Lewis Carroll’s Weird Sylogisms

A syllogism is a form of logical argument in which a conclusion is drawn from two or more premises that are assumed to be true using deductive reasoning. For instance,

1. All men are mortal.
2. Socrates is a man.

Therefore Socrates is mortal.

The first premise said that all men are mortal while the second premise said that Socrates is a man. So, Socrates has to be mortal since he is a man.

Lewis Carroll, most famously known for his novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, had also written a couple of textbooks in symbolic logic. As anyone who read Carroll’s works would know, he was good at coming up with convoluted stuff, like these syllogisms from Carroll’s Symbolic Logic (1896):

1. Babies are illogical.
2. Nobody is despised who can manage a crocodile.
3. Illogical persons are despised.

Therefore, babies cannot manage crocodiles.

1. No interesting poems are unpopular among people of real taste.
2. No modern poetry is free from affectation.
3. All your poems are on the subject of soap bubbles.
4. No affected poetry is popular among people of taste.
5. Only a modern poem would be on the subject of soap bubbles.

Therefore, all your poems are uninteresting.

1. Every idea of mine, that cannot be expressed as a Syllogism, is really ridiculous.
2. None of my ideas about Bath-buns are worth writing down.
3. No idea of mine, that fails to come true, can be expressed as a Syllogism.
4. I never have any really ridiculous idea, that I do not at once refer to my solicitor.
5. My dreams are all about Bath-buns.
6. I never refer any idea of mine to my solicitor, unless it is worth writing down.

Therefore, all my dreams come true.


About Edmark M. Law

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. I blog at learnfunfacts.com. You can find me on Twitter @EdmarkLaw and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com
This entry was posted in Humor, Language, Oddities and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Lewis Carroll’s Weird Sylogisms

  1. Andrew Mylko says:

    I don’t see why a crocodile manager can’t be despised; many managers are despised. My guess is that the crocodile might despise the manager.


  2. dweezer19 says:

    He had a keen interpretive intellect to be certain!


  3. What he is really doing, though he doesn’t admit it (or does he?) is starting with a conclusion and working backwards. So, unless you accept his conclusion, the rest of the thing implodes…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kerenhb says:

    Nice, although uses very absolute logic (all or nothing, rather than some).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ellie894 says:

    Topsy turvy
    Upside down
    Inside out
    All around.
    That must mean then that Topsy has come to call 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

  6. janahpinku says:

    Wow it is so bewildering to think how Carroll managed to draw such insane conclusions haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I see the truth in all of them. Sometimes the truth hurts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. George says:

    I imagine one can have fun with this. It seems to be a play on word with logical deductions. So when you begin the process, especially if they’re longer, do you go top to bottom or start at the end and move to the beginning?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. David says:

    Fun/interesting reading but my brain hurts a bit.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. “babies cannot manage crocodiles” is true; however, the assumption that #2 and #3 are true can be easily refuted. Assumptions are dangerous.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Good fun! Though I guess there is something to be said for ‘babies cannot manage crocodiles’!

    Liked by 2 people

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