Beyond the Presumption of Universal Applicability

Instead of letting it reside only in my head and occasionally slipping into casual conversations with others, I have concluded that I should put forth a written description of my logic system. Though it has some similarities with other logic systems, it still varies significantly from any I have been able to find out about, and addresses some pitfalls that I believe have been overlooked by other logicians.

Now, obviously, there is too much to my system of logic to possibly do justice to it in one blog post, so I will instead do it as a series of blog posts that will go on and on for as long as I have more material to add. Today I merely present my first installment in this series.

Though there are other pitfalls in pre-existing logic systems, the one I find most troublesome is what I call the Presumption of Universal Applicability. This is the insistance that, in a truth table, every statement must have an applicable truth-value, no matter what that applicable truth-value is.

In crisp logic, this assumption means that every statement must be either true or false. Even logicians such as Kleene, who acknowledge that we don’t always know if something is true or false don’t really dispute the ultimate notion of everything has to be true or false, even if beyond our scope of in formation. Granted, Kleene claimed to use “unknown” as a third truth-value — but really, if you dissect and analyze it, “unknown” really means nothing more than “This statement is either true or false – but I don’t know which one it is”. (Either that, or he’d have no way, without cheating, to prove that “A ∨ (!A)” is true when “A” is “unknown”.)

Granted, the concept of “unknown” is very important in applying logic to real-live situations – least one succumb to a fallacy that I call “Imposition of the Default”. However, it is not a truth-value in it’s own right. It is not it’s own spot on the truth-table, but merely an acknowledgement that we are not sure where on the truth-table the case-in-point resides.

In fuzzy logic, the Presumption of Universal Applicability means that every statement’s truth-value has only one dimension – it’s degree of truth (or membership) – denying the need of a second dimension to measure the significance, or it’s degree of applicability. Of course, for the duration of this post, I won’t go into how to get past the Presumption of Universal Applicability for fuzzy logic – beyond saying that it needs at some point to be done (which I just have finished doing). Instead, this post will focus on how to move past that notion in the area of crisp logic.

In crisp logic, the way to get past the Presumption of Universal Applicability is to realize that “true” and “false” are not the only possible values for a statement. Rather, one must realize that there is a third possible value, “nonapplicable”. If a statement is “nonapplicable” that doesn’t mean that we just don’t know if it’s true or false. It means that neither “true” nor “false” accurately describes the statement.

I strongly suspect that the reason why previous logicians have overlooked “nonapplicable” as a third possible truth-value, in favor of “unknown” (which as I have already described, isn’t really a truth-value at all, but merely an uncertainty state) may have been that though they were determined to expand the truth-table beyond the scope covered in Aristotelian logic, they were unwilling in any way to alter the portion of the truth-table that Aristotelian logic does cover.

A logic system that contains “nonapplicable” as the third possible truth value will not alter the portion of the truth-table where “and” and “or” statements are concerned. It will do this, however, where “if” statements are concerned.

Take, for example, the following table …

F ? ?

In the row where the premise variable of this “if” statement is true, I have reaffirmed Aristotle’s assertion that the whole statement should have the same value as the assertion variable. However, in the lower row, where the premise variable is “falls”, I have filled the spaces with question-marks to indicate that this is an area of dispute between myself and Aristotle. Aristotle says that when the value of the premise variable is “false”, the value of the whole statement is always “true”. I disagree four a number of reasons. For one thing, this would refuse the usefulness of “a → b” to nothing more than a shorthand for “(!a) ∨ b”. But furthermore, common sense would dictate that the word “if” means that a statement is only concerned with cases where the premise is true. Therefore, if the premise statement is “false”, then that doesn’t make this a case where the whole statement is “true”. Rather, it means that this case is not one of the cases which the statement as a whole is concerned with. Hence, the correct truth-value would be “nonapplicable”.

So here, I present my trinary truth-table for “if then” statements:


I could go on and expand the “and” and “or” tables, as well as discuss another operation needed in this form of logic that I call an “applicability test” – but those are for a future post.


Instant-Runoff Voting Verifiability Challenge

Some time, not too long ago, I was to a social function with a few other families who are friends of my family. At that event, when I was talking with one person I have known for years, the subject of politics came up. As he praised the system they have in many European countries where many elections are followed by runoff elections, I suggested to him that Instant Runoff voting (IRV) may be a better solution to the problems he wanted to solve. However, as much as I like the idea of Instant Runoff Voting, he gave a very strong reason for seeing it as unacceptable – that being that it would be impossible to have both that and another reform that we both agreed was more important – that being vote verification.

Vote verification simply means that the citizenry has a way to be assured that every vote was counted as the one who cast it intended, and that the legitimately-cast votes are the only ones counted. In short, it means that the citizenry doesn’t have to the authority’s word that the election wasn’t rigged – but has a means of verifying this.

As much as I am very much in favor of the advantages that could be gained by IRV, I had to agree that the point he brought up was indeed a valid point – and that if it can not be resolved, is a deal-breaker for IRV. It is folly to push for IRV to be adopted until this issue is resolved. It is very simple why. In traditional voting, vote verification can be implemented as follows: The votes would be tallied and entered under multi-partisan supervision into a computer system at each local precinct. Then, the results from all the local precincts would be combined to form a general tally based on which the results of the election would be declared. If anyone suspects there was any funny business, they could call for a re-count under even greater supervision. It would be simple to do this as long as each ballot contained a reference to one and only one candidate per election.

However, what if each ballot contains not only the voter’s primary pick for the election – but also an alternate in case the primary pick is eliminated, maybe another alternate in case both of those are eliminated, and so-forth? A system of vote verification could get really messy when there is this much data to keep track of. So assuring vote verifiability can be much more difficult when IRV is involved.

But am I about to take it lying down that this dillema is inevitable? Not a chance! I agree that vote verifiability is more important, but I strongly feel that IRV is also very important if freedom is to survive and progress, rather than regress. Hence I lay down the gauntlet of the Instant-Runoff Voting Verifiability Challenge. If you have any suggestions on how to make it logistically feasible to have both vote verification and IRV, please respond with a comment to this blog post explaining how you plan to solve the logistical difficulties.

I pose this this challenge to anyone following this blog – but not just to you. I will extend this challenge to anyone I can inform of the challenge – and anyone whom any of you are willing to inform of the challenge. Even if this challenge solves the problem of the logistics, there will still be the even greater challeneg ahead of pushing the solution past the Powers that Be who’s interest IRV doesn’t necessarily serve — but at least then we will have a sound solution to try to push past them.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out your thinking caps, and try to find a solution to this logistical dillema. 🙂

Dating Equality — a Social Justice Issue

The transgender symbol on a broken heartI support equality for same-sex marriage. I support it in that, given the opportunity, I will vote for it — I will sign online petitions for it (and have done so in numerous occasions) — and in-general, I believe that two people who have a life-long partnership relationship should have the same right to enshrine their relationship in the same legally-binding form (and in turn to receive all associated perks of having done so) regardless of whether those two people are of the same sex or of opposite sexes.

That said – am I about to get out of my armchair and go to a raleigh supporting it? No. Am I willing to go door-to-door supporting it? No. If I had more spare money to donate to whatever political cause would it go there? No, it would go to some other cause. So, why, if I am so convinced that people of the same sex should have just as much right to legally-wed as people of opposite sexes – am I not willing to do anything that would require me to get up out of my armchair to do it?

The reason is simple — as much as Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual people are lacking a fundamental right that they aught to have and which should be given them — many people, such as myself, in the Transgender umbrella, are denied a right that is even more basic than this — a right without which any talk of Marriage Equality is, for us, a mere hypothetical question. This right is Dating Equality — and it’s high time that people start approaching it as the social justice issue that it is.

Many times, when I tried talking to non-Transgender people about dating equality (or even sympathetic non-LGBT people) the issue is brushed off with reasons that clearly reflect that they (however well-intentioned) just don’t get the issue. One person said quite frankly: “People like what they like”. I agree – people like what they like, and you can’t fault them for that. So, isn’t that fact that people like what they like the essence of this whole Dating Inequality that I am complaining about? And therefore, in my demand for Dating Equality, am I not, in essence, demanding that people change this very inevitable fact of life? The answer to these questions is “no” and “no”. People will always like what they like — and it is inevitable that some people will always consider a woman being transsexual to be an undesirable trait. But Dating Equality does not mean changing that. I will here explain the difference.

Let’s say I meet a guy, he asks me out, we go on a few dates. Let’s say he doesn’t know off-hand that I am transsexual – and that I reveal it toward the end of the third or fourth date. That inevitable “people like what they like” effect just means that there’s a chance (a good chance I’d even add) that he will find my being transsexual to be an undesirable trait. But if Dating Equality existed, that would be all. He would then weigh the undesirable trait of me being transsexual against the balance of everything else he learned about me up to that point. It may turn out that the balance of all those other things just isn’t enough to outweigh my being transsexual — for whatever reason. But it may turn out that they are strong enough and that he will still be interested in me.

However, as much as transsexuality is immutably a trait in me – it is not one of the primary defining traits of who I am — and Dating Equality would mean that I wouldn’t be expected to treat it as such. That means, there would be no expectation of me being required to disclose before a first date, or upon first meeting, that I am transsexual. Therefore, when he finds out at the third or fourth date that I’m transsexual, the undesirability of me being transsexual wouldn’t be further bolstered by a judgement that I am somehow “dishonest” for not having mentioned it earlier. Furthermore, he wouldn’t doubt that everything else he learned about me is real just because he didn’t know that I’m transsexual. The only negative things weighing against me other than me being transsexual would be whatever negative things were weighing against me moments before I revealed this about myself. If me being transsexual is so extreme that he can’t handle it — or if it’s just barely enough to tip an already close-to-the-mark scale against me, than that’s just “how it goes” and I accept it.

But currently, it’s not like that. Currently, the environment is such that if I don’t disclose up-front that I’m transsexual, the risk of anti-transgender violence that I face goes way up. Then, even if that doesn’t happen, the revelation that I am transsexual would be compounded by the fact that I’d also face the judgement that I was “dishonest” for not having revealed it further (due to the social expectation that I should have revealed something like this up-front). Furthermore, since he now perceives me as “dishonest”, any positive trait I had previously revealed about myself will come into question — possibly even positive traits that he himself witnessed incidences of.

Oh — and did I meet this guy through a dating web-site (which for many singles these days is the only option)? If so, this guy can report me to the site’s administrators — and if they side with him in his assessment that this something one owes a disclosure for up-front (and therefore take action against my account because of this) the way that terms-of-service agreements are generally written (one-sidedly by the web-site) I will have little or no recourse against this. As a matter of fact, as obvious as the reason for the sanctions against my account may be, I doubt I’d even be able to get formal proof of the reason for their actions.

The impact from the lack of cooperation from dating web-sites is made worse by the fact that, for transsexual women, they are more likely to be the only avenue available, because other avenues are less likely to be available. For example, one way that many couples meet is for a mutual friend to make the introduction. But if the woman being set up is transsexual, this mutual friend may not feel comfortable making the introduction, out of concern that her male friend may be resentful toward her for having set him up with a “tranny” – unless that guy is what we call a “tranny chaser”, someone who wants us precisely because of the one trait that has been nothing but a source of dissonance for us, and which we would like more than anything to just have the chance to live-down. How can a relationship with someone who wants us precisely because of that possibly be a healthy relationship?

So why not avoid this by just stating up-front that I’m transsexual? For one thing, if I reveal this upfront, it’s unlikely that any guy will stick around to learn anything more about me — unless that guy is, once again, a “tranny chaser”. Then there’s the issue that my self-actualisation needs require me to be able to get on my life and be able to move past being transsexual. No arguing that being transsexual is always going to be part of who I am — but I need to be allowed to treat it as the minor thing that it is. Having to state up-front that I am transsexual makes me forever stamped with that as though it were a primary part of my identity — which it is not.

Not to mention that on some dating web-sites, this could even result in my profile being flagged as “offensive” and therefore removed.

Anyways, Marriage Equality is a moot point for me without Dating Equality – because there’s no way I can marry anybody before I find that someone to get married to. Yes — same-sex couples should be allowed to legally-wed as much as opposite-sex couples – but with all the talk there’s been for the last decade the more advanced right of Marriage Equality, it’s about time that people start taking the far more basic issue of Dating Equality seriously.

New, Expanded Purpose of the Blog

I started this blog nearly ten months ago because someone suggested I publish my poems in a blog. Content, however, has been sporadic – partly because my poetic muse comes and goes – partly because I’m just not convinced that a WordPress blog should be my primary way of releasing poems to the world.

So am I going to close the blog? Or abandon the blog? No. Instead, I’m going to revitalize this blog by expanding it’s scope.

If I have a poem or short-story that I wish to release via a WordPress blog, it will still go here. But if I have something to say on the matter of news, politics, social concerns, or anything else — why should I create a new blog for that when I already have this blog?

Creating a separate blog for everything I am inclined to blog about will result in me having several blogs – none of which are regularly updated. Instead of spreading myself thin like this, I will just expand the scope of this blog from being a strictly literary-artistic blog to a general-purpose blog.

Wanna read just my poems without being bothered by my prose-style social commentaries? Well – fortunately, WordPress has the feature of allowing me to tag my posts by category – so I can accommodate this. (WARNING: This will only protect you from having to read prose-form non-fiction social commentaries. Poetically-structured commentaries will still go into the “My Poems” section and fictional ones will still go in the “My Fiction” section.)

As for the name of the blog – that I’m not changing. True, the name was initially picked when I thought the only thing I’d be posting here would be poems and short-stories — but after thinking, I decided the name is just as suitable for a general purpose blog.

Anyway – until next time —


Why Can’t Cats Leave Roses

Why can’t cats leave roses to show hat they care?
‘Twould be better than dead birds a rotting out there.
Instead of dead rodents where I have to walk,
Why can’t kitties just gift-wrap a gold plated clock?
Why can’t cats leave roses to show that they care?
Their choices in present’s a mystery in there.

– – Sophia Elizabeth Shapira
– – 2012-07-12

I Can’t Be Concerned ‘Bout your Bone

(Poem by Sophia Shapira)

Melinda came to the meeting,
Stood up in front of the crowd,
Admitted she needed help more than anything,
Baring her weakness out loud.

She relaxed when she saw the plaque showing the words
“Live and Let Live” on the wall,
Till the day that she learned that where she was concerned
That didn’t apply at all.

And they picked apart her identity
Insisting that she would chose
To be the one they’d judge all kinds of ways
Without walking a foot in her shoes.

‘Till one day they gave her a big bowl of nasty
‘Bout answering nature’s call.
This fin’ly caused her to lose it at once
And in a fit she told them all

  Just like you, I came here to recover.
  I’ve got enough junk of my own.
  I can’t take on yours – my hands are all full
  So why don’t you leave me alone?
  I can’t be concerned ’bout your bone.

She then spent a hole in her pocket
Driving to another town
Two or three times a week for a meeting
‘Cos the neighborhood folk shut her down.

She couldn’t arrange no carpool
‘Coz her friends had scattered like mice.
Someone else had a problem with her
And for that she was paying the price.

So while other folks said as much as they had to
‘Bout what made them want to get drunk
She had to keep it as vague as can be
About what had her stuck in this funk.

Some folks would tell her she needed more meetings
And that’s how she’d get down her stuff.
And one day she told one of them straight to her face
Ain’t I commuting enough?

  Just like you, I came here to recover.
  I’ve got enough junk of my own.
  I can’t take on yours – my hands are all full
  So why don’t you leave me alone?
  I can’t be concerned ’bout your bone.

    Give me a break – I just want to recover
    So put down your stick and your stone.
    I’ll hear out your struggles, but can’t take your brunt –
    You’ll have to face that on your own.
    If you can’t, then leave me alone.

  Just like you, I came here to recover.
  I’ve got enough junk of my own.
  I can’t take on yours – my hands are all full
  So why don’t you leave me alone?
  I can’t be concerned ’bout your bone.

– – Sophia Elizabeth Shapira
– – 2012-05-31

The Comfort of Another’s Tender Eyes

(Poem by Sophia Shapira)

The comfort of another’s tender eyes –
A shoulder there to cry on when I’m sad –
Or celebrate when walking on the skies –
To share the good times and to share the bad.

To feel my heart pound like a mighty drum
And find myself go weak all in the knees,
As butterflies just flutter in my tum,
Such sweeping, lovely feelings such as these.

To have my heart just flutter at his touch
And feel a love as boundless as the sea –
To have that joy – oh it would mean so much –
But sadly, I do doubt it’s meant to be.

My fate, it seems, is that I walk alone,
My heart thus left as cold as any stone.

– – Sophia Elizabeth Shapira
– – 2012-05-23