Questions pertaining to logical constructs

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41
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10answers
5k views

“Childlessness is hereditary in our family” What do you call a statement containing a contradiction such as the example?

This kind of sentence is usually absurd and may or may not be recognized as such by the person who utters it. She will regret it till the day she dies, if she lives that long! "Aren't you going to ...
21
votes
10answers
5k views

Is “I believe x does not equal y” the same as “I don't believe x equals y”

Given x and y could be any phrase, do these phrases always mean the same thing? If not, what's the difference? I believe x does not equal y I don't believe x equals y
19
votes
7answers
14k views

“All that is gold does not glitter”

"All that is gold does not glitter" is the first line of a poem from the Lord of the Rings and it's supposed to mean "not all gold glitters" but I'm struggling to see how this can be deduced. If all ...
16
votes
7answers
13k views

Does “either A or B ” preclude “both A and B”?

In mathematics, "A or B" includes "A and B". Does "either" mean "A or B but not (A and B)" or does it include the possibility of "A and B"? The context might be mathematics, formal logic or ordinary ...
13
votes
2answers
244 views

Where did the practice of using quotation marks to discredit an opponent (“scare-quotes”) come from?

This is a practice extremely prevalent on conspiracy theory blogs and social media (a.k.a., conspiracy theory blogs), but where did the concept of discrediting opponents with quotation marks come ...
11
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7answers
4k views

Does 'some' necessarily imply 'not all'?

If some X's are Y's, does that imply that some X's are not Y's?
10
votes
8answers
6k views

Word/phrase/idiom to describe avoiding answering a question by stating the question doesn't need to be asked

I run into this situation often in the office. I have a specific question to ask somebody and have chosen the person to ask it, but that person doesn't know the answer. Instead of answering the ...
10
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5answers
17k views

“If” vs “Only if” vs “If and only if”

If I said: Yell only if I fall. Would the person have to yell once I fell? Sources of confusion Wikipedia This guy
10
votes
4answers
273 views

Does the word “and” always mean a logical (boolean) operation?

For a simple phrase like "macaroni and cheese" it's clear you want both macaroni and cheese, not one or the other. But as more and more words are added, I've noticed a tendency to begin to read "and" ...
9
votes
7answers
1k views

Word or term for an argument that is inherently true

What do you call an argument/position that is impossible to counter because it depends on undefined adjectives/adverbs? Examples: Good websites are the ones that are effectively designed. ...
9
votes
8answers
20k views

“Neither can live while the other survives”— does it make logical sense?

At the end of the fifth book of Harry Potter, "The Order of Phoenix", there is a prophecy concerning Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort: The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord ( Lord ...
8
votes
5answers
74k views

“Centered on” or “centered around”

I have often heard presenters talking about something centered around another thing, but it seems a bit illogical and hence improper to talk like this. Am I right about this?
7
votes
5answers
594 views

Does this logical fallacy have a name?

A phrase being used by the "news" media regarding the recent arrest of people in Columbus, NM is "firearms favored by the Mexican cartels", referring to their purchase of AK47s and other ...
7
votes
1answer
5k views

Difference between “subsequently” and “consequently”?

When studying and reading course material in "softer" sciences that are descriptive the word "subsequently" appears in a way like "and subsequently" ...what does it mean, disctinct from "consequently" ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Can I say “We don't must”, any alternative using a modal verb if I can't?

Let me explain. Suppose someone says "We must play a game now". I disagree, but only on that we have to do it. I shouldn't answer "We must not" because I would be saying that the game is not to be ...
6
votes
4answers
376 views

Adjective to describe “just because… doesn't necessarily mean…”

This is one of those phrases used very commonly (and apparently subject to lots of scrutiny on this website), but is difficult to define and also far too long to submit to a reverse dictionary. Let's ...
6
votes
6answers
898 views

The word 'not' often doesn't mean total negation in mathematical sense?

Consider the following conversations: X1: I paid $10 for that hamburger. Y1: That's not cheap! X2: I pay $1 for broadband Internet access. Y2: That's cheap! X3: I paid $1 for a hot ...
6
votes
3answers
427 views

Difference between “not every” and “every … is not”

I've always understood that you can order the words not and every (or similar words) in the following two ways to convey distinct logical meanings. Every human is not a man. There is no human being ...
6
votes
1answer
215 views

Historical frequency of expression “and/or”: Corpus search

What is the historical frequency of the expression “and/or”? I have a feeling that I almost never see it in older texts, but that it is has become exponentially common in the past five or ten years. ...
6
votes
2answers
659 views

Would the rejection of an argument because of a grammatical error be a type of logical fallacy?

Many people may have experienced situations (often online) where someone dismisses another's argument not on the merits of the argument, but because of a grammatical (or, more generally, mechanical) ...
5
votes
2answers
536 views

Is it correct to use “or” in place of “and/or”?

Consider the following sentence: A project is a large and/or complex undertaking. To me, the expression “and/or” seems redundant since in formal logic “or” implies ...
5
votes
2answers
642 views

“There is no doubt this is arguably wrong”

This is from a review of something: There is no doubt that the (product name) is arguably the best consumer (product category name) currently on the market. I stopped for a while after reading ...
5
votes
6answers
875 views

Is there a common English phrase for the 'so absurd it must be true' logical fallacy?

There are various common (often Latin) phrases for various logic fallacies, such as post hoc ergo propter hoc, argumentum ad populum, slippery slope fallacy, etc. Is there a common phrase used to ...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

The size of my confusion is “second to none”

Why "second to none" is being considered as "the best" instead of "the worst" (almost non existent)? To my understanding - "none" is "nonexistent", while "second to none" should be... well... almost ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

'Therefore' in an illogical logic sense

I have a co-worker that is always saying "Therefore, A B C" when the "A B C" isn't a conclusion from any sort of deductive reasoning. For example, Me: ... thus, that's how it works. Her: I ...
4
votes
2answers
329 views

Is it true that

Is the following sentence grammatically incorrect? Is it true that 1+1=2 ? I know it is easier to say: Is 1+1=2 true?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Does the plural include the singular?

Does the plural include the singular? And if so, in what sort of cases? This question has arisen because of the example sentence below. Amendment shall be permitted only in cases of: 1. deletion ...
4
votes
2answers
387 views

Is there a term for it when you use an obviously false statement to highlight the falsity or absurdity of another?

For example, person A states something. Person B says "And pigs fly" to imply person A was wrong. If there's no term for it, what could you call that that sounds smart?
4
votes
4answers
854 views

What's the logical fallacy where people dismiss what you say as irrelevant to the real-world?

Quite often I see derision about ideas by people who label them as 'too academic'. Often this appears to result from laziness or an unwillingness to stretch their thinking. What's the logical ...
4
votes
2answers
697 views

What's the difference between “Not Completely True” and “Completely Not True”?

From what I understand, in second order propositional logic, ∀¬x and ¬∀x are equivalent statements. Apparently these are not equal. ¬∀x ≡ ∃¬x However, rendered into the English language, consider ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Cut the lights on

This expression is commonly used in the southern United States from Oklahoma to Virginia, and is patently illogical, and yet fails to inspire any consternation or lack of semantic connection. On a ...
4
votes
2answers
429 views

Hypernym for “conjunction” and “disjunction”

Is there a hypernym for conjunction and disjunction, in their logical senses? Just using "junction" doesn't seem right to me.
4
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2answers
255 views

At least two or more: Not always redundant?

At least two or more Is the “or more” bit above ever not redundant? Seems absolutely redundant to me, but it gets about 170 million Google hits, and many from government sites and university ...
3
votes
4answers
280 views

Overuse of “however” in my scientific writing? [closed]

In scientific writing, I always feel the need to logically connect all my sentences to have a clear logical path between beginning and end of a paragraph, else it is just feels like a list of random ...
3
votes
4answers
191 views

What is the name of the “agency” fallacy?

I'm looking for the name of the logical fallacy where intent or agency is assumed when in fact there is none. It's a common fallacy in my experience, but I can't seem to find it described ...
3
votes
4answers
863 views

A word for when two statements are both true or both false

Is there a word which basically means that there are two statements that are both true, or both false, but not one true and one false? In computing, we call this a bitwise and. 3 * 3 = 9 4 * 4 = 16 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Usage of “if and only if” as a nontechnical term

The phrase "if and only if" (iff) is commonly used in the field of mathematics (⇔) and computer programming, as a conditional expression in classical (Boolean) logic. Within that scope, it might not ...
3
votes
4answers
152 views

How to succinctly and clearly connote the reverse of a statement

Here's a published example of a problem I come across frequently: A cop is six times more likely to be shot by someone black than the opposite. Let us assume that the writer meant to say: ...
2
votes
2answers
487 views

Unambiguous Way of Stating a Biconditional in Plain English

I am having a hard time understanding this section in Wikipedia's article on Logical biconditionals: Colloquial usage One unambiguous way of stating a biconditional in plain English is of the ...
2
votes
3answers
319 views

Is English particularly well suited for so-called “natural language programming”?

Programming languages like sEnglish, Inform7, WolframAlpha, and even AppleScript purport to use the "natural language programming" (NLP) paradigm. Even SQL is a kind of NLP, if you think about it. ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “an A/B metaphor” mean?

I wonder what "an A/B metaphor" means, for example, in the following quote from Wikipedia about formal language: "In some applications, especially in logic, the alphabet is also known as the ...
2
votes
3answers
142 views

GRE Sentence Completion Question

Select the two answer choices that, when used to complete the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed sentences that are alike in meaning. As my eyesight began ...
2
votes
4answers
382 views

What is the verb form of “conjunction” in the logical sense?

In logic and computer programming, a conjunction of two logical statements is said to be true if and only if both statements are themselves true. For instance: "The sky is blue" and "the grass is ...
2
votes
4answers
365 views

Justifying one wrong thing by comparing it its opposite which is also wrong

Is there a word or name for the phenomenon or syndrome in which people try to defend one wrong thing by comparing it something that is total opposite of it but also wrong? For example: Drone ...
2
votes
2answers
247 views

And/or in total negation: “Some people are not able to interpret and/or analyze”

In the following sentence, the “and/or” seems odd in a case of total negation: Evidently some people are not able to interpret and/or analyze at that deeper level. Because the sentence says “are not ...
2
votes
2answers
208 views

Ambiguity in Negation: “John did not come because of the rain”

John did not come because of the rain. This sentence seems to allow the following two completely different interpretations. John did not come. And the reason was the rain. John came. But the ...
2
votes
3answers
210 views

Name for logical fallacy of “implied guilt”?

For example; "No puppies were harmed in the making of this soda", implying that puppies are generally harmed in the production of soda, and thus casting the competition in a bad light. Is there a ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

What is the word for an arbitrary simple example, typically used with proofs?

Typical usage is with math, or philosophy, proofs. Also typically the simple example disproves the theory, but is of a arbitrarily contrived nature and not something that would naturally arise. Is ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

Why can I not use “beg the question” to mean “raise the question” grammatically?

The formal definition of "beg the question" is a logical fallacy in which the initial assumption of a statement is treated as fact without offering any logic as to why the statement is true in the ...
1
vote
3answers
575 views

How do definitions of words imbue meaning? [closed]

How do definitions of words imbue meaning? To give you a gist of what I try to discover, I'll define a collection of sets of words and show that their intersection contains all 'circular defined' ...