Syllogism is a rhetorical device that begins an argument with a reference to something general and from there draws a conclusion about something more specific.
Let us try to understand the concept through an example. We start with a general argument, “All men are mortal. “We know John is a man, so John is mortal. It is a deductive approach to reason and is based on the derivation of specific conclusions from general facts.
We note in the example above that syllogism is a three-part series of propositions:
a main proposition or premise
a secondary proposition or premise
a conclusion which is derived "
a All men are mortal ”a key statement or premise that is considered a general fact. "John is a man" is a subsidiary statement or premise that is specific, and "John is mortal" is the logical conclusion drawn from the previous two statements.
Syllogism and Enthymem
Syllogism takes the form of enthymeme when compressed are canines. Tommy is a dog. That is why Tommy is a dog ”can be condensed into an enthymeme as“ Tommy is a dog because it is a dog ”. The main premise remains implied or hidden.
Syllogism can also be used to draw false conclusions that are strange. For example: “All the crows are black and the bird in my cage is black. So the bird in my cage is a crow. ”This is a wrong argument as it implies the conclusion that“ all blackbirds are crows, ”which is wrong. It is known as the "syllogism fallacy". Another example of the fallacy of the syllogism is: “Some televisions are black and white, and all penguins are black and white. Hence, some televisions are penguins. You can easily see that the inference is practically impossible and indeed has a strange outcome.
Examples of Syllogism in Literature
There are numerous examples of syllogism or novels in English literature. Let's analyze some briefly:
Example # 1: Timon of Athens (by William Shakespeare)
William Shakespeare uses this rhetorical device in his play Timon of Athens, Act 4, Scene 3:
Flavius: "Have you forgotten me, sir?"
Timon : “Why do you ask that? forgot all people;
Then, if you give yourself a husband, I'll have forgotten you. “
Timon uses a funny syllogism to tell Flavius that he must have forgotten him like he forgot all other men. It can be expanded to include a tripartite argument such as, “I usually forget how I forgot everyone. That's why I forgot you. ”
Example 2: For his Coy Mistress (by Andrew Marvell)
Poetry is known for his passion and not reason, but we find syllogistic argument in Andrew M. arvell's poem to his Coy Mistress. The poet says to his shy lover:
“We only had enough world and time. This reluctance, lady, was not a crime. “
It implies a common truth that life is short and man is mortal. They do not have enough time to love, and cannot waste it showing restraint.
Likewise, he and his darling can part forever before their union in this world is established. Therefore he says:
“But on my back I always hear
Times winged chariot approaching;”
and speaks to his beloved with the conclusion that they should use the time they have:
“Your beauty will no longer be found become…
Now let's do sports while we can ”,
Example 3: Elegy 2 The Anagram (by John Donne)
Compressed syllogism is found in the famous metaphysical poet John Donne's Elegy 2 The anagram:
“ All love is miracle; If we rightly make them wonderful, why not beautiful too? “
If we expand the above syllogism, it will have the following organization of statements: Everything that is lovable is wonderful, and the beloved is wonderful. That is why the beloved is lovable.
Function of Syllogism
In logic, the syllogism aims to identify the general truths in a given situation. It is a tool in the hands of a speaker or writer to convince the audience or readers, since their belief in a general truth can lead them to believe a specific conclusion from those truths. In literature, syllogism can help add humor to statements. Furthermore, the fallacy of the syllogism can give us the opportunity to indulge in meaningless conclusions.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw