1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Logic- the law of the land?

  1. Nov 20, 2004 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I can't find a satisfactory way of asking this, so just pretend you are the sole founder of a country and you need to establish the laws of the land. Having an appreciation for logic, you decide your system of laws must have a rigorous, logical foundation.

    What type/system of logic will you choose? i.e. propositional, predicate, fuzzy, mathematical, etc.

    How would your laws be stated and applied? ex.
    L: If you committed murder, then it was in self-defense.
    if L is true, you go free, if L is false, you go to prison.
    Well, that's a horrible example :yuck: but you get the idea hopefully.

    I'm not asking what specific laws you would create, but what rules you would establish for creating and applying laws, i.e., to determine if a proposed law is "valid", to ensure that the law is unambiguous & applied consistenly, etc.

    Sorry, that isn't very clear, but maybe someone understands what the &*%@ I'm trying to ask.
    Happy thoughts,
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2004 #2
    Back in high school, we learned a method of testing things. I'm pretty sure it has a formal name, but I dont remember it.
    Take the action done to each extreme:

    Ex. Someone kills an innocent person.
    Extreme 1 = Everyone kills an innocent person. The society could not surrvice there for it it bad.
    Extreme 2 = No one kills an innocent person. The society is not hurt, therefore it is good.
    Therefore: Killing an innocent person is bad

    Ex. Someone kills in self defence.
    Extreme 1 = Everyone kills in self defence. The offender dies, victum lives.
    Extreme 2 = No one kills in self defence. The victum dies, offender lives.
    Therefore: Innocent life out weighs the offenders life, therefore self defence is ok

    Ex. Somone Eats Rocky Road Ice cream.
    Extreme 1 = Everone eats Rocky Road Ice Cream. The socity is not effected.
    Extreme 2 = No One eats Rocky Road Ice Cream. The society is not effected.
    Therefore: It does not matter, no law is needed.

    It works great for basic fundamental ideals, but it gets very difficult and arguable when things get a lot more complicated.
  4. Nov 20, 2004 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    This is the idea behind Kant's Categorical Imperitive.
  5. Nov 20, 2004 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Yes, the method is called the categorical imperative, and it involves two tests: universalization and reversal. For any action you have the opportunity to take, consider first - what would be the consequence is everyone took the same action? And second - what would be the consequence if an action you take against another is taken against you?
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Logic- the law of the land?
  1. Landing on the moon (Replies: 22)

  2. Difficult landing (Replies: 34)

  3. Claiming land (Replies: 5)

  4. Emergency Landing (Replies: 24)

  5. The logic (Replies: 1)