Laws of Thought essay
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This essay investigates the literature on “Law of Thought”. It looks at various aspects of sentence structure that make them perfectly comprehensible. Among these are clarity, precision and accuracy of a sentence. According to the literature, a clear sentence is one that is both lucid in perception and free of ambiguity. In addition, a precise sentence has the element of exactness such that what is being referred to is neither too much nor too little. Further, the essay defines an accurate sentence as one that is free of any possible errors to the extent that it is perfectly in consistence with predetermined standards.
A clear sentence should be absolutely devoid of any ambiguity. As such, a sentence like “a bird ate my grains” does not qualify to be called a clear sentence. This is due to the fact that it seems to express a probable opinion rather than explicit truth. For instance, the grains could have been eaten when a bird went to the site where the grains were stored. Ideally, it is understandable that birds are not the only consumers of grains. This fact leaves the sentence to argument as it is not absolutely true that the grains were eaten by the bird and not any other animal. A sentence like “a bird built a nest” would be perfectly clear. This is because it leaves no ambiguity that would form basis for debate. For instance, it’s only birds that build nests and not any other animals. That typically makes of a clear sentence (Russell Bertrand 1912 pg 23).
A precise sentence must have an element of exactness. A sentence like “cigarette smoking causes numerous deaths annually” would therefore be regarded as being imprecise. This is because the exact number of people who die annually of cigarette smoking can never be known with absolute exactness. In fact, if any number were to be stated to this effect it would either be lower or higher than the exact number of deaths caused by cigarette smoking annually. However, making the sentence appear like “two people have died of swine flu since the outbreak two weeks ago” would bring some precision. This is because it is easier to determine the number of deaths caused by a disease that is under surveillance of doctors as compared to one that is impractical to monitor. As such, it is likely to be true that the deaths caused by swine flu so far were only two. However, this could be subject to minor errors. For instance, someone could be dying at the moment the sentence is being made (Russell Bertrand 1912 pg 24).
An exact sentence slightly passes the threshold of precision as it is not a subject to any errors. For instance, “President Obama is a Muslim” is not an exact sentence. This is in respect of the fact that the idea is debatable. For instance, President Obama has asserted several times that he is a dedicated Christian. Indeed, the idea of President Obama being a Muslim stems from his childhood in Indonesia where he purportedly attended Muslim classes. Although it may be true that he attended Muslim classes that alone would not make him a Muslim (Russell Bertrand 1912 pg 43).
Ambiguity means having more than a single interpretation within a sentence. In the sentence given, Dorothy Parker must have meant that the person was himself foolish to think he could not associate with fools. As such, it was clear that his mother had to bear with another fool in him for the biggest part of his life. As for a belief that does not make a sense, a sentence like “every man has a woman specifically created for him from his rib” would perfectly fit. This is due to the fact that there are certainly more women in the world than men raising the question as to whose ribs were they created from (Russell Bertrand 1912 pg 112).
Asking why fire is hot would violate the law of identity considering that fire is the source of heat and as such they are a common identity. Besides, an assertion that a blue color looks red would betray the law of noncontradiction. This is because blue itself is a color and as such cannot resemble another color. Further, it cannot be possible that having a father is similar to knowing one’s father. This is because one’s mother could be hiding the real identity of the father. However, having a father is a definite thing that cannot be doubted. This would violate the law of the excluded middle (Russell Bertrand 1912 pg 243).
In conclusion, a sentence can be described as either accurate or precise depending on the relative exactness it contains. Besides, a sentence is clear only if it cannot be confused to mean another thing altogether. These form the basis of the philosophical laws of thought.