If a security system is never triggered, can one conclude that it has been effective? Is the failure of a system more telling than its lack of use? Can the negation of a fact be used to prove its existence and the validity of a theoretical construct? Can one argue, See — X did not occur; therefore Y must have occurred? In terms of pure propositional logic and its internal system of validity, one can conclude that certain logical constructs are on their face invalid and contain fallacies.
This was one of Wittgenstein’s points concerning human language games: the very self-contained artifice of the universe of meaning possesses no reflective correspondence to the physical world; and, in today’s parallel universe of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, emails, etc., the technological artifice which encapsulates so much of our lives only serves to exponentially magnify such lack of corresponding significance.
In making legal arguments in an OPM Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is often important to understand the context within which the legal argument is being made. One never knows whether, and to what extent, any particular legal argument is effective; and sometimes all that can be made is the pretext of the argument, and to leave the substantive impact for future application.
For example, does the fact that a person has received a “proposed removal” have the same impact as one who has in fact been removed for his or her medical inability to perform one’s job? Or, similarly, does a person who receives a VA rating determination of “unemployability” have the same impact as one who is allocated with a 90% disability rating, arrived at through various lesser ratings and combinations thereof?
The effectiveness of any argument will depend upon the level of persuasion employed; the level of persuasion will be contingent upon the validity of the sequential connections of often independent logical statements; and the force of a conclusion will be determined by the strength of its weakest link. If an argument of negation must be employed, take care to do so by linking it to an undeniable fact.
Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire