Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 A - Arbitrary


Arbitrary: Unconditioned, as one pleases, up to one's own decision or volition.

One needs a concept like arbitrary to explain substitution for variables: That any arbitrary number will do in the equation x=x means that whichever number that is chosen and substituted uniformly for "x" in "x=x" will do, in the sense that it results in a true statement, such as 5=5 or 9=9 or whatever.

Note that the notion of an unconditioned choice sounds a bit paradoxical, but when the choice is arbitrary it does mean that whichever one chooses from a set of possibilities will do.


See also: Any, Variable


 Original: April 20, 2011                                                Last edited:12 December 2011.   Top