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Logic & Scientific Philosophy

The Fallacy and Syllogism of Bryants – Kelly

Someone named Bryant is in Africa.

I am Kelly Bryant.

Therefore, I am in Africa.

While the first two premises are true, this argument is clearly false.

(A) being Bryant, my surname, (B) being Africa, and (C) being myself, (A) is in (B), and (C) is a (A), so (C) must be in (B).

Unfortunately, there is another Bryant, my sister Stacey, who is currently spending her weeks working in Uganda, and her weekends white water rafting the Nile.  I, the other Bryant, am stuck in high school in Coquitlam, making this valid, but faulty logic.

Stacey Bryant (not me) hanging out by the Nile.

Using disjunctive syllogism, however, you could say:

Either Kelly Bryant or Stacey Bryant is in Africa.

Kelly Bryant is in Port Coquitlam.

Therefore, Stacey Bryant is in Africa.

The above argument is both sound and valid, as I just got off the phone with my lucky sister, who called from her hut in Mbarara, while I lay in bed in Port Coquitlam.

Kelly Bryant (me) in bed in Port Coquitlam


2 thoughts on “The Fallacy and Syllogism of Bryants – Kelly

  1. Arguments (not statements) are ‘valid’ or ‘invalid’. Statements are ‘true’ or ‘false’.

    The argument form you present is invalid. It has the form:

    Some B is A
    m is a B
    Thus, m is A

    It is shown to be invalid, as you suggest, by showing that even if the premises are true, the conclusion can be false: some B is A (true by virtue of your sister), m is a B (true because you are a Bryant), but not ‘m is A’ (you are in Coquitlam).

    Posted by Stephen Downes | October 3, 2012, 11:24 am
    • Thank you for the clarification. I appreciate that. I realize that I misunderstood the terminology of ‘premise’, ‘argument’, and ‘statement’, and was not even intending to use the word ‘statement’ as a technical term in my explanation. I also see how I mixed up some of the orders of the form of my argument. So basically, I destroyed the entire thing. But I thank you, because now I have somewhere to go from. I will update this post with, hopefully, more accurate logic. Please tell me if it is still incorrectly constructed.
      Kelly Bryant.

      Posted by kellyannebryant | October 4, 2012, 6:22 am

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