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Does Objectivism have the concept of a tautology?

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Here is the first paragraph of The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy entry on tautologies:

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tautology, a proposition whose negation is inconsistent, or (self-) contradictory, e.g. "Socrates is Socrates", "Every human is either male or non-male", "No human is both male and non-male", "Every human is identical to itself", "If Socrates is human then Socrates is human". A proposition that is (or is logically equivalent to) the negation of tautology is called a (self-) contradiction. According to classical logic, the property of being implied by its own negation is a necessary and sufficient condition for being a tautology and the property of implying its own negation is a necessary and sufficient condition for being a contradiction. Tautologies are logically necessary and contradictions are logically impossible.

Does Objectivism accept the concept of a tautology (that is, consider tautologies an objectively distinct category of proposition)? If so, what is the difference between the concept of a tautology and the concept of an analytic proposition?

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A similar question came up during a Q&A session of the 1976 Objectivism course. I am quoting the exerpt bellow:

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Q. I once took a philosophy course in which the professor said that the Law of Identity is tautological. It doesn't reveal any information about reality. What is meant by this?

A. A tautology is a statement which says the same thing. It's predicate is the same as the subject. A brother is a male. A male sibling is male, would be a tautology. A is A is a tautology. It is part of the post Kantian mystic in philosophy that tautology says nothing about reality. There is no base for that view whatever. I cover it in The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy in that article. It's a form of that error, which I alluded to briefly in the lectures. I will not repeat it here in the answer, except simply to say that according to Objectivism all knowledge is ultimately tautological, because a concept stands for and includes every fact about its reference. So, whenever you say, a man has two legs, man includes everything that is true of him, including that he has two legs. This I elaborate in my article on The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy. This is particularly a Kantian method of attacking logic.

 

 

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The topic is treated in Peikoff’s “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy”, published in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. The man point is that Objectivism rejects the analytic-synthetic dichotomy. This extract well summarizes the point:

Whether one states that "A man is a rational animal," or that "A man has only two eyes"—in both cases, the predicated characteristics are true of man and are, therefore, included in the concept "man." The meaning of the first statement is: "A certain type of entity, including all its characteristics (among which are rationality and animality) is: a rational animal." The meaning of the second is: "A certain type of entity, including all its characteristics (among which is the possession of only two eyes) has: only two eyes." Each of these statements is an instance of the Law of Identity; each is a "tautology"; to deny either is to contradict the meaning of the concept "man," and thus to endorse a self-contradiction.

Along similar lines, “If one wishes to use the term "tautology" in this context, then all truths are "tautological." (And, by the same reasoning, all falsehoods are self-contradictions.)”

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I appreciate both of your responses.

It sounds like Peikoff would probably say that "tautology" is a valid category, but that it's a somewhat subjective distinction because ultimately all knowledge is tautological. He would also insist that tautologies say something substantial about reality. The latter is what distinguishes them from so called "analytic" propositions, which Kantians describe as empty. Objectivism would say that no true proposition is analytic in this sense, although every true proposition is ultimately tautological.

I think I am reading a bit into Peikoff here, since he doesn't explicitly call the distinction subjective or distinguish them from analytic propositions in this way. I don't think Peikoff ever commented on this issue in his article on the analytic-synthetic dichotomy.

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Whether one states that "A man is a rational animal," or that "A man has only two eyes"—in both cases, the predicated characteristics are true of man and are, therefore, included in the concept "man." The meaning of the first statement is: "A certain type of entity, including all its characteristics (among which are rationality and animality) is: a rational animal." The meaning of the second is: "A certain type of entity, including all its characteristics (among which is the possession of only two eyes) has: only two eyes." Each of these statements is an instance of the Law of Identity; each is a "tautology"; to deny either is to contradict the meaning of the concept "man," and thus to endorse a self-contradiction.

 

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A tautology is a statement which says the same thing. It's predicate is the same as the subject. A brother is a male. A male sibling is male, would be a tautology. A is A is a tautology. It is part of the post Kantian mystic in philosophy that tautology says nothing about reality. There is no base for that view whatever. I cover it in The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy in that article. It's a form of that error, which I alluded to briefly in the lectures. I will not repeat it here in the answer, except simply to say that according to Objectivism all knowledge is ultimately tautological, because a concept stands for and includes every fact about its reference. So, whenever you say, a man has two legs, man includes everything that is true of him, including that he has two legs. This I elaborate in my article on The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy. This is particularly a Kantian method of attacking logic.

 

Peikoff is hopelessly confused.

A tautology is a statement that is true by virtue of its form alone. For example, "The moon is made of cheese or it is not made of cheese" is a tautology. You don't have to know ANYTHING about the moon, cheese, or any part of reality to know that it is true.

An analytic statement is one that, once you replace its subject by its definition, the result is a tautology.

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according to Objectivism all knowledge is ultimately tautological,

He doesn't even realize that this is 100% unadulterated Leibnizian rationalism.

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On 10/29/2017 at 2:58 PM, KyaryPamyu said:

A. A tautology is a statement which says the same thing. It's predicate is the same as the subject. A brother is a male. A male sibling is male, would be a tautology. A is A is a tautology. It is part of the post Kantian mystic in philosophy that tautology says nothing about reality. There is no base for that view whatever. I cover it in The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy in that article. It's a form of that error, which I alluded to briefly in the lectures. I will not repeat it here in the answer, except simply to say that according to Objectivism all knowledge is ultimately tautological, because a concept stands for and includes every fact about its referents. So, whenever you say, a man has two legs, man includes everything that is true of him, including that he has two legs. This I elaborate in my article on The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy. This is particularly a Kantian method of attacking logic.

This has to be a transcription error.

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