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.

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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. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

21 thoughts on “Lewis Carroll’s Weird Sylogisms

  1. 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. 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

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