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Logic & Scientific Philosophy

The Late Mother – Julie

To get something out of the way, my mother is alive and well, however, always late. Today was no exception. As I exited the doors of my secondary school, with my unnamed pal with an untouchable lemon pound cake. We waited for my mother to pick me up. And then… we waited some more. FINALLY, we waited some more.

During this waiting period, my unnamed pal, that shall be further referred to as Mick Jagger, and I had a conversation where I was able to share my unwanted knowledge of syllogistic logic.

Me: Where is my mother?
Mick Jagger: Same question.

When Mick said “same question,” was he referring his mother or my mother? The questions are the same: where is my mother? However, the propositions, the underlying meanings were different. When I asked “where is my mother”, I was asking where Sue was. (Sue is my mother.) When Mick asked “where is my mother”, Mick was asking where Eva was. (Eva is Mick’s mother.) Mick proceeded to complain about my need to share necessary rules of logic which I manipulate to proved my comedic abilities.

SPEAKING OF DOUBLE MEANINGS… on to the argument.

Mother is late
Zombies are late
Therefore mother is a zombie

If we look at the word “late,” it has two different meanings. Late could refer to punctuality or live presence. If I substitute late for descriptive terms that offer the same proposition…

Mother is never on time
Zombies are dead
Therefore mother is a zombie

It doesn’t quite work. However, the original argument, as is proves both validity and soundness, but is actually false. Does each descriptive term require its own descriptive term as well as proposition? Does a descriptive term imply the singular proposition?

Would the form be…

A is B
C is B
Therefore A is C?


A is X
C is Y
Therefore A is C?

The first form is definitely valid. This can be proven through the use of counterexamples…

Miley Cyrus is a popstar
Hannah Montana is a popstar
Therefore Miley Cyrus is Hannah Montana

I’m beginning to notice lately the use of connotations and multiple meanings to justify arguments in media and general conversation. Media and socialization is definitely a war of words. But does that justify their soundness or validity if they win due to their word-smithing?



One thought on “The Late Mother – Julie

  1. Awesome work on your post, Julie! I love how you never do anything to just the minimum required, but always go all out. I’d just like to highlight the form of your deconstruction of your Late mother = Zombie argument. You say (when talking about the late mother) :

    A is B
    C is B
    Therefore A is C

    This is not very clear, and could be interpreted as either:

    A = B (or “all A are B”)
    C = B (or “all C are B”)
    / A =C (or “all A are C”)


    Some B are A
    Some B are C
    / Some A are C
    (Or something along those lines)


    Anyway, phrasing your argument properly has a lot to do with its validity, so that’s just something to keep an eye on. For some more assistance on rephrasing your arguments, I suggest checking out Mr. J’s comment on Lazar’s Sheldon post (talonsphilosophy.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/sheldons-logic-lazar/), since he explains it much better than I can. Fantastic work on this post, it was entertaining and interesting to read. I look forward to more of your posts!

    Posted by evandervelden | September 30, 2013, 7:32 am

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