The power of defintion and logic

“You said the words, and they altered the universe.” – Dean Fogg.

I know Fogg is talking about Magic here, but his words fit with what I’m looking to talk about. Specifically, whether logic and sense are enough reason to believe something. If it fits, is that enough?

I promise this isn’t a religious debate, I’m not pushing an agenda, but the first example I want to use is that of St Anselm. Those of you familiar with various arguements for the existence of God might know of Anselm. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury, England, for a while. His arguement is as follows;

  • God is, by definition, that in which nothing greater can be conceived.
  • Something existing in both the mind and reality is better than something existing in just the mind.
  • Since nothing can be greater than God, he must exist as that would be the greater option.

Simply put, imagine I gave you two choices – I will give you £5 or $5, whatever currency you use, or I will tell you that I will give you £10/$10. Obviously the actually having the money is the better option. This means the actual existing is better. Apply this to God.

It’s an interesting take on an argument, full of holes (See Gaunilo’s Island for those interested) but that isn’t what I want to focus on. The arguement was widely accepted because it made sense. Logically, the conclusion can be reached from the first points given.

Is that enough to make something true? If something logically follows, does that make it true? What do you think about this? If thats the case than rather than trying to prove magic, we should be explaining it, with proof or not.

Fun fact for anyone who remembers one of the key names of the Brakebills books; a philosopher who would have argued against this, with a school of thought called Falsifcation, is Karl Popper!

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