The Devil's Dictionary: Logic

Updated May 14, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
by Ambrose Bierce



The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. The basic of logic is the syllogism, consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion - thus:

  • Major Premise>: Sixty men can do a piece of work sixty times as quickly as one man.
  • Minor Premise: One man can dig a posthole in sixty seconds;

therefore -

  • Conclusion: Sixty men can dig a posthole in one second.

This may be called the syllogism arithmetical, in which, by combining logic and mathematics, we obtain a double certainty and are twice blessed.

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