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Adrian Andrew dela Paz

Legal Technique


Sanguinetti stated that matter refers to propositions that comprise the

reasoning process which is the link that joins the premises to the conclusion. This

conclusion even of a formally correct argument can still be wrong due to a false

premise. The argument is materially defective due to an erroneous premise. However,

he also noted that even with a formally correct argument, there can still be an error

due to an erroneous link between the antecedent and the consequent1.

Example of formally defective reasoning:

“Germans are European; but the French are European; therefore, Germans are

French” (a true premise leading to a false conclusion due to a erroneous link

established between premises)

Literary define syllogism as a rhetorical device that starts an

argument with a reference to something general and from this it draws conclusion

about something more specific2. Philosophy Pages define it as an important variety of

deductive argument in which a conclusion follows from two or more premises;

especially the categorical syllogism3.

1 Sanguinetti. Logic: The Basic Aspects

2 Literary Devices.
3 Philosophy Pages.
Sanguinetti states that simple syllogism is the logical process in which, starting

with an antecedent that relates two terms with a third, a conclusion can be drawn

that unites or separates these two terms and such a conclusion may be in the

affirmative or the negative, depending on the relationship of the terms to the


The reasoning process behind a syllogism is structured based upon the

following: the extremes which entail a subject (S) which has perfection, another

perfection (P) and a (M) middle term which enables the person to relate or serve as a

bridge between the two extremes, (S) and (P). It is further noted that the middle term

and the extremes appear in the antecedent and that the middle term appears in the

first and second premise, related to either extreme, creating a relation between the



War (S) brings destruction (M).

Destruction (M) brings death (P).

Therefore, war (S) brings death (P).

The middle term allows for an inference to be made wherein human reason

entails that destruction is a predicable of war and involves the property of bringing

death; therefore, it concludes that war brings death.

The predicate is the major term and included in the major premise while the

subject is the minor term contained in the minor premise. The middle term relates
both in such a way that one is enabled to make an inference based on the premises

and form a conclusion.

Simple syllogisms (categorical syllogism) involve practical rules and are based

on the nature of syllogism and the function of the middle term. The Following rules

on categorical syllogisms come from a combination of Sanguinetti and Hurley:

a) The middle term must always be taken in the same sense or no conclusion can be

drawn from it due to being composed of four terms instead of three.

Ex. The crime of buying and selling stolen goods is fencing, but fencing is a recreation;

therefore, the crime of buying and selling stolen goods is a recreation.

The conclusion is false for fencing in the first premise refers to the crime of

buying and selling stolen goods while the second premise is actually the sport of


b) The middle term must be repeated at least once or lead to a fallacy of

Undistributed middle.

Ex. All cats are animals.

All dogs are animals.

All cats are dogs.

The middle term connects the major and the minor term and if the middle

term is never distributed, then the major and minor terms might be related to

different parts of the M class, thus giving no common ground to relate S and P4.

c) If a term is distributed in the conclusion, then it must be distributed in a premise or

lead to either an Illicit major or illicit minor fallacy.

Ex. All King Tigers are panzers.

All panzers are World War tanks.

All World War ranks are King Tigers.

According to Hurley, when a term is distributed in the conclusion, like P is

distributed, then that term is saying something about every member of the P class. If

that same term is NOT distributed in the major premise, then the major premise is

saying something about only some members of the P class5. This leads to an invalid

argument because the conclusion contains information that is not contained in the


d) A conclusion cannot have greater universality than its premise for the effect

(conclusion) cannot be greater than the cause (premise)

e) The conclusion follows the weakest premise. This entails that if the antecedent is

universal and the other is particular, the conclusion should be particular.

4 Hurley. Rules and Fallacies for Categorical

5 Id.
f) From two particular premises, nothing follows. This entails that the one of the

premises must be universal in order to validly link the the major and minor premises

and form a conclusion.

g) From two negative premises nothing follows. This simply states that there rule does

not allow two negative premises for it could lead to a fallacy of exclusive premises.

Ex. No insects are mammals.

Some cats are not insects.

Some cats are not mammals.

Hurley notes that if the premises are both negative, then the relationship

between S and P is denied; therefore, the conclusion cannot, therefore, say anything

in a positive fashion and that the information goes beyond what is contained in the


Modern logicians, who still hold to traditional conventions, classify syllogisms

according to figure, derived from Aristotle, and mood, from medieval logicians6. The

figure of a syllogism is determined by recording the arrangement of the middle term

takes in the two premises or the arrangement of the terms in a

syllogism. Furthermore, one determines the mood of a syllogism by recording the

precise arrangement of categorical propositions or via to the different arrangements

in each figure.

The syllogism of relation entails reasoning with judgements of relation. It is a

special syllogism widely used in ordinary conversations and mathematics.

6 Aristotle: Logic.

Immediate inferences about the extremes of a relation can be made, following

the norms of opposition between relations7.

a) Convertable relations entail that the same relation is produced between extremes

even if the relations are reversed.

Ex. “D is the cousin of C, the C is the cousin of D.”

b) Non-convertible relations entail that an inverse relation is obtained when the

extremes of the relation are reversed.

Ex. 2 > 1, therefore 1 < 2

In addition, more complex inferences can be garnered from various relations

which are some relation in some way and that the nature of such inferences is

dependent upon the mode of relations involved8.

a) Transitive relations follow the pattern that if X is related to Y and Y is related to Z

then X id related to Z.

b) Non-transitive relations entail a pattern that if X is some way related to Y and Y is

related in the same or some other way to Z, then X is somehow related to Z but in a

special way.

Compound or hypothetical syllogisms are composed of different kinds of

sentences in their premises and conclusions (not just categorical propositions,

7 Sanguinetti. supra
8 Sanguinetti. supra
statements or sentences) 9 . Sanguinetti noted that they are those whose major

premise consists of a compound proposition and whose minor premise affirms or

denies one part of the major premise. It was further stated that the major premise

affirms a connection between various enunciations but leaves the truth of its

component parts unknown. All the while, the minor premise designates the true value

to one of the parts while the conclusion, the true value of the other 10. Dr. Naugle

noted that Compound syllogisms are more familiar and are more often used than

categorical syllogisms, and the rules of their uses are much easier to grasp.

Furthermore are several kinds of compound syllogisms are available: the conditional

(referred by Dr. Naugle as hypothetical), conjunctive, disjunctive (dilemma).

a) Conditional syllogism has its major premise as a conditional proposition. It

grounded upon a hypothetical statement which takes the form: "IF . . . THEN." These

syllogisms are not entirely hypothetical, but one of its premises is.

If X is true, Y is possible true.

Y is true; therefore B is true.


If water boils, water temperature has reached at 100 degrees Celsius; water

temperature has reached at 100 degrees Celsius; therefore, water boils. The water

temperature did not reach at 100 degrees Celsius; therefore, water did not boil.

9 Dr. Naugle. Phil 2302 Intro to Logic

10 Sanguinetti. supra
Dr. Naugle noted that this kind of syllogism must be constructed of a

conditional major premise, and an unconditional minor premise leading to an

unconditional conclusion. There must be the following:

1. A conditional major premise.

2. An unconditional minor premise.

3. An unconditional conclusion.

It has been noted that a hypothetical syllogism has only two terms rather than

having three terms as categorical syllogisms do.

b) In conjunctive syllogisms, the major premise affirms an incompatibility between

two predicates. Dr. Naugle refers to conjunction as a logical operation in which an

operator (in this case the conjunctive, "and," symbolized by " . "), and is used to

connect exactly two propositions in such a way that the resulting compound

proposition is true if and only if both component propositions are true, and false if

either or both of the conjuncts are false. Conjunctive syllogisms are based on

“both/and” sentences.

"A and B" is true if and only if "A" is true, and "B" is true.

c) In disjunctive syllogisms, the major premise affirms an exclusive disjunction wherein

the two parts can neither be simultaneously true nor simultaneously false 11. A

disjunction is true if either of the disjuncts is true or if either one of its disjuncts is

11 Sanguinetti. supra
true12. Valid disjunctive syllogisms were noted to contain a disjunction as one

premise, the negation of one of the disjuncts as second premise, as well as the

affirmation of the remaining disjunct as its conclusion13. Its basic form was noted to

appear in the following manner:

Either this or that Either this or that

not this not this

___________ ___________

that that


Either some fencers use foils or sabres.

Some fencers don’t use foils.


Then some fencers use sabres.

Furthermore, Sanguinetti noted that there are two possible ways of drawing

conclusions via disjunctive syllogisms: one involves the minor affirms of one of the

predicates while the conclusion denies the other and the second, involves the minor

denying one of the predicates while the conclusion affirms the other.

Dilemmas, as stated by Dr. Naugle, depict two hypothetical statements in a

conjunctive manner in the major premise. The second or minor premise, a disjunctive

"either/or" statement then either affirms that one or the other of the antecedents is

PHIL chapter 10 deductive.pdf.

true (constructive), or denies that one or the other of the consequents is true

(destructive)14. The conclusion forces one to choose between (1) the consequents on

the basis of affirmed antecedents or (2) the denied antecedents on the basis of denied


Symbolic logic expresses the different logical structures using appropriate

symbols and precise rules16. It is an operation which reduces ordinary speech to

certain logical structures in which terms and propositions would be represented by

variable letters (A, B, C.....). The connection or relation between propositions are

represented by symbols (“^” means “and”; “v” means “or”; “” if this is true , the this

other thing is true”; while all and some are symbolized by quantifiers). After

constructing the formal language, symbolic logic goes on to affirm axioms (postulated

series of basic propositions), along with rules of inference17. These eventually lead to

the formation of new formulas or the conclusions. Starting from the axioms and

drawing conclusions from them via the rules of inference leads to a conclusion, called

a theorem.

Ex of use of symbols:

If Mark goes to the store, then Drake goes to the ballgame ↔ A  B.

Dr. Naugle. Conjunctive Syllogisms and Dilemmas