Definition of syllogism in English:



  • 1An instance of a form of reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn (whether validly or not) from two given or assumed propositions (premises), each of which shares a term with the conclusion, and shares a common or middle term not present in the conclusion (e.g., all dogs are animals; all animals have four legs; therefore all dogs have four legs)

    • ‘In Hegel's syllogisms of the idea, objectivity attained rational form, while the concept acquired an explicit, material existence.’
    • ‘They give reasons, they use syllogisms, they argue by suggesting counterexamples, they engage in all the hallmarks of reasoned argument.’
    • ‘Aristotle is also credited with coming up with the structure of syllogisms, or the formal determination of what can be inferred necessarily from certain statements.’
    • ‘In the latter, the syllogisms involved must have middle terms that are causes of the state of affairs which is to be demonstrated.’
    • ‘But as with all syllogisms, the validity hinges on the major and minor premises.’
    • ‘Both syllogisms have the same conclusion and the same logical form, but the syllogism immediately above has false premisses.’
    • ‘Based on these three elementary laws there were a number of syllogisms which were rules about correct inferences that could be made from given premises.’
    • ‘Speak not to me of syllogisms, you literal-minded dolts.’
    • ‘Aristotle was charged with preferring flimsy theories and sterile syllogisms to the solid, fertile facts.’
    • ‘I wonder, has this censor never found in poetry a vision of truth more profound than can be told in syllogisms?’
    • ‘To understand the history of ideas, we need to look not at syllogisms but at who wields power or at the subconscious mind.’
    • ‘No belief - reasoning correlation was found for syllogisms that had a neutral content.’
    • ‘From this developed a formal system of logic based on syllogisms which was acceptable to all parties in order to decide the outcome of such debates.’
    • ‘My Lords, I think that these are instinctual sentences, not logical propositions or syllogisms, none the worse for that because we are not in the field of pure logic.’
    • ‘Moreover, modern usage distinguishes between valid syllogisms (the conclusions of which follow from their premises) and invalid syllogisms (the conclusions of which do not follow from their premises).’
    • ‘From a formal point of view, a conclusion follows necessarily from the premises in a well-formed syllogism.’
    • ‘Kant notoriously claimed that logic had no need to go much beyond the Aristotelian syllogisms.’
    • ‘But all syllogisms require the premises to be true, and that is the fundamental failing of the brief.’
    • ‘No sophistry and no syllogisms can conjure away this inevitable consequence of inflation.’
    • ‘Mill first worked out his theory of terms, propositions, and the syllogism; he then set the book aside for five years.’
    1. 1.1Deductive reasoning as distinct from induction.
      ‘logic is rules or syllogism’
      • ‘Dixwell throughout the review questions the validity of George's logic and his penchant for ‘droll syllogism.’’
      • ‘This is grand strategy by vacant syllogism and cliche.’
      • ‘Legal reasoning by analogy and syllogism was one aspect of the effort needed to fathom the law as revealed by God and his Prophet.’
      • ‘This was, I felt, an argument that strained to yoke syllogism to its cause from love rather than good sense.’
      • ‘I don't rightly know, but I'll propose a possible counterexample - a 20 th-c. poet who often proceeded by syllogism at least as much as by coherence of feeling: Philip Larkin.’
      • ‘Others think in terms of logical syllogism; for them the Cartesian system, when it can be applied, offers certainty.’
      • ‘His ability to combine syllogism with sentiment is remarkable.’
      • ‘In my article in Prospect I recalled a breathtaking thought experiment dreamed up by the master of tendentious syllogism.’
      • ‘It was first formalized in Western philosophy by Aristotle, who described a simple variety of it known as syllogism.’


Late Middle English: via Old French or Latin from Greek sullogismos, from sullogizesthai, from sun- with + logizesthai to reason (from logos reasoning).