Chapter 2: Introduction to Thomistic Philosophy
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8. The Principle of Non-Contradiction

Reading 2

Selection from Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. | God: His Existence and His Nature, vol. 1, (St. Louis: Herder, 1934), p. 168
Aristotle gives eight principal reasons for defending the necessity and real validity of the principle of non-contradiction. They are briefly:
1. To deny this necessity and this validity would be to deprive words of their fixed meaning and to render speech useless;
2. All idea of the reality of an essence, or thing or substance as such, would have to be abandoned; there would be only a becoming without anything which is on the way of becoming; it would be like saying that there can be a flux without a fluid, a flight without a bird, a dream without a dreamer;
3. There would no longer be any distinction between things, between a galley, a wall, and man;
4. It would mean the destruction of all truth, for truth follows being;
5. It would destroy all thought, even all opinion; for its very affirmation would be a negation.
6. It would mean the destruction of all desire and all hatred; there would be only absolute indifference, for there would be no distinction between good and evil; there would be no reason why we should act;
7. It would no longer be possible to distinguish degrees of error; everything would be equally false and true at the same time;
8. It would put an end to the very notion of becoming; between the beginning and the end of a movement; the first would already be the second, and any transition from one state to another would be impossible. Moreover, “becoming” could not be explained by any of the four causes. There would be no subject of becoming; the process would be without any efficient or final cause, and without specification, and it would be both attraction and repulsion, concretion as well as fusion.
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