Return to Philosophy Web Homepagephilosophy.lander.edu       Title: Introduction to Logic

Homepage > Logic > Categorical Syllogisms > Syllogistic Fallacies  > Exclusive Premisses     

   
 

Logic Homepage

 

Quizzes
Tests
FAQ
Links
Search
Readings
Archives
Syllabus

 

 

       FALLACY NAVIGATOR        

Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic
Syllogistic Fallacies: Exclusive Premisses

Abstract:  The Fallacy of Two Negative Premisses or Exclusive Premisses is illustrated and explained.

I. We continue our study of fallacies with a fifth fallacy. Consider the following argument.
"No internal combustion engines are nonpolluting power plants, and no nonpolluting power plants are safe devices. Therefore, no internal combustion engines are safe devices."
A. First, let's put the argument in standard form:
M P
No [nonpolluting power plants] are [safe devices].
S M
No [internal combustion engines] are [nonpolluting power plants].
S P
No [internal combustion engines] are [safe devices].
1. The Venn diagram shows this argument to be invalid because the top part of the area of the diagram where “internal combustion engines” and “safe devices” overlap is empty of markings. This indicates no information is available about the relation of those two classes. Diagram of EEE-1 syllogism
2. Note also that both premisses are negative. As most people are intuitively aware, knowledge about what a thing is not, does not carry much information about what that thing is. For example, if I say I am thinking of something that is not a tree, you would not know very much about what I am thinking.[1]
3. By referring to the mnemonic of the mechanism of the syllogism sketched here, we can surmise that the basis of the syllogism is captured by noting that two things relatable to the same thing should be somehow relatable (positively or negatively) to each other, if at least one of them is. Diagram of the Mechanism of a Syllogism
4. However, when both premisses are negative, our mnemonic shows the classes are not related in some way to each other, and this information is of no use to see how the terms in the conclusion are related. This state of affairs can be illustrated in the diagram on the right. Diagram Illustrating the Fallacy of Exclusive Premisses
B. Our Rule of Quality states that no standard form syllogism with two negative premisses is valid.
1. The fallacy is called either the Fallacy of Exclusive Premisses or the Fallacy of Two Negative Premisses.
2. Reason: When a syllogism has exclusive premisses, all that is being asserted is that S is wholly or partially excluded from part or all of the M class, likewise for the P class; the premisses entail no specific relationship exists between the S and the P class.
3. Note that you can detect the fallacy of Exclusive Premisses merely by inspecting the mood of the syllogism. Test yourself on the following examples.

EOI-2 AAA-2
OOI-3 OEO-1
IEO2 EEE-2

      

 

Send corrections or suggestions to larchie[at]philosophy.lander.edu
Read the disclaimer concerning this page.
1997-2020 Licensed under GFDL and Creative Commons 3.0

GNU General Public License Creative Commons 3.0 License

The “Copyleft” copyright assures the user the freedom to use, copy, redistribute, make modifications with the same terms. Works for sale must link to a free copy.

The “Creative Commons” copyright assures the user the freedom to copy, distribute, display, and modify on the same terms. Works for sale must link to a free copy.


 

Arguments | LanguageFallacies  | Propositions  | Syllogisms  | Translation  | Symbolic