Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

49

Such quips have always been popular; recall Mark Twain on the important role of the historian as storyteller, because Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all. Groucho Marx opens his first autobiography admitting that I was born at a very early age. and remarks in a letter that I don’t care to belong to ...


40

No, strictly, they do not convey the same meaning. In practice, your second sentence is often used to mean the first. I believe x does not equal y means that you actually hold a belief about the inequality of x and y. I don't believe that x equals y simply means that a belief about the equality exists, but you do not share that belief. If you substitute ...


18

"Either A or B" most precisely means, in symbolic logic terms, "A XOR B", where XOR is the "exclusive or". So yes, it means "A or B but not both". It isn't always actually used with full precision, though, so, as usual, context has to be taken into account. If somebody says, "select either A or B", for example, they definitely mean that you should not ...


18

Recall that in formal logic, your expressions are used as follows: A if B means that B implies A. A only if B means that A implies B A if and only if B means that A is equivalent to B. For example if in the morning I tell my wife "I'll buy that shirt we saw yesterday only if it costs less than 40 dollars" and she sees me wear it in the evening, she can ...


18

The actual term is Irish Bull. (Credit to Centaurus based on our discussion and choster for the related and detailed answer). In the question, it is mentioned that it may not be recognized as such by the person who utters it. An irish bull can have oxymoronic, self-contradictory or paradoxical elements in it but it is actually an absurd statement, so it ...


16

This is bordering on logic rather than language, but the answer is definitely no: Some is "an indeterminate amount", which means it can be all. If I say I have some red M&Ms in my bag, it could be that all of them are red. But then, depending on inflection, as @codelegant pointed out, I could be using emphasis on some to indicate that not all are ...


16

Languages are not formal logic systems, and words do not derive their meanings from the definitions in dictionaries. If they did, then your argument would mean something, but as it is what you have is an amusing but pointless exercise. Words derive their meanings from their shared usage in a linguistic community, and those meanings are ultimately grounded ...


16

One relevant term from logic: red herring — The idiom "red herring" is used to refer to something that misleads or distracts from the relevant or important issue. Specific forms of red herring exist and I find that appeal to motive fits nicely: appeal to motive — Appeal to motive is a pattern of argument which consists in challenging a ...


15

This is the Cooperative Principle in action: (link to comic) If you have no particular reason to think I will buy you a wallet and I say: I will buy you a new wallet if you need one. then, under the Cooperative Principle, you can safely assume that this is all you want / need to know. But if there were other conditions in which I'd buy you a wallet, ...


15

The original was actually Shakespeare: all that glisters is not gold, but that needn't concern us here. OP has simply misparsed the sentence - it actually means "Not everything that is gold glitters" (which is to say, "There are some things which are gold that don't glitter"). You can always Google "every x is not y" for more discussion of why this type of ...


14

You're correct, it is indeed contradictory. Taken purely logically, then if neither can live while the other survives, then if Harry is alive Voldemort must be dead and if Voldemort is alive Harry must be dead. Since we know both Harry and Voldemort are alive, the statement is clearly false. Since the statement is part of a piece that refers to them as ...


13

To be second to none means that nobody is ahead of you. None is nonexistent, which means that someone nonexistent is ahead of you--nothing better exists so you are the best.


13

I would say those are near-tautologies, and certainly truisms.


12

Shakespeare's line is the best known example of this general phenomenon where a universal quantifier scoping over negation gives a counterintuitive meaning. The expected meaning of: All that glisters is not gold. Would be: For each thing that glisters, it is not gold. Instead, the meaning to be understood is: Not everything that glisters is ...


11

Fairly obviously there can be multiple X's, any or all of which may be 'arguably' the best X. To qualify for that designation they only have to be capable of being argued for – they don't need to actually be the best. Equally obviously there may be some X's which are so bad they're not remotely capable of being considered for 'best', and some other X's that ...


11

No; the sentence "Is it true that 1 + 1 = 2?" is perfectly grammatically correct. In logic, there are tests that depend on being able to prefix almost arbitrary sentences with "It is the case that ..." or "It is true that ..." and if the result still makes sense, then certain properties hold (it is a declarative sentence which could be a proposition). For ...


11

A literal oxymoron - is a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements that appear to be contradictory in some cases exposing a paradox. Childlessness - not having children Hereditary - features passed on through act of childbirth


11

The or of English is not equivalent to the or of formal logic. In many cases, English or actually means the exclusive or of logic. For instance, if you say: Turn left or right at the intersection. it's exclusive, because it's not possible to do both. Or you might ask: Are you having a boy or a girl? (Although a logician having fraternal twins ...


10

Quoting the Wiktionary usage notes for center: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary observes that center around is objected to by some people on the grounds that it is illogical, but states that it is an idiom, and thus that such objections are irrelevant. It offers revolve around as an alternative to center around for those who would avoid the idiom. ...


10

You're correct: subsequently doesn't imply causation. subsequent: Following in order or succession; coming or placed after, esp. immediately after. consequent: Following as an effect or result; resulting. (Both definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary.) You might use subsequently to avoid the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.


10

You might consider this as a case of ignoratio elenchi, where an irrelevant argument is presented as an answer to the question at hand: Ignoratio elenchi, also known as irrelevant conclusion, is the informal fallacy of presenting an argument that may or may not be logically valid, but fails nonetheless to address the issue in question. [...] ...


10

One term possibly applied to such statements is a "paradox". Apparently, it comes from the greek word 'paradoxon', meaning contrary to expectations (http://literarydevices.net/paradox/). Some examples that come to mind are: You should read a book on how to treat your illiteracy. There is no worse feeling than apathy.


9

To get the logical negation of "must", switch must with a different verb. A: We must study English grammar. B: No, we need not study English grammar. or B: No, we don't need to study English grammar. or B: No, we don't have to study English grammar. or B: No, we are not required to study English grammar.


9

Axiomatic is another fine choice here. It means self-evident and beyond requiring proof. Link to dictionary definition.


7

No, therefore should not be reserved for conclusions beyond a reasonable doubt. It is merely a transition similar to thus or as such: Therefore, I ordered pepperoni. Thus, I ordered pepperoni. As such, I ordered pepperoni. The extended conversation could have been: I like meat on my pizza. Therefore, I ordered pepperoni. You can test ...


7

Yes. If I offered you some peanut M & M's, I would feel that you misunderstood me if you took them all. :)


7

The biggest problem in finding a technical fallacy is that "absurd", in this context, isn't detailed enough. Why is it absurd? The idea that any absurd thing could be believed if it was simply absurd enough is not really true. The idea of arguing something as true because no one would make it up is close to these fallacies: appeal to authority — ...


7

"Consequently" contains information about causality and "subsequently" does not, but that doesn't mean "subsequently" is improper. Did B (humanity lost its resistance to the common cold) happen after A (the common cold died out)? Yes? Then of course B happened subsequently to A. While "consequently" means that A caused B, the presence of "subsequently" ...


7

It means not everything that is gold glitters. Tolkien undoubtedly was borrowing from Shakespeare here, specifically the poem that one of Portia's suitors discovers when he reads the scroll associated with the golden chest that he has (to his loss) chosen: “All that glisters is not gold— Often have you heard that told. Many a man his life hath sold ...


7

You are correct; Karan of the superuser question you referenced made a grammatical error. It should have been as you phrased it: Not everything in DOS is plain-text That being said, your understanding in the two examples you posted is slightly off. It should be Every human is not a man. There is no human being who is a man. Not every human is ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible