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Syllogism is best defined as the process of arriving at the logical conclusions on the basis of the given

statements.

A brief overview:

Proposition (Premise): Is defined as a sentence or a statement that establishes the relation between the two

terms.

Example: Elephant is a big animal.

Here we have two terms: Elephant and Big animal.

On the face of above example, Premise is best defined as the statement of fact or of an opinion. In the

process of arriving at the conclusions the factual reality must never be considered and all the given

statements need to be accepted on the face of it without any strings or biases attached to it.

Subject term is defined as the term whose relation has to be established.

In above example, Elephant would be the subject term.

Predicate term is defined as the term with whom the relation of the subject term is to be established.

In above example, Big animal would be the predicate term.

Types of premises:

Consider a term A to be the subject term and B to be the predicate term. Now the various relations that can

be established between A and B are:

1. All A’s are B’s.

2. Some A’s are B’s.

3. Some A’s are not B’s.

4. No A’s are B’s.

Consider statements (3) and (4): Since negative words like no, not are used in these statements, these

statements are negative statements.

Similarly statements (1) and (2) are affirmative statements since there are no negative words which are

used here.

Universal Premise:

When the given statement makes the reference to the entire subject term with no exclusions, it would be

defined as the universal premise.

Example: Universal Affirmative:

All A’s are B’s.

Every A is B.

Whole of A is B.

Entire A is B.

No A’s are B’s.

None of A is B.

A’s are never B’s.

Particular Premise:

Whenever the given premise makes the reference to only a part of the subject term, the premise is said to be

a particular premise.

In defining a particular premise, the interpretation of the word “some” to be elaborately understood.

“Some” will always mean atleast one.

For example: Some A’s are B’s will always mean that there has to be atleast one A which is B.

Examples: Particular Affirmative:

Some A’s are B’s.

Few A’s are B’s.

More A’s are B’s.

Lots of A’s are B’s

Most of A’s are B’s.

Almost every A is B.

Some A’s are not B’s.

Few A’s are not B’s.

Most A’s are not B’s.

Particular Affirmative Particular Negative

Venn diagram is defined as a pictorial representation of a set using any closed shape / figure.

Universal Affirmative:

Particular Affirmative:

Range of A: 1 to ALL.

Universal Negative:

Particular Negative:

Arriving at conclusions:

II: All B’s are C’s

Above four representations hold good for the given set of premises.

Based on the above representations, the possible conclusions that can be drawn are:

1. All A’s are C’s

2. Some C’s are A’s

3. Some A’s are C’s

Important note on conclusion: For any conclusion to be valid, it must hold good across all the possible set

of representations for the given set of premises.

A valid conclusion will never contain the term common to both the premises.

“To prove anything right you need to prove that it has been right at all the times; whereas to prove

anything wrong you need to prove it wrong only once.”

Since Venn diagram is a pictorial representation of the given premises; the conclusion can be physically

seen from the representation.

Demerits of Venn diagram approach:

1. Occupies more space.

2. More time consuming.

3. Chances of a representations being left out are very high; hence the conclusion can be wrong.

For example: In the above case consider the case when representation (IV) is being left out: then the

possible conclusion looking at the first three figures could have been, “Some C’s are not A’s”.

4. The accuracy in arriving at the conclusion/s depends largely on the individual capacity to visualize

the possible representations.

This method aims at removing all the demerits of the Venn diagram approach. Further since this method is

more mechanical in nature it eliminates the possibilities of errors creeping in arriving at the conclusions.

All A’s are B’s.

In both the above figures the shaded portion represents “All A’s are B’s”. In both the cases “A” (one of the

terms) could be completely shaded; i.e. information on all the A’s was known.

Whereas in case of “B”, it can be completely shaded only in figure (II) whereas in figure (I) the quantum of

B which are A is not specified.

Since “A” can be completely shaded it is said to be distributed while “B” would remain undistributed.

Thus in a Universal Affirmative premise, the subject term is distributed whereas the predicate term is not

distributed.

√ x

All A’s are B’s.

√: Distributed

x: Undistributed

Universal Negative:

No A’s are B’s.

From above figure, the possible conclusions that can be drawn are:

No A’s are B’s.

No B’s are A’s.

In both the cases, complete information on both A as well as B is known: hence both A and B can be

shaded completely, both are said to be distributed.

Hence in case of universal Negative premise, both the subject term as well as the predicate term is

distributed.

√ √

No A’s are B’s.

Particular Affirmative:

Some A’s are B’s.

In figures (I) and (II), A can be completely shaded, whereas in (III) and (IV) it can be only partially shaded

to represent the area in which some A’s are B’s. Hence the subject term i.e. A in this case cannot be

distributed.

Similarly in figures (II) and (IV), B can be completely shaded, whereas in figures (I) and (III) it can be only

partially shaded to represent the case when some B’s are A’s. Hence the predicate term i.e B in this case

cannot be distributed.

Thus in case of Particular Affirmative premise, both the terms: subject term and predicate term are

undistributed.

x x

Some A’s are B’s.

Particular Negative:

Some A’s are not B’s.

In above figures, the unshaded portion represents the part of A which are not B, whereas the shaded portion

represents the B’s which are not A’s.

Hence the predicate term, i.e. B in this case can be shaded completely and uniformly across all three

possible representations whereas in case of A the area to be shaded will vary from representation to

representation. Hence the subject term cannot be distributed.

x √

Some A’s are not B’s.

Universal Affirmative (UA) √ x

Universal Negative (UN) √ √

Particular Affirmative (PA) x x

Particular Negative (PN) x √

The Rule:

1. For a conclusion to be possible there has to be exactly three terms in the given set of premises.

Further the middle term, which is defined as the term common to both the premises will never

appear in the conclusion.

Example: All A’s are B’s

All B’s are C’s.

Conclusion: All A’s are C’s

Some A’s are C’s

Some C’s are A’s.

The conclusion will necessarily establish the relation between A and C.

2. For a conclusion to be possible the middle term must be distributed atleast once in the given set

of premises, i.e. the middle term should have atleast one (√ ) in the given set of premise.

Example: √ x

All A’s are B’s.

√ x

All B’s are C’s.

The middle term B carries atleast one (√ ), hence the conclusion if any is possible.

Proof: Consider the case when the middle term (B) is not distributed.

√ x

All A’s are B’s.

√ x

All C’s are B’s.

The following representations will hold good for the given set of premises.

The possible conclusions that can be drawn from each of the above representation are:

Figure (I): No A’s are C’s

No C’s are A’s

Figure (II): Some A’s are C’s

Some A’s are not C’s

All C’s are A’s.

Figure (III): All A’s are C’s.

Some C’s are A’s

Some C’s are not A’s.

Figure (IV): All C’s are A’s

Some A’s are C’s

Some A’s are not C’s.

Going by the sanctity of the definition of conclusion no single statement from the above possible set of

independent conclusions holds good across all the possible representations. Hence no conclusion is

possible.

3. If one of the premises is particular, then the conclusion if any will always be particular.

Example: √ x

All A’s are B’s.

x x

Some A’s are C’s.

Proof: The given set of premises can be represented by the following sets of figures.

The possible set of conclusions that can be drawn from each of the figure is:

Figure (I): Some B’s are C’s.

Some B’s are not C’s

Some C’s are B’s.

Some C’s are not B’s.

Figure (II): All C’s are B’s.

Some C’s are B’s

Some B’s are C’s.

Some B’s are not C’s.

Figure (III): Some B’s are C’s.

Some B’s are not C’s

Some C’s are B’s.

Some C’s are not B’s.

Figure (IV): All C’s are B’s.

Some C’s are B’s

Some B’s are C’s.

Some B’s are not C’s.

Figure (V): All B’s are C’s.

Some B’s are C’s

Some C’s are B’s

Some C’s are not B’s.

Figure (VI): All C’s are B’s.

Some C’s are B’s

Some B’s are C’s

Some B’s are not C’s.

Across all the possible representations; the only conclusions that hold good across all the possible set

of independent conclusions are:

Some B’s are C’s.

Some C’s are B’s.

And both of them are particular.

Auxiliary: If both the premises are Universal, the conclusion that may be possible can be

particular.

4. If one of the premises is negative, then the conclusion if any will always be negative.

Example:

√ x

All A’s are B’s.

√ √

No B’s are C’s.

The given set of premises can be represented by the following set of figures.

The possible set of conclusions that can be drawn from each of the figure is:

Figure (I): No A’s are C’s

No C’s are A’s.

Figure (II): No A’s are C’s

No C’s are A’s.

Both the set of statements hold good across both the representations and hence are valid conclusions.

Further both the conclusions are negative.

Auxiliary Rule: If both the premises are affirmative, the conclusion will always be affirmative.

Example: √ √

No A’s are B’s

√ √

No B’s are C’s

The possible set of representations for the given set of premises is:

From figure (I), the conclusion which can be established is “No A’s are C’s”, whereas from figure (IV), the

conclusion that can be drawn is “All A’s are C’s”, i.e. both the extremes are covered in the possible

conclusions, hence no conclusion is possible.

Similarly, from figure (I), the possible conclusion that can be drawn is “No C’s are A’s”, whereas from

figure (III), the possible conclusion that can be drawn is “All C’s are A’s”, hence again since we have both

the extremes no conclusion is possible.

Hence, no conclusion can be derived.

Example: x x

Some A’s are B’s

x √

Some C’s are not B’s

From figure (I), we have “No A’s are C’s” and “No C’s are A’s”, whereas from figure (IV) we have, “All

C’s are A’s” and from figure (V) we have, “All A’s are C’s”.

Since both the extremes are covered in the same set of premises no conclusion is possible.

7. The term which is not distributed in the premise cannot be distributed in the conclusion, i.e. the

term which has a x in the premise cannot have a √ in the conclusion.

Example:

√ x

All A’s are B’s

√ x

All B’s are C’s

√ x

All A’s are C’s

x x

Some A’s are C’s

x x

Some C’s are A’s.

Notice that the term “C” had a “x” in the premise; it will always have a “x” in the conclusion.

Auxiliary: The term which is distributed in the premise can remain undistributed in the conclusion.

i.e. the term which has a “√” can have a “x” in the conclusion.

Proof:

√ x

All A’s are B’s

And,

x √

Some C’s are not B’s

Figure (I): No A’s are C’s

Some A’s are not C’s

No C’s are A’s

Some C’s are not A’s

Figure (II): Some A’s are C’s

Some A’s are not C’s

Some C’s are A’s

Some C’s are not A’s

Figure (III): All A’s are C’s

Some A’s are C’s

Some C’s are A’s

Some C’s are not A’s

x √

The only conclusion that can be established is “Some C’s are not A’s.”

x √

Whereas the conclusion,” Some A’s are not C’s” will not be valid.

1. The given set of premises must contain exactly three terms and the middle term will never appear

in the conclusion.

2. The middle term must be distributed atleast once in the given set of the premises for a conclusion

to be possible.

3. If one of the premises is particular, the conclusion if any will always be particular.

4. If one of the premises is negative, the conclusion if any will always be negative.

5. If both the premises are negative, no conclusion is possible.

6. If both the premises are particular, no conclusion is possible.

7. The term which is not distributed in the premises can never be distributed in the conclusion.

Using the rules:

All A’s are B’s

Some A’s are not C’s.

Using the distribution matrix, first let us identify the terms that are to be distributed.

√ x

All A’s are B’s

x √

Some A’s are not C’s

Step.1: Are there exactly three terms in the given set of premises?

YES (Conclusion may be possible)

YES (A) (Conclusion may be possible)

YES (Conclusion has to be particular)

YES (Conclusion has to be negative)

(B has a “x” in the premise)

From above now it becomes evident that the only possible conclusion has to be particular negative.

In particular negative statement, the distribution for subject term and predicate term is as x & √

respectively.

Hence in the conclusion “B” will have a “x” and “C” will have a “√”.

Hence the possible conclusion will be:

x √

Some B’s are not C’s.

DN: cn=Pradeep Puri, c=IN, o=The

Tamers, ou=Learning Resources,

email=pradeeppuri2003@rediffmail.com

document

Date: 2008.12.07 23:18:23 +05'30'

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