Any reference to a self is a sticky situation in logic. Logic is an attempt to understand the laws of the world. Once laws are understood, they can be used: control over the world increases. It is often believed that when someone turns to logic or reason they gain a dispassionate, maybe even objective point of view. More effective or powerful decisions can be made.

But this rosey picture falls apart when the self enters into the equation. Is logic how one controls oneself? If so who is being controlled and who the controller? It is the problem of inventing a logical law that you decide to follow. If you can decide not to follow it, is your logical law really true? And if you can’t decide not to follow it, you are not the controller, but the controlled, and you cannot say you have control over yourself in that case.

Control over yourself, as Dr. Russell would have it (see first post), is a mystical desire- it breaks logic because it is a self-contradictory desire- it requires the freedom to control oneself and restraint not to control oneself.

People who follow logic and exclude mysticism must ignore themselves to use logic consistently. They may feel they have more control over the external world, but if logic is turned inwards on the self it begs the question: “How can I have control over external things if I don’t have control over myself?” If they decide to control themselves first, then they have to do away with always following logic.

In economic models the notion of a rational agent calculates highest self-gain and acts accordingly, but this person, who probably is assumed to use logical reasoning for their calculations, cannot control themselves to follow their own rules- and if they did, the economy would suffer and different models and agents would be necessary. This is why the idea of anarchy is not actually opposed to capitalism- it is simply the logical conclusion of rational agents trying to think about how to govern themselves.

If there is any “self”, then the logical forms that are agreeable to scientists would collapse for the same reasons. Either there are “selves” who, logically, have the power to break and reshape any physical law of matter they want, or there are no selves and logic can’t about anything- it must remain empty of any subject and ultimately irrelevant.

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