COSMIC JUSTICE HYPOTHESES

Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 20 (2):247-248 (2014)
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Abstract
Cosmic Justice Hypotheses. This applied-logic lecture builds on [1] arguing that character traits fostered by logic serve clarity and understanding in ethics, confirming hopeful views of Alfred Tarski [2, Preface, and personal communication]. Hypotheses in one strict usage are propositions not known to be true and not known to be false or—more loosely—propositions so considered for discussion purposes [1, p. 38]. Logic studies hypotheses by determining their implications (propositions they imply) and their implicants (propositions that imply them). Logic also studies hypotheses by seeing how variations affect implications and implicants. People versed in logical methods are more inclined to enjoy working with hypotheses and less inclined to dismiss them or to accept them without sufficient evidence. Cosmic Justice Hypotheses (CJHs), such as “in the fullness of time every act will be rewarded or punished in exact proportion to its goodness or badness”, have been entertained by intelligent thinkers. Absolute CJHs, ACHJs, imply that it is pointless to make sacrifices, make pilgrimages, or ask divine forgiveness: once acts are done, doers must ready themselves for the inevitable payback, since the cosmos works inexorably toward justice. Ceteris Paribus CJHs, CPCJHs, on the other hand, such as “in the fullness of time every act will be rewarded or punished in exact proportion to its goodness or badness—other things being equal”, leave room for exceptions. For example, some people subscribing to Ceteris Paribus CJHs think that certain bad acts can be performed with impunity as long as certain procedures are carried out previous to, or simultaneous with, or even after the acts. Belief Ceteris Paribus CJHs has been exploited by unscrupulous “spiritual leaders” who claim to have power to grant exceptions. In opposition to belief in CPCJHs are CJHs that hold belief in CPCJHs to be inherently wrong and subject to punishment. Other variants of CJHs are Cumulative Cosmic Justice Hypotheses, such as “in the fullness of time every person will be rewarded or punished in exact proportion to the net goodness or badness of their acts”. Still other variants include the Hereditary Cumulative Cosmic Justice Hypotheses, such as “in the fullness of time every person will be rewarded or punished in exact proportion to the net goodness or badness of their ancestors’ acts”. [1] JOHN CORCORAN, Inseparability of Logic and Ethics, Free Inquiry, S. 1989, pp. 37–40. [2] ALFRED TARSKI, Introduction to Logic, Dover, 1995.
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