I am currently taking a philosophy course at the local community college, the subject matter of which is “critical thinking and writing.” It is essentially a logic class, and I am really enjoying being “initiated” into the fold. Learning the names of the informal fallacies is like learning secret code, and drawing up the contradiction/contrary square and learning about categories is great fun.
One assignment in particular provided me with both a lot of food for thought and a great deal of amusement. The assignment was to state a “truth claim” and defend it in written form. Following this, we were supposed to defend the opposite side of the argument. Finally, the assignment had us come down off the fence and decide which side of the argument we thought had better points. It was interesting and fun to defend two separate positions as well as possible, and I have decided to post my essay as a series here, taking each part in turn. Comments on the validity of the reasoning, about your thoughts on my decision, or about which color is actually the best are most welcome.
Without further ado:
Green: Can a Color Be “The Best”? Pro-Green Essay
Our first task is to define the terms of the sentence. By “green,” we mean the color of light of wavelength between roughly 520 and 570 nanometers. We define “best” as the “superlative of ‘good.” The “best color,” then, can be defined as the “most good color.” We can define “good” as a quality exhibited by something which is “satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree.” We will show that green is the “most satisfactory,” not simply in one, but in all three of these categories; we can then affirm that it is the “most good color,” and hence that it is the “best color.”
We first show that green is the most quantitatively satisfactory color by showing that it is the most ubiquitous color in the world. Here we turn to the most prevalent bio-system: the oceans. A common misconception about the oceans is that they are blue because the sky is blue; however, water actually does have a slight cyan color due to selective absorption in the red part of the visible spectrum. Given that cyan is a secondary additive color created from mixing green and blue light, we can include it in both groups and claim that the oceans are green as well as blue. Thus we see that a majority of the earth is covered in the color green. As additional evidence, we cite a majority of the earth’s landmass, covered as it is in green plants.
Secondly, we show that the color green is the “most satisfactory in quality,” i.e. that it produces the most benefit, or that it is affiliated with those producing the most benefit. Arguably nothing is more important to humanity than its survival, and we can safely stipulate that its survival is dependent upon the survival of the planet. Therefore we take organizations with the planet’s best interests at heart as those with humanity’s best interests at heart. A brief survey of such organizations will show that this philosophy is summed up a majority of the time by the phrase “go green.” In other words, the color green is used to inspire humanity toward preserving the planet and thus its own survival.
Showing that green is the “most satisfactory in degree” is important, as we would be remiss in claiming the most magnificent beetle as the greatest animal. We need to show that the degree to which green is better than other colors is grand enough to support its dominance. In addition to the examples mentioned above, nations and even religions acclaim the color green. In particular, the flag of the country of Libya is a solid green rectangle. The religion of Islam venerates green, believing it to be the color the faithful will wear eternally in Paradise. As a color, it transcends even mortality; pending Islam’s veracity, green is at least as important as any other color, and at most infinitely important.
Having shown that green fulfills the three criteria of “most satisfactory” in quality, quantity, and degree, we have proven that it is the “most good color” and consequently the best color. The syllogism formed from the above reasoning is “The best color is the color most satisfactory in quality, quantity, and degree. Green is the color most satisfactory in quality, quantity, and degree. Therefore, green is the best color.”