Until I get this interface figured out (it’s been a while since I did this blogging thing), you will have to put up with silly stuff.  When Brett leaves, cutesy family stories will take precedence since this is the best place to disseminate family news to you all.

But for now…

Syllogisms are sequences of logical statements.  If you mix them up, and throw in a lot of conditional phrases and negatives, they become puzzles.  I came into possession of a list of these puzzles written by Lewis Carroll when I was a teenager and spent many hours with them.  Here’s an easy example.

1.  All hummingbirds are richly coloured;

2.  No large birds live on honey;

3.  Birds that do not live on honey are dull in colour.

The answer is “All hummingbirds are small”.  Not “All hummingbirds live on honey”  because honey is a link in the syllogistic chain.

Hummingbird=richly coloured

richly coloured=eats honey

eats honey=small bird

I never actually took any logic classes, so forgive the lack of professional notation.

So here’s another easy syllogism for anyone who reads this entry (I’m looking at you Brett):

1.  All ducks in this village that are branded “B”, belong to Mrs. Bond;

2.  Ducks in this village never wear lace collars unless they are branded “B”;

3.  Mrs. Bond has no gray ducks in this village.

Put your answer in the comments.

And by the way, the Mrs. Bond referred to in this syllogism is from the Old English Nursery Rhyme:

Oh what have you got for dinner Mrs Bond?

Music courtesy of the Broadside Band.  It’s important to listen to the whole song, because I never fail to get a chuckle from the “she went out to the pond in a rage, with plenty of onions and plenty of sage” .


  1. Sandy said,

    April 3, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Gray ducks never wear lace collars? I drew a diagram to illustrate:

  2. Sandy said,

    April 3, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Sorry, I suddenly couldn’t remember what a duck looked like and I’m not much of a drawing-by-hand person. Apparently Mrs. Bond doesn’t feed her ducks much.

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