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The Categorical Syllogism

Logic Exercises
Indicate a) whether the following arguments are valid or invalid by checking the appropriate square. Also, if the syllogism is invalid indicate which rule of logic was violated. To make this easier, use the following steps:
Step 1: Circle the middle term. Step 2: Determine what kind of statement (i.e., A, I, E, or O) is the first premise. Then do the same for the second premise. Finally, determine what kind of statement is the conclusion. Step 3: Highlight all the distributed terms using a colored highlighter. Step 4: Check to see if the middle term is distributed at least once. If it is not, no need to proceed further, the syllogism is invalid. Step 5: If there are any distributed terms in the conclusion, check to see if those very terms are distributed in the premises. Step 6: Check the rest of the rules. If no rules are violated, the syllogism is valid.

1. All C is P. J is P. Ergo, J is C. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason for Invalidity: 2. Some Lifeissues.net readers are philosophers. Sean is a philosopher. Ergo, Sean is a Lifeissues.net reader. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 3. No man is perfect Some men are presidents. Ergo, some presidents are not perfect. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 4. All matter obeys wave equations. All waves obey wave equations. Ergo, all matter is waves. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 5. All human action is conditioned by circumstances.

All human action involves morality. Ergo, all that involves morality is conditioned by circumstances (moral relativism). Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 6. All that is good is pleasant. All eating is pleasant. Ergo, all eating is good. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason 7. All patriots are voters. Some citizens are not voters. Ergo, some citizens are not patriots. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 8. All potatoes have eyes. Frank's head has eyes. Ergo, Frank is a potato head. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 9. All A are B Some C are not B. Ergo, some C are not A. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 10. All a priori categories are conditions for the possibility of knowing anything. Some a posteriori imperatives of an a-cosmic ethics are not conditions for the possibility of knowing anything. Ergo, some a posteriori imperatives of an a-cosmic ethics are not a priori categories. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 11. No oak trees bear fruit. No maple trees bear fruit. Therefore, no oak trees are maples. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ]

Reason: 12. All socialists favor higher taxes. Some Liberals favor higher taxes. Ergo, some Liberals are Socialists. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 13. All educated people have worked hard. Some students are not educated. Ergo, some students have not worked hard. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 14. Mathematicians know what mathematics is. No philosopher is a mathematician. Ergo, no philosopher knows what mathematics is. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 15. All scientific knowledge is a work of reason. All scientific knowledge is true. Ergo, all that is true is a work of reason. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 16. All married people know about marriage problems. No priests are married people. Ergo, no priests know about marriage problems. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 17. All C are B All T are B Ergo, all T are C Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 18. All chickens are born from eggs.

All turkeys are born from eggs. Ergo, all turkeys are chickens. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 19. Nothing easy is worthwhile. Nothing good is easy. Ergo, nothing good is worthwhile. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 20. All contraceptives acts are for avoiding pregnancy. All use of NFP is for avoiding pregnancy. Ergo, All use of NFP is contraceptive. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 21. All Germans despise Judaism. All of the people reading this text are German. Ergo, all of the people reading this text despise Judaism. Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: 22. All parts of a living organism are inside the body. The fetus is inside the (mother's) body. Therefore, the fetus is a part of the living organism (mother's body) Valid [ ] Invalid [ ] Reason: ANSWERS

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The Categorical Syllogism (Exercises)


Answer Sheet

1. All Canadians are people. John is a person. Ergo, John is Canadian. Invalid. Undistributed Middle Term. 2. Some Lifeissues.net readers are philosophers. Sean is a philosopher. Ergo, Sean is a Lifeissues.net reader. Invalid. Undistributed Middle Term. 3. No man is perfect Some men are presidents. Ergo, some presidents are not perfect. Valid 4. All matter obeys wave equations. All waves obey wave equations. Ergo, all matter is waves.

Invalid. Undistributed Middle Term. 5. All human action is conditioned by circumstances. All human action involves morality. Ergo, all that involves morality is conditioned by circumstances (moral relativism). Invalid. Any term which is distributed in the conclusion must also be distributed in the premises (All that involves morality is distributed in the conclusion, but not in the second premise). 6. All that is good is pleasant. All eating is pleasant. Ergo, all eating is good. Invalid. Undistributed Middle Term. 7. All patriots are voters. Some citizens are not voters. Ergo, some citizens are not patriots. Valid. The logic is valid, even though the conclusion may be false. For the first premise might be false. In other words, one may have false premises and a false conclusion, while the logic remains valid. It is also possible to have true premises and a true conclusion but

false logic (the conclusion simply does not follow from the premises). 8. All potatoes have eyes. Frank's head has eyes. Ergo, Frank is a potato head. Invalid. Undistributed Middle Term. 9. All A are B Some C are not B. Ergo, some C are not A. Valid. 10. All a priori categories are conditions for the possibility of knowing anything. Some a posteriori imperatives of an a-cosmic ethics are not conditions for the possibility of knowing anything. Ergo, some a posteriori imperatives of an a-cosmic ethics are not a priori categories. Valid. *This syllogism means absolutely nothing. But in order to determine its validity, one need not know the meaning of the terms. 11.

No oak trees bear fruit. No maple trees bear fruit. Therefore, no oak trees are maples. Invalid. One cannot conclude anything from two negative premises. The role of the Middle Term is to join the Major and Minor Terms. The Middle Term cannot do this if both premises are negative. 12. All socialists favor higher taxes. Some Liberals favor higher taxes. Ergo, some Liberals are Socialists. Invalid. Undistributed Middle Term. 13. All educated people have worked hard. Some students are not educated. Ergo, some students have not worked hard. Invalid. The term not worked hard is distributed in the conclusion, but it is undistributed in the first premise. 14. Mathematicians know what mathematics is. No philosopher is a mathematician. Ergo, no philosopher knows what mathematics is. Invalid. Knows what mathematics is is distributed in

the conclusion, but is undistributed in the first premise. 15. All scientific knowledge is a work of reason. All scientific knowledge is true. Ergo, all that is true is a work of reason. Invalid. All that is true is distributed in the conclusion, but is undistributed in the second premise. 16. All married people know about marriage problems. No priests are married people. Ergo, no priests know about marriage problems. Invalid. Know about marriage problems is distributed in the conclusion, but is undistributed in the first premise. 17. All C are B All T are B Ergo, all T are C Invalid. Undistributed Middle Term. 18. All chickens are born from eggs. All turkeys are born from eggs. Ergo, all turkeys are chickens.

Invalid. Undistributed Middle Term. 19. Nothing easy is worthwhile. Nothing good is easy. Ergo, nothing good is worthwhile. Invalid. No conclusion can be drawn from two negative premises. 20. All contraceptives acts are for avoiding pregnancy. All use of NFP is for avoiding pregnancy. Ergo, All use of NFP is contraceptive. Invalid. Undistributed Middle Term. 21. All Germans despise Judaism. All of the people reading this text are German. Ergo, all of the people reading this text despise Judaism. Valid. The premises are false, and the conclusion is false, but the logic is valid. No rules are broken. 22. All parts of a living organism are inside the body. The fetus is inside the (mother's) body. Therefore, the fetus is a part of the living organism (mother's body)

Invalid. Undistributed Middle Term. Testing Categorical Syllogisms


The refutation by logical analogy or counter-example method for testing syllogisms has four steps: 1. Test a syllogism with true premises and true conclusion. 2. Assume that the syllogism is valid. 3. Attempt to discover an analogous syllogism (one with an identical mood and figure) with true premises and a false conclusion. 4. If none can be found, treat the syllogism as valid; if one can be found, then declare the syllogism invalid. Here are some categorical syllogisms that have true premises and a true conclusion:
No rabbits are cats. No turtles are rabbits. Thus no turtles are cats. All dogs are canines. No dogs are felines. Thus no felines are canines. Some students are not lazy. Some teachers are not lazy. Thus some teachers are not students. Some professors are not married. All husbands are married. Thus some husbands are not professors. Some races are not marathons. Some races are not 10Ks. Thus some 10Ks are not marathons. Some cars are expensive. Some cars are fast. Thust some fast things are expensive. Some primates are small animals. Some mammals are primates.

Thus some mammals are small animals. Some students are not happy. No greedy persons are happy.

true.]

[Assume this premise is

Thus some greedy persons are students. No books are conscious. No spoons are books. Hence no spoons are conscious. Some busses are not diesel-powered. Some busses are city-operated. Thus some city-operated vehicles are not diesel-powered. No lethal things are toys. Some guns are lethal. Thus some guns are toys. All cedar chests are aromatic. No aromatic thing is fragrance-free. Hence some fragrance-free things are not cedar chests.