The following list is jointly edited by Henry Fitzgerald and Daniel Nolan. We both grew familiar with the list of proofs that p from seeing it hanging on the wall of the University of Queensland philosophy department and consider the Frankfurt version to be incomplete in some regards and inaccurate in others; in any event, we think that it would be nice if there were some more examples. Not all items on the list are our invention; a list of credits and all sorts of other stuff follows at the end; but now, without further ado, let us present:

More Proofs that P


I can entertain an idea of the most perfect state of affairs inconsistent with not-p. If this state of affairs does not obtain then it is less than perfect, for an obtaining state of affairs is better than a non-obtaining one; so the state of affairs inconsistent with not-p obtains; therefore it is proved, etc.


Certain of my opponents claim to think that not-p; but it is precisely my thesis that they do not. Therefore p.


The theory p, though "refuted" by the anomaly q and a thousand others, may nevertheless be adhered to by a scientist for any length of time; and "rationally" adhered to. For did not the most "absurd" of theories, heliocentrism, stage a come-back after two thousand years? And is not Voodoo now emerging from a long period of unmerited neglect?


Several critics have put forward purported "counterexamples" to my thesis that p; but all of these critics have understood my thesis in a way that was clearly not intended, since I intended my thesis to have no counterexamples. Therefore p.


SOCRATES: Is it not true that p?

GLAUCON: I agree.
CEPHALUS: It would seem so.
POLEMARCHUS: Necessarily.
THRASYMACHUS: Yes, Socrates.
ALCIBIADES: Certainly, Socrates.
PAUSANIAS: Quite so, if we are to be consistent.
ERYXIMACHUS: The argument certainly points that way.
PHAEDO: By all means.
PHAEDRUS: What you say is true, Socrates.


Dammit all! p.


While everyone knows deep down that p, some philosophers feel curiously compelled to assert that not-p, as a result of being closet Marxists. I shall label this phenomenon "the blithering idiot effect". As I have shown that all assertions of not-p by anyone worth speaking of, and several by people who aren't, are due to the blithering idiot effect, there remains no reason to deny p, which everyone knows deep down anyway. I won't even waste my time arguing for it any further.


* The Feyerabend proof we have lifted almost verbatim ("p" and "q" are switched) from David Stove's Popper and After: Four Modern Irrationalists, Pergamon, Oxford, 1982, p. 42

* The Anselm, Plato and Stove proofs are due in part or in whole to James Chase, who refuses point blank to be credited as an editor.

* The Goldman proof is on the canonical list and was misattributed to Goodman (a common confusion: Goodman, Goldman) on the Frankfurt list.

*The Smart proof is also on the canonical list, but does not appear on the Frankfurt list, so we include it here.

We welcome suggestions, tolerate criticism and would dearly love to have some information about the origin of the "proofs that p" list, which has been floating around philosophy departments for years. Send any of the above to:

Created: 17/10/96
Last Modified: 17/10/96