Syllogism

By Deane Barker

This is a logical argument that says if something is in a minor group that is part of a major group, then that thing exhibits the characteristics of the major group.

  • Major premise: All fish can swim
  • Minor premise: Nemo is a fish
  • Conclusion: Therefore, Nemo can swim

There are some other forms, like the negative form:

  • No humans have four legs
  • Some mammals have four legs
  • Therefore, some mammals are not human

This is really just a restatement of the first form, with the group being “not human.”

Why I Looked It Up

There was a clue in the NY Times crossword:

Logical, as a syllogism

The answer was “VALID.” (I did not solve this – I had to consult a solution page to find it.)

Also, I don’t totally understand the clue. I think it’s saying:

… what?

This is item #746 in a sequence of 838 items.

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