The Law of Non-Contradiction as a Metaphysical Principle

Tuomas E. Tahko

Abstract


The goals of this paper are two-fold: I wish to clarify the Aristotelian conception of the law of non-contradiction as a metaphysical rather than a semantic or logical principle, and to defend the truth of the principle in this sense. First I will explain what it in fact means that the law of non-contradiction is a metaphysical principle. The core idea is that the law of non-contradiction is a general principle derived from how things are in the world. For example, there are certain constraints as to what kind of properties an object can have, and especially: some of these properties are mutually exclusive. Given this characterisation, I will advance to examine what kind of challenges the law of non-contradiction faces—the main opponent here is Graham Priest. I will consider these challenges and conclude that they do not threaten the truth of the law of non-contradiction understood as a metaphysical principle.

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