# Can a thing be both true and false at the same time?

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• 10 Jul 2016, 05:31
B. de Corbin
Can a thing be both true and false at the same time?
In Western logic, a fundamental principle is that a thing can be either true or false, but not both.

Basic principles like: If A = B and B = C then A = C fall apart if this principle is false because then A could equal C, but also not equal C (If A = B and B = C then A may or may not = C).

In more concrete terms, If 6+4=10 and 15-5=10 then 6+4=15-5 becomes If 6+4=10 and 15-5=10 then 6+4 may or may not = 15-5.

Here's a video describing the problem:

http://youtu.be/-3-eGiSVCks

So - is it possible for a thing to be both true and false at the same time?

(I realize that this seems to be a highly abstract problem, but it has huge aplications in real-world thinking. Instead of being forced to say "yes" or "no" in responding to a simple question it becomes intellectually valid - i.e. Not a copout or mealy-mouthed - to say "yes and no.")
• 10 Jul 2016, 06:18
Re: Can a thing be both true and false at the same time?
Can you take the square root of a negative number?

That's the closest scenario I can think of atm where "yes and no" becomes valid.
• 10 Jul 2016, 06:25
B. de Corbin
Re: Can a thing be both true and false at the same time?
Quote:

Can you take the square root of a negative number?

That's the closest scenario I can think of atm where "yes and no" becomes valid.

Much simpler: This statement is false. Is the preceeding sentence true?

Also, if you want to find a plethora of examples, change abstractions into concretes...
• 10 Jul 2016, 06:31
anunitu
Re: Can a thing be both true and false at the same time?
The square root of -1 is defined as I(Imaginary number) I had to work with this while studying electronics. It is a bit hard to wrap your mind around it at first.

Imaginary Number.

also Boolean algebra...
• 10 Jul 2016, 08:37
DragonsFriend
Re: Can a thing be both true and false at the same time?
The sun is a good thing. The sun is a bad thing. Both statements are true but they are also contradictory. In reality the sun is. it exists as a system and not a single thing. (similar to the square root of a negative number) the square root of -4 is 2 and -2, a system and not an absolute.
When operating with absolute values they can be true or not but not both. There is only a single value. When operating with systems there can be properties that are true and false.

I like numbers, they have absolute values but can be used in systems that don't have absolute values. Zero has no value, yet you can multiply with it, add it and subtract it but you can't divide by it. Logically any number divided by itself is 1. If you could divide by zero the zero divided by zero would be 1. If you divide any number by zero you get infinity and why not multiplying any number by zero gives you zero. True or not many statement have degrees of each.
• 10 Jul 2016, 08:39
thalassa
Re: Can a thing be both true and false at the same time?
How are we defining "truth"?
• 10 Jul 2016, 08:45
B. de Corbin
Re: Can a thing be both true and false at the same time?
Quote:

How are we defining "truth"?

Matching reality :).

I.e.: a thing is true (in this context) if it can be demonstrated to accurately reflect reality.

"Truth" is the quality possessed by a true statement.
• 10 Jul 2016, 08:45
DragonsFriend
Re: Can a thing be both true and false at the same time?
It seemed from the first post that we were using true as an adjective while "TRUTH" infers a noun. The TRUE statement -> The TRUTH is.
I don't know how anyone else has defined it but it seemed to me the usage was self evident.
• 10 Jul 2016, 08:57
anunitu
Re: Can a thing be both true and false at the same time?
In reality there are also things that violate the "Laws" of physics The whole string theory idea,and the idea( I believe recorded) where the mere observation of something can change the outcome. The idea that a subatomic partial can exist in more than one place at the same time. The attempt to explain these things..oh and Schrödinger's cat(poor kitty does not know if it is coming or going).
And the question if true and false can describe the same object(Perhaps or perhaps not) or true and false. Welcome to the rabbit hole...
• 10 Jul 2016, 09:05
B. de Corbin
Re: Can a thing be both true and false at the same time?
Quote:

The sun is a good thing. The sun is a bad thing. Both statements are true but they are also contradictory. In reality the sun is. it exists as a system and not a single thing. (similar to the square root of a negative number) the square root of -4 is 2 and -2, a system and not an absolute.
When operating with absolute values they can be true or not but not both. There is only a single value. When operating with systems there can be properties that are true and false.

The value of Western bolar logic is that it forces "large grain" questions to be rephrased as "small grained" questions, increasing exactitude.

"Is the sun a good thing?" Is a large grained question because it is indefinite, leading to a "yes and no" response as the only possible response. Since binary logic can not accept "yes and no" as an answer, the question would be tossed back as malformed, and would have to be revised (made small grained) by including specific details of context (i.e: is the sun good for photosynthesis?").

With absolute values, I wonder if 10 always equals 10. This is where the question actually gets interesting...
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