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Re: Just a single Question for the Candidates

On Wed, Mar 10, 2004 at 07:10:54AM +0100, Matthias Urlichs wrote:
> Hi, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> >> I can demonstrate evidence that I'm not a gerbil quite handily.
> > 
> > No you can't, because you're a gerbil and gerbils can't form rational
> > arguments. It is logically impossible for you to disprove this,
> > because your burden-of-proof notion is backwards (in formal logic,
> > you've allowed a falsehood to be introduced, so it is impossible to
> > draw any conclusions within the current situation).
> Say, Andrew, are you playing Devil's Advocate here, or are you just plain
> wrong?
> Being a gerbil _is_, if not the falsehood, then the hypothesis to be
> proven/disproven. Introducing that falsehood into the argument as an
> axiom is not the fault of the non-Gerbil person, but the mistake
> (deliberate or otherwise) of the perope accusing him to be one.

It's called "reductio ad absurdum". Demonstrating that a given
statement allows you to introduce an absurdity (any falsehood will do,
but it's best to pick something that's obviously wrong) into an
unbounded system proves the statement to be false; it's a classic and
fairly graphic proof method.

And yes, allowing this statement to be introduced as an axiom is
broken, and that was the whole point. The proposed rule allows it to
be introduced.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
 `. `'                          |
   `-             -><-          |

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