And Just a Wee Bit More About Flockbinkers

In a couple of our posts thus far, we’ve used the term ‘syllogism,’ and we even went to some lengths to define it a couple of posts back.  But some of our readers are apparently struggling with the fact that the only syllogism we’ve showcased so far is stocked with nonsense words.  “Are all syllogisms about nonsense?” one disconsolate reader asked.  “Is logic all about nonsense?  I mean, you know, logic… nonsense…?  Because that wouldn’t make any sense.  Um, or something.”

Well, in the first place, let’s challenge the assumption that ‘flockbinker,’ ‘treadknicious,’ and ‘wamwam’ are nonsense words.  We could invest a whole string of posts in exploring just what nonsense is, whether these terms are, in fact, nonsense, and if not, what these terms actually refer to.  And be assured that we’ll be doing all of that at various points in the coming months.

But even if we here grant the reader’s contention that these words refer to nothing that he has ever seen on the television set or read about on Facebook, that doesn’t disqualify them from being useful to us as illustrations of how logic works.

By way of a refresher, here’s the classic flockbinker syllogism:

All flockbinkers are treadknicious.
All wamwams are flockbinkers.
Therefore, all wamwams are treadknicious.

 

We could, if we wanted, mix things up a little:

All flockbinkers are treadknicious.
Some stinkbeckers are flockbinkers.
Therefore, some stinkbeckers are treadknicious.

 

Or how about this:

No freakdeckers are flockbinkers.
Only flockbinkers are treadknicious.
Therefore, no freakdeckers are treadknicious.

 

Or even this:

Most Kardashians are boondoggles.
All boondoggles are frabjous.
Therefore, most Kardashians are frabjous.

 

The basic logical structure of a syllogism works, even if you don’t know the meanings of the terms being used.  Watch this:

All A’s are B’s.
All B’s are C’s.
Therefore, all A’s are C’s.

 

If we can table, for now, the somewhat controversial issue of whether i have used apostrophes correctly in forming the plurals of letters of the alphabet, you can see that anything can be used as a placeholder in a logical syllogism.

Check this out:

Some :)’s are ;)’s.
All ;)’s are :P’s.
Therefore, some :)’s are :P’s.

 

Isn’t this fun?  Here’s another one:

All &’s are @’s.
No @’s are $’s.
Therefore, no &’s are $’s.

Now, the more serious-minded sort of reader might want to complain at this point, “I’m beginning to get fed up with all this fiddle-faddle.  What’s the purpose in stringing together groups of silly words and meaningless symbols?  Feel free to call me dense, but i don’t feel as if i’m learning very much about logic.  Instead, i think i’m learning more about what sorts of psychotropic medications the Blogger is on, or needs to be on.”

Well, serious-minded reader, you have, despite yourself, learned one thing about logic: that the relationships among the various terms in the syllogism have a great deal to do with the logic of the argument, and this can be illustrated with silly words just as easily as with real ones.

Because, you see,

if

All ramshackles are stonebiggles

and

All stonebiggles are transfiggles

then even if you have no idea what any of those terms mean, you can still say, with absolute confidence,

that

All ramshackles are transfiggles.

That’s just plain how it works.

Perhaps that’s enough for now.  Next time we’ll be addressing the age-old question, “If you were to stuff seventeen flockbinkers into a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle, would most Kardashians still be frabjous?”