Logic fails


It’s very easy for a syllogism to be invalid. There are two kinds of ways a syllogism can go bad.

First, the common sense is wrong.

Like the penguin above. If you’re the type that feels like you’re logical already, you probably already have this one down. The syllogism meaning is absurd.

But what if the common sense of the syllogism seems to be okay? The second way a syllogism can go bad is if the construction is wrong.

Let’s say maybe two karate guys are fighting in a tournament, and hard face blows are illegal. If one guy kicks the other guy in the face as hard as he can, it doesn’t matter what happens after that. Even if he continues through the motions of beating his opponent, he’s already lost, because he KICKED THE OTHER GUY IN THE FACE AND SHOULD BE DISQUALIFIED.

Lookin at you, karate kid. 😒

The key takeaway is that even if the common sense seems okay, the logic can still be disqualified. Just like Ralph Macchio should have been disqualified with that crane kick to the face.

There are six rules for how to tell if the construction of a syllogism is wrong.

1) Every syllogism must have exactly three categorical terms.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Shucks, that’s easy!”


3 muppets? Nope. 4 muppets.

There’s more than one way to take this rule. The tricky thing about language is that sometimes the same word can have multiple definitions. Take a look at this syllogism.

  • Dustin has that car.
  • That car has bad gas.
  • Therefore, Dustin has bad gas.

This syllogism seems to have three terms. Dustin, car, and gas. But we pulled the finger on one of those words, didn’t we?


Just get it all out, you’ll feel better baby.

2) Every syllogism must distribute the middle term in at least one of the premises.

There’s gotta be a genuine connection between the major and minor term. It’s like a parent holding their kid’s hand. If they don’t hold on, then the kid is liable to get separated and cause mayhem. Just look at this debacle of a syllogism.

  • Kids are trouble.
  • Parents are trouble.
  • Therefore, all parents are kids.

While it could be argued that at least some parents are just big kids, that has nothing to do with our syllogism here. Someone must be the adult in the room and make sure the middle term always gets distributed.

3) In every syllogism, if a term is distributed in the conclusion, it must be distributed in the premises.

This one happens all the time. Somebody does a bad thing. Somebody else points at that person who did the bad thing. “All people like that person are bad!”

Um. No.

Real talk here y’all. This logic fail is where all kinds of evils like racism try to make a run for it.

  • All bunnies are good workers.
  • Most sloths are not bunnies.
  • Therefore, most sloths are not good workers.


Yeah I know better than to use people group names. Instead you’re getting Zootopia racism here folks, this is a FAMILY FRIENDLY SERVER

4) Every syllogism’s conclusion must be negative if either the major premise or the minor premise is negative.

You have two apples. One clean, one dirty. Put them together. Now ya got 2 dirty apples! This syllogism below tried to wash it with spit but it just ain’t gonna get the dirt off.

  • All apples are fruit.
  • Some kids are not apples.
  • Therefore, some kids are fruit.

Some kids might be fruity, but no kids are fruit.


Damn it feels good to be a gangsta. Oh wait, this is a family friendly server. Right. Dangest thou it feeleth of merriment to be of an illicit nature!

5) No syllogism can have both a negative major premise and a negative minor premise.

In logical syllogisms, a combo of both a negative major premise and minor premise means the conclusion can’t be drawn. The premises haven’t really argued anything of substance.

  • No burgers are fruit.
  • Some apples are not burgers.
  • Therefore, some apples are not fruit.

Never use no double negatives in your syllogisms.

6) No syllogism can have a major premise and a minor premise that are both universal.

Dude, I’m gonna blow your mind with this one. If you say all of a thing says something new about all of something else, the conclusion tries but fails to add MORE on top of what was already ALL. Dude. There’s just NO MORE room for MORE. ALL is ALL, my dude.

  • All mammals are animals.
  • All dogs are mammals.
  • Therefore, some dogs are animals.

All those words, and yet the conclusion adds nothing, my friend. It was all there the whole time!


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