Do you still beat your wife?

I am stealing this discussion from AC Grayling, renowned modern philosopher to make my point.

Science demands that every statement must be TRUE or FALSE. (E.g. that is how a computer works, that is how philosophy works and that is how all research works – disproving the null hypothesis.

But if you make this statement when there is no king of France, will it be true or false?

The present king of France is bald

You cannot disprove that statement because it has not been reduced to its core underlying assertions. In this case it would be:

  • There is such a thing as the king of France
  • There is only one such thing
  • That thing is bald

This could be become a really long dissertation, but I shall assign that as homework to you J

The fun version of this is to get someone to answer this question?

Do you still beat up your wife?

To answer the question without implicating yourself as a current or former wife molester, you need to break that down to the underlying bare bones of logical assertions. So this is not an academic exercise – you may need it to save your reputation...

Have fun :)

Dennis Price

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NOTE: Grayling referred to Bertrand Russell's Theory of Descriptions to illustrate his original point.