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This week’s theme is Logic, Reasoning and Thought.

Our first word also fits last week’s theme of “pregnancy words”. Coming from Greek for midwife and to act as midwife, it can be thought of as “giving birth, or drawing out, to the student’s innate knowledge.” A good example might be a writing teacher, helping the student to bring forth the student’s own story.

maieutic – a technique in which a teacher (rather than giving information) asks a series of questions to draw out, from the student, ideas previously latent in the student’s mind
[A more common word for this is Socratic. A few sources also give hebamic as a rare word of the same meaning.]
    Early in January Eliot returned to London, after spending a few days in Paris, where he submitted the manuscript of The Waste Land to Pound's maieutic skill.
    – Valerie Eliot, in introduction to The Waste Land: A Facsimile and Transcript of the Original Drafts Including the Annotations of Ezra Pound

    maieutic thinking is the kind of thinking characteristic of voice coaches, orchestra conductors, painting teachers, writing teachers, and so on. Maieutic thinking is intellectual midwifery. It is extractive, eductive, seeking to elicit the best thinking possible from one’s charges.
    – Matthew Lipman, Thinking in Education
 
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So that's what I've been doing all these years Big Grin
 
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We have a delicious word today, and I’m surprised how rarely it’s used

chop logic – convoluted, contentious and deceptive argument

The dictionaries have it as choplogic or chop-logic, but it’s more commonly written as two words, as above.
    But how can one explain the hypocrisy, chop logic and outright lying now being mustered daily in defence of hunting with hounds?
    – The Guardian, Dec. 28, 2000

    Judge Jackson showed little patience for Microsoft's dismissive attitude toward the case and its wordplay about integrated products, and put the company's lawyers in their place after they played chop logic – what one newspaper called "compliance with a raised middle finger" – with his preliminary injunction …
    – Wall Street Jourrnal, March 9, 1999
 
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Now it makes sense! I received my "Word Of The Day" e-mail this morning and "chop logic" was listed under the theme of "Pregnancy, from Z to A." I just couldn't make the connection at the time.

I can't say I've ever heard chop logic used before. An interest word. I like it. Thanks for sharing.

walrus Smile
 
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Surely it can't be a word of the day as "chop logic" is two words? Or is that just chopping logic? Wink


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I would agree, but I didn't send out the "Word Of The Day" e-mail as follows;

Theme: Pregnancy, from Z to A



We have a delicious word today, and I'm surprised how rarely it's used

chop logic – convoluted, contentious and deceptive argument

The dictionaries have it as choplogic or chop-logic, but it's more commonly written as two words, as above.



But how can one explain the hypocrisy, chop logic and outright lying now being mustered daily in defence of hunting with hounds?
– The Guardian, Dec. 28, 2000

Judge Jackson showed little patience for Microsoft's dismissive attitude toward the case and its wordplay about integrated products, and put the company's lawyers in their place after they played chop logic – what one newspaper called "compliance with a raised middle finger" – with his preliminary injunction …
– Wall Street Jourrnal, March 9, 1999
 
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Oops!

< Wordcrafter, wiping egg off face >
 
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Wordcrafter: It happens, but you got me good this morning. I sat there quite stupefied trying to make the connection.

Smile
 
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< mental image of a puzzled walrus, posed like Rodin's The Thinker >

Honoring William F. Buckley, Jr., he of the elephantine vocabulary, who passed away yesterday, we quote his wisdom.

paralogism – an illogical argument, a fallacy, esp. one which the reasoner is unconscious of or believes to be logical (contrast sophism)
    A good debater is not necessarily an effective vote-getter: you can find a hole in your opponent's argument through which you could drive a coach and four ringing jingle bells all the way, and thrill at the crystallization of a truth wrung out from a bloody dialogue -- which, however, may warm only you and your muse, while the smiling paralogist has in the meantime made votes by the tens of thousands.
    – William F. Buckley, Jr., The Unmaking of a Mayor
 
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A quote from William F. Buckley, on language:

"Some words, Dwight Macdonald wrote in a celebrated review of Webster's Third, belong in the 'zoo section' of the dictionary. I.e., the words do exist, but the need for them is so remote, you can-and should-keep them caged up in the zoo until it is absolutely necessary to take one out, which may be never. I know a word that describes the feeling you have in the roof of your mouth when peanut butters sticks to it, but I will never use it; in fact, I decline to disclose it."


RJA
 
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Yesterday’s word paralogism means an illogical argument, made without intending or being aware that one is being illogical. In contrast:

sophism – a specious but fallacious argument, used either deliberately to deceive or mislead, or to display ingenuity in reasoning

Often used to describe the positions of a politician with whom one disagrees. I had a bit of difficulty finding a quote that wouldn't be political 'fighiting words'!
    I will now tell you what I do not like. First, the omission of a bill of rights, providing clearly, and without the aid of sophism, for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, potection against standing armiems, restriction of monopolies, the eternal and unremittting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury …
    – Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, December 20, 1787, concerning the then-current draft of the US Constitution
 
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Yesterday’s word paralogism means an illogical argument, made without intending or being aware that one is being illogical. In contrast:

sophism – a specious but fallacious argument, used either deliberately to deceive or mislead, or to display ingenuity in reasoning

Often used to describe the positions of a politician with whom one disagrees. I had a bit of difficulty finding a quote that wouldn't be political 'fighting words'!
    I will now tell you what I do not like. First, the omission of a bill of rights, providing clearly, and without the aid of sophism, for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction of monopolies, the eternal and unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury …
    – Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, December 20, 1787, concerning the then-current draft of the US Constitution
 
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This brings to mind the If-By-Whiskey rhetorical device...
 
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Sophistry and Casuistry are the bitter bread and butter of tyranny.

Or something.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Timbo,
 
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The word induction is much less familiar than its counterpart deduction, but I'd suggest that induction is much more important in real life.

induction – inferring a general law or principle from the particular instances observed
(contrast deduction – drawing a conclusion from a general law or principle already known or assumed; reasoning from generals to particulars)
    induction, the process at the very heart of the scientific method … that sudden insight into the solution of a problem that psychologists sometimes call the “Aha” reaction. Great turning points in science often hinge on these mysterious intuitive leaps.
    – Martin Gardner, The Colossal Book of Mathematics: Classic Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Problems

    In any event, the problem was not to be solved by deduction from declared axioms, with the conclusion certain. Everyday problems respond to a different logic, based on induction and inference. [and much later:] The method of science is induction from observation and experiment.
    – John McLeish, The Story of Numbers: How Mathematics Has Shaped Civilization
 
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Karl Popper pointed out that one can never prove scientific theories or hypotheses to be true using induction. In his famous example, one might never see a black swan, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. One can however, definitively disprove the hypothesis that all swans are white by producing a single black one. That's ultimately where creationism, for example, fails as a scientific theory: it's not falsifiable. There's no possible experimental output that can't be explained by the intervention of an omnipotent being. There's no way to prove it false, so it's not scientific. Theories that predict anything predict nothing.

Also, check out the number definitions of induction in Wikipedia. Logic, math, electronics, theater, biology, conscription...
 
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Today’s word has several meanings. I’ll give the two I think are most important.

dialectic
– the tension between two interacting/conflicting forces
– the art or practice of reaching truth by the exchange of logical arguments
    First sense: Soon, jazz had its own canon of masters, its own dialectic of establishment and avant-garde: Armstrong the originator, Ellington the classicist, Charlie Parker the revolutionary, and so on.
    – Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

    Second sense [speaking of the Buddha]: … one of the greatest personalities of all time. … Perhaps the most striking thing about him was his combination of a cool head and a warm heart … He was undoubtedly one of the greatest rationalists of all times … Every problem that came his way was automatically subjected to cool, dispassionate analysis. … He was a master of dialogue and dialectic, and calmly confident.
    – Huston Smith, The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions
 
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We end our “words about logic” with one about the logic of language.

hypercorrection – a language misuse (spelling, pronunciation, grammar) made by analogy to a form that is thought to be “better speaking”

The classic example is the speaker who, having been told that his statement “John and me need to eat” should have been “John and I”, then carefully says, "OK, then give John and I something to eat.” Another example is an overdone attempt to avoid the mispronunciations of one’s ethnic group:
    … without the hypercorrection of Negroes who make “again” rhyme with “rain.”
    – Henry Louis Gates Jr., Colored People: A Memoir
Would another example be the British use of -ise rather than -ize, an in “civilise” rather than “civilize”?

As one authority puts it, “Sometimes people strive to abide by the strictest etiquette, but in the process behave inappropriately.”¹ But this is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put!


¹ Bryan A. Garner, Dictionary of Modern American Usage (as quoted by David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster: and Other Esssays)
 
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quote:
Would another example be the British use of -ise rather than -ize, an in “civilise” rather than “civilize”?

No. It's derived from the French civiliser.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I thought the reason for the -ise and -ize differences was related to whether the root of the word in question came from Greek (-ize) or Latin (-ise). The Latin roots also come to us through other "latin" languages such as French, of course.

It's a misconception that the UK uses -ise while the US uses -ize. Until comparatively recently, the OED (and the Times newspaper) were in favour of -ize wherever appropriate.

I like to use -ize just to wind people up.
 
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Words from drawn directly from the French (via Greek/Latin or not) usually have an -ise suffix as the original words used a 's'

Words taken directly from the Greek should, however, use -ize although certain style guides disagree and prefer a blanket 'z'; others prefer a blanket -ise.

I have an acquaintance who uses -ize similarly; he'll even spell words like wise as wize.

'He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.'


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Smile This week I just happen to be reading Manchester on Churchill on hypercorrection:
"And he despised pedants. A junior civil servant had tortuously reworded a sentence to avoid ending with a preposition. The prime minister scrawled across the page: 'This is nonsense up with which I will not put.'"
-William Manchester, The Last Lion (Toronto: Little, Brown & Co.,1983)31.
 
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