Which one of the following statements most accurately characterizes a difference between the two passages?

Rachel on April 14, 2020

True v. false

Hello, can someone please help to clarify the logical difference between could be true and could be false? I assume that could be true means just that- it could be true, but it ALSO could be false. So- wouldn't could be false mean the same thing? It could be false, but it ALSO could be true? Thanks!

Replies

Skylar on April 15, 2020

@RayJ, happy to help!

Yes. If we are told that something could be true, it could also be false. Similarly, if something could be false, it could also be true.

However, the two terms are very different when we think about them in terms of "must be true" and "must be false."

If something "could be true," it is incompatible with something that "must be false." This is because something that must be false cannot be true.
If something "could be false," it is incompatible with something that "must be true." This is because something that must be true cannot be false.

Does that make sense? Please let us know if you have any other questions!

Rachel on April 16, 2020

That does clarify my confusion, thank you, Skylar!