Monday, October 20, 2008

Answer Key for Rhetorical Figures, Syllogisms

From the section workshop on rhetorical figures (10/6)

Note: I eliminated the examples that were covered in Eryk’s post, with the single exception of example 1, to which we add a few possible answers.

What did you expect when you unbound the gag that had muted those black mouths? That they would chant your praises? Did you think that when those heads that our fathers had forcibly bowed down to the ground were raised again, you would find adoration in their eyes? J. P. Sartre [Rhetorical Question, Assonance (bowed down to the ground), Metaphor or Metonymy – we weren’t sure how to read the gag in the first question]

Your Mom’s so fat, she could eat the internet. [Hyperbole; the jury is out, but we may also be in the territory of oxymoron and paradox when we consider that one might “eat the internet”]

War: not so good, actually. [Litotes]

Those who know do not speak; those who speak do not know. [Chiasmus]

If we don’t hang together, we shall hang separately. [This is actually a zeugma, but for our purposes we shall treat it as an instance of chiasmus.]

Dead in the middle of Little Italy, little did we know that we riddled two middle men who didn’t do diddly. [Assonance, Alliteration]

The average person thinks he isn’t. [Ellipsis: the missing term is “average.”]

I can’t tell you how many times he’s distorted the truth. [Occultatio]

Check out my new wheels. [Synecdoche: the whole car is represented by its part, the wheels. And yes, this part is plural. Tough.]

You have to be cruel to be kind. [Paradox]

The iron curtain has lifted. [Metaphor]

I’m a cheerful pessimist. [Oxymoron]

Nice pants. [Irony]

Squish. [Onomatopoeia]

Ah, the sweet smell of success. [Alliteration]

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s Superman! [Auxesis]

I’ve told you a million times! [Hyperbole]

He’s a man of the cloth. [Metonymy; cases were also made in class for mere Metaphor]

Einstein wasn’t a bad mathematician. [Litotes]

Without laws, we can have no freedom. [Paradox]

Beware, my lord, of jealousy!
It is a green-ey’d monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on. [Prosopopoeia]

But we glory also in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience trial; and trial hope; and hope confoundeth not, because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us. [Auxesis]

If practice makes perfect, and no one’s perfect, then why practice? [Rhetorical Question]

Veni, vidi, vici. [Isocolon, Alliteration, Assonance]

Those who fail to prepare are preparing to fail. [Chiasmus]

...And from the section workshop on logical arguments (10/13)

Part 1: Translate enthymemes into major and minor premises and conclusions, without concern for validity or soundness. Some of the following enthymemes were translated in more than one way by our class, and reasonably so; I include only one of the possible answers here in the interest of brevity.

MjP = Major Premise. MnP = Minor Premise. C = Conclusion.

Iraq is a threat to our national security because it possesses vast quantities of enriched uranium.
MjP: All countries that possess vast quantities of uranium are a threat to our national security. MnP: Iraq possesses vast quantities of enriched uranium. C: Iraq is a threat to our national security.

Given John McCain’s health, it isn’t advisable to vote for him. (We translated this a number of ways. Here is one of the options we came up with.)
MjP: If a candidate is in poor health, it is not advisable to vote for him. MnP: John McCain is in poor health. C: It is not advisable to vote for him.

Due to the vulgarity of their lyrics, it’s doubtful that the band has any depth.
MjP: Bands with vulgar lyrics have no depth. MnP: The band has vulgar lyrics. C: The band has no depth.

In the absence of sufficient evidence, the defendant is to be dismissed.
MjP: If there is not enough evidence, the defendant is to be dismissed. MnP: There is not enough evidence. C: The defendant is to be dismissed.

Hugo Chavez admires Fidel Castro, so we can guess what he’d like to do as the head of state of Venezuela.
MjP: If one head of state admires another head of state, he will seek to emulate that other head of state. MnP: Hugo Chavez admires Fidel Castro. C: Hugo Chavez wants to emulate Fidel Castro.

Part 2: Translate the following arguments into syllogisms, taking note of validity of form.

You’ve got to be kidding me, right? I can tell by the look on your face. You made the whole thing up!
MjP: If you have that look on your face, you are lying. MnP: You have that look on your face. C: You’re lying! Valid, Modus Ponens.

Since this is his first year on the job, John can’t be put in charge.
MjP: All people who are put in charge should have more than a year’s experience. MnP: John doesn’t have more than a year’s experience. C: John shouldn’t be put in charge. Valid, Modus Tolens.

All people with things to hide plead the fifth. Tom pleads the Fifth. Tom must have something to hide. This one is already in its syllogistic form, more or less: Major and Minor Premise, followed by conclusion. It is Invalid; its fallacy is that of affirming the consequent.

If the Yankees won yesterday’s game, they are champions. The Yankees won yesterday’s game. Well, there ya go!
MjP: If the Yankees won yesterday’s game, they are champions. MnP: The Yankees won yesterday’s game. C (implied): The Yankees are the champions. Valid, Modus Ponens.

“There is no law against composing music when one has no ideas whatsoever. The music of Wagner, therefore, is perfectly legal!” (Mark Twain)
MjP: If one has no ideas, one’s music is legal. MnP: Wagner has no ideas. C: Wagner’s music is legal. Valid, Modus Ponens.

Aisha went to a fabulous liberal arts college, so clearly she’s very bright.
MjP: All people who go to fabulous liberal arts colleges are very bright. MnP: Aisha went to a fabulous liberal arts college. C: Aisha is very bright. Valid, Modus Ponens.

Whenever Kristen gets angry, her left eye begins to twitch. Look! It’s twitching! She must be really pissed!
MjP: If Kristen is angry, her left eye twitches. MnP: Kristen’s left eye is twitching. C: Kristen is angry. Invalid, Affirming the Consequent.

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