Some False Laws of Logic


  • Valerie Plumwood



This paper argues that some widely used laws of implication are false, and arguments based upon them invalid. These laws are Exportation, Commutation, (as well as various restricted forms of these), Exported Syllogism and Disjunctive Syllogism. All these laws are false for the same reason – that they license the suppression or replacement in some position of some class of propositions which cannot legitimately be suppressed or replaced. These laws fail to preserve the property of sufficiency of premiss set for conclusion. They are false, and can be seen to be false, independently of their respon- sibility for the paradoxes. Hence the main ‘independent’ argument for the paradoxes – that they follow from an allegedly immaculate set of laws – is undermined. Counterexamples to all these laws are produced.


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