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If a Good tree produces bad fruit, is it still Good?

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If a Good tree produces bad fruit, is it still Good?

Postby nuntius » Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:10 am

If a good tree produces bad fruit, then is that tree actually bad and not good, for a good tree would never produce bad fruit to begin with, and so, the tree itself is evil.

That is what my Latin/Philosohpy Instructor has agreed on; however, I proposed an inversion of this argument.

If a bad tree produces good fruit, does that not make the tree good. Because a bad tree would never produce good fruit, and therefore cannot be bad. However, the tree is trapped, it can neither be good nor bad. Because the argument stands to say that the tree cannot be which so as long as it produces both good and bad fruit, which falls in the shade of grey(a color my instructor despises), no absolute.


I don't know about this logic, it just sounds really odd. Basically, I'm looking for clarity in my logic. Does it make sense to reverse the argument of this old saying? And can it be disputed.

I'm trying to discern whether or not the idea of an absolute can be justified here. Is my inversion logical or not? Because my instructor didn't agree with me on the inversion of this logic.

I looked at it from the perspective, that our society holds "goodness" at a clean, untouched entity that if it's tainted, is no longer "good" but soiled. Thus, if goodness is soiled, it should be evil or dirty.

However, I'm reversing the concept by saying, what if our society took "evilness" or "badness" as a main direction in life, if it is soiled with goodness, isn't the "evilness" no longer evil? Why can't the reverse in logic work for evil, why just good? Or can it be argued?

Tell me if I'm making sense and you see my reasoning, if not, I'll try and clarify more.
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Postby nihilhabeo » Wed Jun 22, 2005 3:13 am

So what you are saying, then, is that there are things which are good, not good, bad, and not bad.

I would presume to say it would depend upon several different things:
Firstly, if you consider the tree as a whole, just as you consider society as a whole.
Secondly, if you consider the source of the evil: a good tree can bear bad fruit, if the fruit is affected by vermin after blossom, just as individuals in society, born of good parents, turn astray with bad companions.
The factors that make up the whole must be considered, otherwise you are making an assumption, and you know what that makes us. ;)

Speaking in purely general terms, the acorn does never fall far from the oak. This IS a generalization, but generalization is simply simplification, and if you look at absolute syllogisms this way, then absolutism is nothing but generalization either.

Of course that's a very vast generalization there, so maybe I just unanswered the whole question.

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Re: If a Good tree produces bad fruit, is it still Good?

Postby Democritus » Wed Jun 22, 2005 5:53 am

nuntius wrote:However, I'm reversing the concept by saying, what if our society took "evilness" or "badness" as a main direction in life, if it is soiled with goodness, isn't the "evilness" no longer evil? Why can't the reverse in logic work for evil, why just good? Or can it be argued?


That's an interesting line of thought. :)

nuntius wrote:If a good tree produces bad fruit, then is that tree actually bad and not good, for a good tree would never produce bad fruit to begin with, and so, the tree itself is evil.


But all fruit goes bad eventually.

The problem with this reasoning is that it is too simpleminded, "good" and "bad" are not binary opposites.

Why should I call a tree "bad" just because it doesn't produce any fruit that I can eat? As if the tree were put here just for me. My lunch tree! :) Whales don't produce any fruit that I can eat, either... does that make them bad?

All joking aside, it's interesting that foods are used as metaphors for good and evil. Distinguishing good food from bad is a terrifically important survival skill, now and in the past.

Nowadays we would never call a rotten apple "evil" in the moral sense, but perhaps in earlier times people were not inclined to make this distinction. A bad apple was an evil apple, perhaps. In fact I'm not sure where the metaphor here is, originally -- is food a metaphor for morality, or is morality metaphor for food?

(Note that I am not questioning the reality of morality -- I am just speculating idly about the use of metaphor in language.)

It's certainly true that one bit of bad food in a pot of soup will generally spoil the whole pot, and it doesn't matter much how good the rest of it is.
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Postby Andrus » Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:51 pm

Hi all,

If you pass the phrase:

“If a good tree produces bad fruit, then is that tree actually bad and not good, for a good tree would never produce bad fruit to begin with, and so, the tree itself is evil.”

to mathematical logical you should have p:”good tree” implies q:”good fruit”, or

p => q

This phrase is false only when p is true and q is false, i.e only when a good tree produces a bad fruit. But p => q is true for all other cases, i.e. good tree produces good fruit, bad tree produces good fruit and bad tree produces bad fruit.

So you can’t consider that “If a bad tree produces good fruit, does that not make the tree good” as a logical extension of the first phrase as it isn’t.

This doesn’t mean that the last phrase is not true, only that can’t be taken logically from the first.

In fact if you consider the last phrase as !p => !q , (!p = not p) a bad tree implies a bad fruit you will get that both phrases aren’t mutually exclusives (as they don’t give false for all possible combinations).

Well this is my 2 cents.

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Postby Episcopus » Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:19 pm

If a good tree produces bad fruit, it is a 1/good i.e. bad tree according to das Inverse Law.

If a good tree produces good fruit for a while it will still be 1/good i.e. bad. If you take the logarithm of good/bad fructual mass to the base tree then raise it to e exponential, you will find the percentage composition of the respective fruit in the tree. Then dem inversen law nach where t = time, l = percentage composition of respective fruit, m = percentage composition after time t, m = t/l.
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Postby primitive » Mon Jul 11, 2005 4:32 am

I didn't read the other posts, but my first instinct and gut feeling is that nothing is perfect...?
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Postby Cédric » Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:49 am

Good or bad according to what criteria?
What is good for me may not be for s.o. else ; what is bad for an animal may not be for a human (i know humans are animals but u get the basic line).
We all know that [face=SPIonic]fa/rmakon[/face] can mean either "poison" or "remedy", so what's good in a certain measure, will be bad in other...
We always forget about relativity when dealing with those "either...or" statements.
Last edited by Cédric on Sat Jun 10, 2006 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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evil merely the lack of good?

Postby Nujtik » Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:47 pm

unfortunatly i rarely get the chance to go online these days but i thought id through this bit of spice into the conversation.

If you think of light and dark, darkness is merely the lack of light, this logic could be applied to good and evil aswell could it not?
im not entirely sure how im fitting this into the story of the tree producing bad fruit, i just thought it was an interesting way to look at good and evil.
If you think of humanity as innately good, and when there is not goodness, we see what we percieve as evil, but there is infact no essence of evil itself but only a lack of goodness.
lol wow iv repeated myself alot.
shrug,
anyway, there you go. :)
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