Thursday, July 24, 2008

My own small syllogist

I was just reading something on Aristotle this morning over coffee and it dredged up all of these repressed memories of my mandatory philosophy courses during undergrad at St. A's. Among many other things, Aristotle came up with the idea of syllogisms, or logical arguments. I never took Formal Logic in school (yes, it was an actual course) but we did have to do a lot of proofs in other classes (I remain, to this day, the only Biology major who took every class Professor O'Rourke ever taught in Philosophy. This was less because I loved philosophy and more because I loved O'Rourke, but that's a story for another day.) At any rate... the most famous syllogism is simply: Men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal. You get the idea...

Well, yesterday, we're driving home from the movie theater and Colin says: "You know that song about the alphabet, Mama?" (They Might Be Giants have a number of great kids' CDs and Here Come the ABCs is one of our favorites. One of the songs is about what all the letters eat. For instance, my favorite line (for obvious reasons): "F is far too fussy and only eats with fancy wine; G eats only gourmet but never can decide")

At any rate, there are also the lyrics "E eats everything" and then we find out in a surprise ending: "But Z eats Es!!"

Colin must have been mulling this over for ages because we've haven't listened to that CD in at least a month. He suddenly spouts out: "Mama, if E eats EVERYTHING, then E must eat the Z before Z can eat it. So the Z CAN'T eat Es!!!"

Sometimes, he scares us. They Might Be Giants recently came out with Here Come the 123s but I'm thinking I'll hold off on that until I can educate myself in higher math...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the numbers song has some eating in it as well - it's quite a good video too but I spotted an inconsistency!