Sunday, February 04, 2007


Just as I finished my blog post I must have hit a wrong key, and suddenly I'm looking at the log-in page, and my post (of course) had disappeared.
SO, I go to the kitchen, make a pot of boiling water for tea, and pretend my tea-bag is Blogger (or my keyboard - darn old thing) and I poured the water on the teabag and listened as it screamed.
Well, of course it didn't scream, but I have a wild imagination.
I suppose most writers...all writers...have a wild imagination. It can even be a syllogism.
All creative people have wild imaginations.
Writers are creative people.
Therefore, Writers have wild imaginations.

I was teaching my daughter about syllogisms. It's a reasoning presented in three parts: major, minor, and conclusion. It can be true or false. It was her vocabulary word of the day yesterday.
Syllogism: A kind of logical argument in which one proposition (the conclusion) is inferred from two others (the premises) of a certain form.

Every syllogism is a sequence of three propositions such that the first two imply the third, the conclusion.
Here is an example of a true syllogism:
All men are mortal.
All philosophers are men.
Therefore, all philosophers are mortal.
Easy, right?
Well, what about:

The more Swiss cheese you have, the more holes you have.
The more holes you have, the less Swiss cheese you have.
The more Swiss cheese you have, the less Swiss cheese you have.

This is the syllogism the French love to quote to kids just learning about this logic. It's kind of funny. And has nothing to do with the post I lost or wild imagination. Unless you want to imagine that syllogims have been around for ages. Aristotle is thought to have developed the concept. The word syllogism comes from the Greek words 'sun' and 'talk'. Was this because the ancient Greeks would stand in the marketplace and discuss philosophy? Or does it come from the three phases of the sun: dawn, noon, dusk?
If you want to get a little complicated, Aristotle noted five basic rules governing the validity of categorical syllogisms: The middle term must be distributed at least once (a term is said to be distributed when it refers to all members of the denoted class, as in all x are y and no x is y); a term distributed in the conclusion must be distributed in the premise in which it occurs; two negative premises imply no valid conclusion; if one premise is negative, then the conclusion must be negative; and two affirmatives imply an affirmative. Phew!

I have come across blog posts said to be written by dogs. From this I can create a syllogism:

All blog posters are people. (major premise - I think we can all agree here...)
Some blogs are posted by dogs. (minor premise. Haven't you ever come across a blog written by a dog?)
Therefore, some dogs are people. (Logical conclusion, right?)
If you want to have some more brain twisters, go here to read about the paradox of the heap of sand. It's quite interesting.


heather said...

heh. what fun!

December Quinn said...

That is fun! I love playing with logic like that.

Gabriele C. said...

Well, Killer Yapp has a blog. And I'm sure Miss Snark thinks of him as person. :)

Bonita said...

Lewis Carroll is the king of logic puzzles like that. I just adore these.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'm smart enough to figure out anything syllogistic like that. I doubt the dog who wrote the blog could either! LOL!

The plot of your new crime novel sounds intriguing...