The more rigorous a reasoning is, impeccable from the purely logical point of view, the more its conclusion is false if the basic judgement from which it starts—the one expressed by its major premise, in the case of a simple syllogism—is itself false. This is clear. If I declare that ‘All men are saints’ and then I notice that the Marquis de Sade and all known and unknown sexual perverts, and all animal or child torturers, were or are men, I am forced to conclude that all these people were or are saints: an assertion whose absurdity is obvious.
Perfect logic only leads to a true judgement if it is applied based on major premises that are themselves true. The adjectives by which we characterise such rigour in the sequence of judgements depend on one’s attitude towards the judgement from which it starts. If one accepts it, one speaks of an irreproachable or admirable logic. If one rejects it vehemently, as Mr Grassot rejected the basic propositions of Aryan racism, in other words Hitlerism, one will speak of ‘appalling logic’. This does not matter, since judgements remain true or false, regardless of the reception, always subjective, that is given to them.
Now, what is a true judgment?
Any judgement expresses a relationship between two states of fact, between two possibilities, or between a state of affairs (and all psychological states fall under this category) and a possibility. If I say, for example, ‘The weather is fine’, I am relating a whole set of sensations that I am currently experiencing to the presence of the sun in the visible sky. If I say: ‘The sum of angles of a triangle equals the straight angle’ I am stating that, if a polygon has the characteristics which, mathematically, define the triangle, the sum of its angles will be, and can only be, equal to the straight angle; that there is a necessary relationship between the very definition of ‘triangle’, and the property to which I have alluded. If I say: ‘It is better to lose your life than to fail in honour’, I make a connection—no less necessary in principle—between my psychology and a possible situation in which I would have to choose either to live dishonoured, or to die saving honour.
The judgement is true if the relationship it expresses exists; otherwise, it is false. This is clear in the case of judgements—called ‘categorical’—which posit a relationship between two facts. If I say in broad daylight that ‘it is dark’, it is quite certain that there is no longer any connection between what my senses experience and what I say; the judgment is therefore false. If I say: ‘The sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to five angles’ I am saying an absurdity, because the connection I’m making here between the definition of the triangle and a property I attribute to it does not exist; the assertion contradicts the judgement that defines the triangle. (Even in non-Euclidean space with positive curvature, where the sum of the angles of a triangle ‘exceeds’ two right angles, that sum does not reach ‘five angles’.)
In the case of categorical judgements, which express a relation between two facts, as in the case of those perfect hypothetical judgements which are the theorems of mathematics, the ‘truth’ or ‘falsity’ are evident. No one will certainly accept what I am saying if I declare in broad daylight that ‘it is night’ for every healthy eye sensitive to light. As for mathematical theorems, they can all be proved, provided that one accepts, in the case of geometrical theorems, the postulates that define the particular space they concern.
The only judgements people argue about, until they go to war because of them, are value judgements: those which presuppose, in whoever emits them, a hierarchy of preferences. It is, in fact, always in the name of such hierarchy that we grasp a relation between a fact (or a state of mind) and a ‘possibility’ (future, or else conceived retrospectively, as what might have been). Facts can give rise to heated discussions, no doubt, but devoid of passion, and especially hatred.
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Editor’s Note: No longer in our time! when elemental facts—like saying that boys are boys and girls are girls; or that there are no grandmasters in chess tournaments who are black—can lead to such hatred that we may lose our jobs. To call ‘a spade a spade’ is now considered racist.
Some bien pensant censors are even suggesting that the expression ‘To call a spade a spade’ should be retired from modern usage! A newspeaker said: ‘Rather than taking the chance of unintentionally offending someone or of being misunderstood, it is best to relinquish the old innocuous proverbial expression all together’ (see: here).
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One does not really quarrel with one’s adversaries and, if one has the power to do so, one only cracks down on them, unless one considers the ‘facts’, which are the subject of the discussion, to be directly or indirectly linked to values that we love.
The Church has been hostile to those who maintained that our Earth is round and that it is not the centre of the solar system, insofar as the belief in these facts—in case they were proven and therefore universally accepted—negate not only of the letter of the Scriptures but, above all, Christian anthropocentrism. The biological facts which form the basis of all intelligent racism are denied by organisations such as UNESCO, which pride themselves on ‘culture’. They do it only because these organisations see, in a widespread acceptance of this premise, the threat of a resurgence of Aryan racism, which they detest.