//
you're reading...
Logic & Scientific Philosophy

Zoe: Batman is On the Internet

Recently, a man named Stephen Downes has been leaving comments on this classes blog. After some thinking, I made a discovery.

All men who patrol their territory under his own power and initiative, strike fear into the heart of wrong doers in the dead of night, and does these things with only the tools and skills they has acquired through training themselves to extremely high levels are Batman.

Stephen Downes patrols his patrols his territory under his own power and initiative, strikes fear into the heart of wrong doers in the dead of night, and does these things with only the tools and skills he has acquired through training himself to extremely high levels.

Therefore, Stephen Downes is Batman.

As a basic syllogism, this is valid. It follows the pattern of

All A is B

C is an A

Therefore, C is B.
Whether or not the syllogism is true, however, relies on the validity of the two premises. First: All men who patrol their territory under his own power and initiative, strike fear into the heart of wrong doers in the dead of night, and does these things with only the tools and skills they has acquired through training themselves to extremely high levels are Batman. 

To show this premise as true, we have to prove two things: That this list of qualities is found in Batman, and that this precise list of qualities is not found in any other men.

The first argument, that the men must patrol their territory, rules out many men from the very beginning. As defined by Webster, the definition of patrol is “the action of traversing a district or beat or of going the rounds along a chain of guards for observation or the maintenance of security.”

While this does not necessarily mean that the patrol is lawful (as in the case of gang violence, perhaps), it does mean that someone who just happens to pass by a mugging in the street and steps in to help is exempt. To patrol, you must be traveling a certain area with the specific purpose of searching out any sort non-desirable behavior and either reporting it or stopping it.

If we look at the group of people who patrol, then, we can further rule out anyone who is part of an organization with the phrase “under their own power and initiative”. For example, police are exempt because they do not ultimately choose the area they patrol, or how much they patrol, or the procedures of the patrol. They may have some say of it, and the choose to become a police officer may relate to it, but in the end the final decision does not rest in their own hands. This also rules out organizations such as the military, gangs, and private security firms. We are left with only people who patrol completely of their own initiative. In other words, vigilantes, a “self-appointed doer of justice”.

We can now move on to the next part of the argument, where these so-called vigilantes “Strike fear into the hearts of wrong doers, but never kill”. Again, here we cut out any patrollers who attempt to stop behavior through ‘good’ acts, such as reporting them to authorities, or any patrollers who attempt to fight what they perceive as undesirable behavior with the death penalty. Fear, while seen as a very negative emotion, is not nearly so bad as death.

So now we have a man who consistently goes out at night to fight perceived injustice, and deals with these cases in a negative way for what he perceives to be the greater good (some sort of good, anyways, that provides him with the initiative to do it).

The last part of the argument is the clincher, wherein the man must not use any sort of superpowers or inborn advantage, but the tools and the conviction that he has  acquired trained himself in to an extremely high level. This rules out any sort of superheroes such as the Green Lantern or Superman, but it also rules out anyone who happens to patrol the streets at night out of the mere goodness of his heart, and does not have the skills to back it up. Average Joe who decides to make the streets better by striking fear into people’s hearts cannot be Batman; He does not have the skills or resources at the level that being Batman requires.

So no other man could or does do these things, but we still must prove that Batman does. That, happily, is quite simple. Anyone with a knowledge of Batman can tell you that he consistently travels the streets of Gotham seeking out injustice, which he combats in an entirely non-fatal but very terrifying way. Finally, he uses only the skills he has acquired through intense training, to world class levels.

The only man who patrols his territory under his own power and initiative, who strikes fear into the heart of wrong doers in the dead of night, and does these things with only the tools and skills he has acquired through training himself to extremely high levels, is Batman. Thus, the first premise is true.

Then, we have the second premise: Stephen Downes patrols his patrols his territory under his own power and initiative, strikes fear into the heart of wrong doers in the dead of night, and does these things with only the tools and skills he has acquired through training himself to extremely high levels.

With my limited knowledge of Stephen Downes, I suspect these all to be true. His territory is the internet, which he prowls with the knowledge that if he sees non-desirable behavior, he will put an end to it. We can see this from the recent slew of comments this blog has received from him, in which he combats the non-desirable behavior of faulty logic. As he is not part of any organization, nor is this blog any sort of immediate or non immediate threat, he is under his own initiative to do this. Through reactions from other students, I am able to see that he inspires a certain amount of fear, but there has been nothing fatal. A time stamp from one of his comments will show that he commented in what would be the dead of night in this time zone. And finally, Downes does not use superpowers, he uses the advanced knowledge and skills in philosophy and logic that he has trained to obtain. The second premise seems to be true.

There is only one conclusion.

Stephen Downes is Batman.

(Photo on left from here, photo on right from here)

Advertisements

Discussion

12 thoughts on “Zoe: Batman is On the Internet

  1. Clap, Clap, Clap, this is brilliant.

    Posted by riczhang | October 4, 2012, 1:27 am
  2. Brilliant. And he totally lacks a Robin.

    Posted by CogDog | October 4, 2012, 1:45 am
    • Thank you! What would an Internet Robin do, I wonder? Add more cheerful follow up posts to Internet Batman’s terrifying ones? Internet acrobatics (what would those even be)? It would all be rather excellent, I think. 😀

      Posted by zoeisbatman | October 4, 2012, 4:10 am
  3. This is brilliance!

    Also, didn’t he strike fear into your heart before you were a wrong-doer? If so, you just lost your Batman definition.

    Either way, I quite enjoyed your decomposition of all of the parts of that statement.

    -Jonathan Toews

    Posted by JonathanToews | October 4, 2012, 3:03 am
    • He definitely struck fear into my heart before I was technically a wrong-doer, but I’ll argue that Batman strikes fear into the heart of all criminals, not only the ones he knows about.
      Batman’s pretty cool like that.
      And also: Aww, shucks. Thanks.

      Posted by zoeisbatman | October 4, 2012, 4:04 am
  4. Zoe, you are brilliant. I am so impressed that you not only made a syllogism of Stephen Downes, but did it so well and thoroughly. I’d like to see his response to this.

    Posted by kellyannebryant | October 4, 2012, 6:15 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Hal Jordan Hates Lemonade « Philosophy 12 - October 5, 2012

  2. Pingback: Looking back on Philosophy 12 | Philosophy 12 - February 22, 2013

  3. Pingback: Stephen Downes reveals his Batman origins | Philosophy 12 - March 6, 2013

  4. Pingback: TALONS Panel: Open High School Learning | Adventures in a Gifted Classroom - March 8, 2013

  5. Pingback: Open Online Invite to #Philosophy12 | Philosophy 12 - September 4, 2013

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: