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# Syllogisms in Ordinary Language:

## Syllogistic Arguments and Reduction of the

Number of Terms to Three (3)

## Marijuana is not a barbiturate.

Marijuana is not a drug.
5. All men are mortal.

I. INTRODUCTION
To "translate" ordinary-language arguments
into the forms studied by categorical logic
and vice-versa, we may need only to rearrange the propositions of the argument in
order to translate it into a standard-form
categorical syllogism.
Example:
From
"Some birds are geese, so some birds
are not felines, since no geese are
felines"
To
No geese are felines.
Some birds are geese.
Therefore, some birds are not felines.
However, few methods are presented to
serve as guides.
II. SYLLOGISTIC ARGUMENTS
An argument where the conclusion of which
is supported by two premises.
A typical form is "All A is C; all B is A;
therefore all B is C.
Any argument that is either a standardform categorical syllogism or can be
reformulated
as
standard
form
categorical syllogism
Examples:

Socrates is a man.
Socrates is mortal.

## We might not agree that the premises are

true, but if we accept these premises, the
conclusion does logically follow.
III. REDUCING THE NUMBER OF TERMS
TO THREE
The process of reformulating a syllogistic
argument as a standard-form categorical
syllogism is called translation or reduction
of the number of terms to three.
While two different tests were presented to
distinguish valid from invalid categorical
syllogisms in the previous chapter such tests
as there are applicable on in categorical
syllogisms that are in standard form.
An ordinary argument may deal with more
than three terms, but it may still be possible
to restate it as a categorical syllogism thus
we reduce the terms through the following
methods:
1. Eliminating synonyms.
No wealthy persons are vagrants.

over time.

Therefore

no

attorneys

are

tramps.

translates into

## No Greeks are evil.

3. All humans are selfish.
Confucius is a human.
Confucius is selfish.
4. All barbiturates are drugs.

## No wealthy persons are vagrants.

All lawyers are wealthy persons.
Therefore
vagrants.

no

lawyers

are

suffice.

animals.
No

the

contrapositive

of

the

second

premise yields:
lizards

are

warm-blooded

animals.

Therefore

all

lizards

are

nonmammals.

Which

syllogism.

standard-form

categorical

syllogism.

is

standard-form

categorical

To

## reduce the number of its terms to three,

which is easily accomplished by simply
obverting conclusion.
All

mammals

IV.
are

warm-blooded

animals.

INTRODUCTION

CATEGORICAL

TO

TRANSLATING

PROPOSITIONS

INTO

STANDARD FORM

propositions

may

be

expressed.

Many

Syllogistic

arguments

containing

four

interchanged.

## Obversion changes the quality (that is the affirmativity

or negativity) of the statement and the predicate
term; and

## Contraposition, that a conditional statement is logically

equivalent to its contrapositive. The contrapositive of the
statement has its antecedent and consequent.

Example:

nonstandard-form
The

four

propositions
kinds

of

will

categorical

## proposition have been given names for

convenience:

A: Universal Affirmative
E: Universal Negative

## No non-residents are citizens.

All noncitizens are non-voters.

be

I:

Particular Affirmative

O: Particular Negative