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A type of syllogism
St. Thomas Aquinas narrates the life of St. Francis d'Assisi. O MORTAL cares insensate, what small worth, In sooth, doth all those syllogisms fill, Which make you stoop your pinions to the earth!

A syllogism (Greek: συλλογισμός – syllogismos – "conclusion," "inference") is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two or more propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true. In its earliest form, defined by Aristotle, from the combination of a general statement (the major premise) and a specific statement (the minor premise), a conclusion is deduced.

CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links


Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - F

  • The peril of the heavy tower, of the restless vault, of the vagrant buttress; the uncertainty of logic, the inequalities of the syllogism, the irregularities of the mental mirror,— all these haunting nightmares of the Church are expressed as strongly by the Gothic cathedral although it had been the cry of human suffering, and as no emotion had ever been expressed before or likely to find expression again.
  • The race of prophets is dead. Europe is becoming set in its ways, slowly embalming itself beneath the wrappings of its borders, its factories, its law courts and its universities. The frozen Mind cracks between the mineral staves which close upon it. The fault lies with your mouldy systems, your logic of 2 + 2 = 4. The fault lies with you, Chancellors, caught in the net of syllogisms. You manufacture engineers, magistrates, doctors, who know nothing of the true mysteries of the body or the cosmic laws of existence.
  • [In the introduction to his Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Topics, Averroes said] This art has three parts. The first part sets forth the speeches from which dialectical conversation is composed — i.e., its parts, and the parts of its parts on to its simplest components. This part is found in the first treatise on Aristotle's book.
    The second part sets forth the topics from which syllogisms are drawn — syllogisms for affirming something or denying it with respect to every kind of problem occurring in this art. This is the next six treatises of Aristotle's book.
    The third part set forth how the third part sets forth how the questioner ought to question and the answerer answer. It also sets forth how many kinds of questions and answers there are. This is in the eighth treatise of Aristotle's book.
  • LOGIC, n. The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. The basic of logic is the syllogism, consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion --thus:
    Major Premise: Sixty men can do a piece of work sixty times as quickly as one man.
    Minor Premise: One man can dig a posthole in sixty seconds; therefore
    Conclusion: Sixty men can dig a posthole in one second. This may be called the syllogism arithmetical, in which, by combining logic and mathematics, we obtain a double certainty and are twice blessed.
It is significant that in the greatest religious poem existent, the Book of Job,...Nonsense and faith (strange as the conjunction may seem) are the two supreme symbolic assertions of the truth that to draw out the soul of things with a syllogism is as impossible as to draw out Leviathan with a hook. -G. K. Chesterton.
  • ...mathematicians say—the construction propounded will be possible too, and once more the demonstration will correspond, in the reverse order to the analysis; but if we come upon something that is admitted is impossible the problem will also be impossible. It is quite possible to accept that Plato 'discovered' the method of Analysis, in the same sense as Aristotle discovered the syllogism; that is to say, he was the first to reflect upon the process of thought involved and to describe it in contrast with the process of Synthesis.

G - L

An Adelard of Bath Latin translation of Euclid's Elements...If one would see how a science can be constructed and developed to its minutest details from a very small number of intuitively perceived axioms, postulates, and plain definitions, by means of rigorous, one would almost say chaste, syllogism, which nowhere makes use of surreptitious or foreign aids, if one would see how a science may thus be constructed one must turn to the elements of Euclid. - Hermann Hankel
  • Deductive reasoning moves from a generalization believed to be true or self-evident to a more specific conclusion. The process of deduction has traditionally been illustrated with a syllogism, a three-part set of statements or propositions that includes a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion.
    Major premise: All books from that store are new.
    Minor premise: These books are from that store.
    The major premise of a syllogism makes a general statement that the writer believes to be true. The minor premise presents a specific example of the belief that is stated in the major premise. If the reasoning is sound, the conclusion should follow from the two premises.

M - R

Francis Bacon not only despised the syllogism, but undervalued mathematics, presumably as insufficiently experimental. He was virulently hostile to Aristotle, but though very highly of Democrates. -Bertrand Russell.
  • All the sophisticated syllogisms of the ponderous volumes published by Marx, Engels, and hundreds of Marxian authors cannot conceal the fact that the only and ultimate source of Marx’s prophecy is an alleged inspiration by virtue of which Marx claims to have guessed the plans of the mysterious powers determining the course of history. Like Hegel, Marx was a prophet communicating to the people the revelation that an inner voice had imparted to him.
  • In logic, a form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion. Adjective:syllogistic. Here is an example of a valid categorical syllogism: Major premise: All mammals are warm-blooded. Minor premise: All black dogs are mammals. Conclusion: Therefore, all black dogs are warm-blooded.
...Bush replied, 'Yeah, they're just wrong. There may be no evidence, but I did report. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been honorably discharged.' That's the Bush syllogism: The evidence says one thing; the conclusion says another; therefore, the evidence is false... - Tim Russert.
  • We now know that w:Limelightlimelight and a brass band do more to persuade than can be done by the most elegant train of syllogisms. It may be hoped that in time anybody will be able to persuade anybody of anything if he can catch the patient young and is provided by the State with money and equipment.

S - Z

  • For a thorough understanding of the syllogism we need to understand it not only with respect to its definition but also with respect to its divisions. Some of the divisions that must be presented apply to the syllogism in general –e.g., a syllogism is either perfect or imperfect, either affirmative or negative, and so on. However, other divisions that must be presented apply to the syllogism in such a way as to separate it into distinct types. The following division is of this kind: as syllogism is either demonstrative, or dialectical, or sophistical.
    A demonstrative syllogism is the one that produces scientific knowledge on the basis of necessary [premises] and the most certain reasons for the conclusion.
    A dialectical syllogism, however, is the one that produces opinion on the basis of probable [premises].
    Finally sophistical syllogism is the one that either syllogizes on the basis of seemingly probable [premises] or seemingly syllogizes on the basis of probable [premises]; in either case it is strictly aimed at glory or victory.
The motion picture does not outlaw the still photograph but combines a series of them according to the laws of motion. Dialectics does not deny the syllogism, but teaches us to combine syllogisms in such a way as to bring our understanding closer to the eternally changing reality. - Leon Trotsky.
  • She certainly had a little syllogism in her head as to the Duke ruling the borough, the Duke's wife ruling the Duke, and therefore the Duke's wife ruling the Duke, and therefore the Duke’s wife ruling the borough; but she did not think it prudent to utter this on the present occasion.
  • From the viewpoint of my general purpose, I had come to believe that one way to achieve the education which leads to understanding and compassion is to take some period of the past and to immerse oneself in it so thoroughly that one could think its thoughts and speak its language. The object would be to take this chapter of vanished experience and learn to know it in three if not four dimensions. That would mean coming to understand why certain actions which in the light of retrospect appear madly irrational appeared at that time the indisputable mandate of reason; why things which had been created with pain and care were cast quickly on the gaming table of war; why men who had sat in the senate chamber and debated with syllogism and enthymeme stepped out of it to buckle on the sword against one another. Almost any book of history will give you the form of such a time, but what will give you the pressure of it? That is what I particularly wished to discover.
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