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Syllogisms

Below are 20 logic puzzles known as syllogisms. Each syllogism is made up of two premises followed by a
conclusion. For each syllogism you must decide whether the conclusion is valid or invalid by determining
whether it follows logically from the premises without the need for any other information. The average score
is about 10 to 12 correct out of 20. A brief explanation and the answers can be found at the bottom of the
page

Example:

Premise 1: All cats are mammals


Premise 2: All mammals are animals
Conclusion: Therefore all cats are animals

1 All of the purple cravats have blue polkadots


Some of the ties are purple cravats
Therefore some of the ties have blue polkadots

2 All neurosurgeons are highly intelligent


Some neurosurgeons are not gentlemen
Therefore no gentlemen are highly intelligent

3 Some computers are not laptops


Some laptops are not MacBooks
Therefore some computers are MacBooks

4 No people tell lies


Some psychology students tell lies
Therefore some psychology students are not people

5 Some daily newspapers are tabloids


No textbooks are daily newspapers
Therefore no tabloids are textbooks

6 Some green things are not plants


All green things are trees
Therefore some trees are not plants

7 All rats in London have contagious diseases


Some rodents have contagious diseases
Therefore some rodents are rats in London
8 Some types of bird are kept as pets
All things kept as pets are goldfish
Therefore some goldfish are types of bird

9 Some woolen cardigans are not trousers


Some trousers are not shirts
Therefore all shirts are woolen cardigans

10 No fish are rainbow trout


All rainbow trout are salmon
Therefore some salmon are not fish

11 All habitual failures are life's losers


None of life's losers are unhappy people
Therefore some unhappy people are habitual failures

12 No shiny red apples contain deadly poison


Some types of fruit contain deadly poison
Therefore some types of fruit are not shiny red apples

13 All large boulders are alive


Some root vegetables are large boulders
Therefore some root vegetables are alive

14 Some peoples' homes are giant mansions


All giant mansions are houses
Therefore some houses are peoples’ homes

15 Some real ale does not contain any liquid


All real ale is water
Therefore some water does not contain any liquid

16 All vehicles on the road are buses


Some vehicles on the road are not cars
Therefore no cars are buses

17 All sailboats are buoyant in water


Some house bricks are buoyant in water
Therefore some house bricks are sailboats
18 Some old men work as fishermen
No young girls are old men
Therefore no young girls work as fishermen

19 All mountain goats are mammals


No mammals are invertebrates
Therefore some invertebrates are mountain goats

20 No naughty children do well in school


All those who do well in school are well behaved
Therefore some of those who are well behaved are not naughty children

END

ANSWERS TO FOLLOW…
Explanation:

Syllogisms are most easy to get right when logical necessity agrees with common sense.

For example number 12:


No shiny red apples contain deadly poison
Some types of fruit contain deadly poison
Therefore some types of fruit are not shiny red apples

The conclusion follows logically from the premises and also is believable; we know from experience that not
all fruit are apples, so there is no conflict between our ‘heuristic reasoning’ based on past experience and
our ‘analytical reasoning’ working out the answer from the premises.

However taking another example number 3:

Some computers are not laptops


Some laptops are not MacBooks
Therefore some computers are MacBooks

The conclusion is believable; we know from experience that MacBooks are indeed a type of computer BUT
this does conclusion does not follow logically from the premises so is invalid. In this case our heuristic
reasoning is in conflict with our analytical reasoning and we will find it a lot harder to get the answer right.

When these two modes of mental processing are in conflict and we inappropriately use our heuristic
reasoning it is called belief bias. I have listed below for each syllogism whether the conclusion was valid or
invalid, believable or unbelievable and have marked a 1 next to the syllogisms where the belief bias effect
was likely to occur.

Answers:

Validity Believability Belief Bias


1 Valid Believable
2 Invalid Unbelievable
3 Invalid Believable 1
4 Valid Unbelievable 1
5 Invalid Believable 1
6 Valid Unbelievable 1
7 Invalid Believable 1
8 Valid Unbelievable 1
9 Invalid Unbelievable
10 Valid Unbelievable 1
11 Invalid Believable 1
12 Valid Believable
13 Valid Unbelievable 1
14 Valid Believable
15 Valid Unbelievable 1
16 Invalid Believable 1
17 Invalid Unbelievable
18 Invalid Believable 1
19 Invalid Unbelievable
20 Valid Believable