Verbal reasoning: syllogism

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What are syllogisms?

Basically, with syllogism you get to see two propositions (also called premises). Then you must either determine the correct conclusion or indicate whether the given conclusion is correct. So there are two types of syllogisms:

  1. Establish conclusion.
  2. Assess conclusion.

Establish conclusion:

In this form of syllogisms you get to see two statements and a number of possible conclusions. You must determine which conclusion is the correct one. Because you see a limited number of conclusions, you can often exclude incorrect answers. This is how you find the answer.

Assess conclusion:

In this form of syllogisms you get to see two propositions and a conclusion. This conclusion must be assessed with:

  • true,
  • not true,
  • can not say.

Because the option “can not say” is included, you will really have to determine the answer correctly. You will have to take into account all types of syllogisms and the reasoning forms.

Types of propositions

Universal confirmation: all A are B.
Particular affirmative or negative: some A are (none) B.
Universal denial: no A is B.

Type A syllogism

The following syllogism is an example of category A. You must judge if the premise is true, false or if you are unable to come to a conclusion be on the basis of two premises (P1 and P2).

P1: All tables have tails.
P2: All tails are made of plastic.

Conclusion: My table has a tail made out of plastic.

Even though this conclusion differs from the reality of the situation, within the premise, the conclusion is logically unavoidable.

Syllogism type A
Syllogism type B

Type B syllogism

P1: All tables have tails.
P2: All tails are made of plastic.

C1: My dog has a plastic tail.
C2: tables are used to eat.
C3: My table has a plastic tail.
C4: There is no logical answer to be established on the basis of the statements.

The correct answer is of course conclusion 3. Conclusion one is not logically inevitable on the basis of the statements. There is nothing stated about dogs, or whether they have a tail or not. Conclusion 2 is also not to deducible from the premises.


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