarely be put into use even if it were to be adopted.

A concept that is closely related to the law of…

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