Re: Grice . . .)

From: John Baima (
Date: Mon Sep 21 1998 - 15:28:53 EDT

>I found your statement "assume the protasis false for the sake of
>somewhat confusing. Was this an actual quote, or did you really mean
>something like, "assume a false statement to be true for the sake of
>argument"? The latter is the normal pattern when the "proof by
>contradiction" approach is being used. The idea, of course, is to show
>the assumption leads to a contradiction of what one knows to be true.
>This, then, implies the assumption is false, and its contradiction (what
>one is
>trying to prove) is necessarily true, since A and not A cannot both be
>true (law of noncontradiction).

Yes, this is why I don't get into these things.

When you have what you describe as "proof by contradiction," the author
wants to prove the protasis false, not consider it false for the sake of
argument. That is, the false apodosis proves the protasis false. For example,

Joh 5:46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.

Here the point is not to assume the protasis false, but to prove it false.
I.e., The argument is that disbelief in Jesus imples a disbelief in Moses.
Using the transformation mentioned before, the sentence can become
something like, "If you do not believe me, then you do not truly believe
Moses because he wrote about me."

John Baima
Silver Mountain Software 1029 Tanglewood Dr, Cedar Hill TX 75104-3019
Fax 972 293-6641 Voice 972 293-2920

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