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The theme's title is a pun, linking our last theme to our next one. Let's do two more horse words, followed by a word that fits both the horse theme and the logic theme. All three pertain to horse markets, with an unsavory air about them.

tattersall - noun & adj. a cloth with a pattern of dark lines forming squares on a light background; the pattern itself [from Tattersall's, a London horse market and gambler's rendezvous, founded 1766 by Richard Tattersall]

cozen- to cheat; to defraud; to beguile; to deceive
[origin uncertain. perhaps M.E. cosyn "fraud, trickery" (1453), perhaps related to O.Fr. coçon "dealer," from L. cocionem "horse dealer." (Some speculate the source may be various generations of French cousiner, to defraud, as to claim to be a cousin in order to defraud -- but is a swindler really likely to so claim; would he expect to be believed?)]

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And now, our horse-and-logic term:

Hobson's choice - an apparently free choice which is really not free, because when there is no real alternative
Thomas Hobson (c.1544-1631), Cambridge stable manager who let horses and gave customers a choice of the horse next in line or none at all; phrase popularized by Milton, c.1660.

quote:
Guy Wetmore Carryl's retelling of the tale of Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty:

In Charming's principality there was a wild locality
Composed of somber forest and of steep and frowning crags,
Of pheasant and of rabbit, too; and here it was his habit to
Go hunting with his courtiers in the keen pursuit of stags.
But the charger that he rode
So mercurially strode
That the prince on one occasion left the others in the lurch,
And the falling darkness found him
With no vassals left around him,
Near a building like an abbey, or a shabby ruined church.
His Highness said: "I'll ring the bell
And stay till morning it in!" (He
Took Hobson's choice, for no hotel
There was in the vicinity.)
 
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negative pregnant – a denial (negation) of one thing that implies (is pregnant with) affirmance of another.
For example, if you are told, "You're a cheap, smelly drunk," and you angrily reply, "I am not cheap," your very denial implies that you admit to being smelly and a drunk.
quote:

Secretary Powell also said: "With respect to Iran and with respect to North Korea, there is no plan to start a war with these nations." By the grammatical negative pregnant pause, the implication is pretty clear that when the Secretary of State says ... that there is no plan to "start a war with these nations," referring to Iran and North Korea, there is a different plan with respect to Iraq. As I say, it may well be justified.
- Senator Arlen Specter, speaking in the US Senate in the week of Feb. 11, 2002
 
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induction (logic) – the process of deriving general principles from particular facts or instances
contrast deduction – reasoning from stated premises to a conclusion; that is, from the general to the specific
 
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boolean algebra – a mathematical system for algebraic manipulation of logical statements (adj. boolean; contrast conventional algebra, which operates upon numerical quantities). Boolean algebra can demonstrate whether or not a statement follows from given premises, and show how a complicated statement can be reduced to a simpler, more convenient form.

Heavily used in computer science. Developed by the English mathematician George Boole c.1850.
 
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Ockham's razor; Occam's razor – the philosophical rule that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex. Also called law of parsimony.
[after William of Ockham, English philosopher (~1285-?1349), who wrote, "Non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem;" a plurality of reasons should not be proposed without necessity.]

You'll find an a sample usage here.
 
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I've only ever seen his name spelt as "Occam". I can't recall seeing the "Ockham" spelling before.
 
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I thought that Ockham is the modern name of the town in which William was born. I found a book published by CUP called The Political Thought of William Ockham by Stephen McGrade. There is also a computer language called Occam.
 
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Follow-ups on previous words:

A reader notes that he has seen only Occam's razor, not Ockham's razor. Some dictionaries give the former as variant of the latter; other dictionaries list the latter as the variant of the former.

Another reader notes, "A BBC radio program that I heard last year stated that George Boole was friends with A. Conan Doyle, and was in fact the inspiration for his villain Dr. Moriarity."
 
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fuzzy logic – a multivalued logic developed to deal with imprecise or vague data. Contrast classical logic (manipulated Boolean algebra), where variables are either 0 or 1, black or white, yes or no, true or false. Fuzzy logic allows for intermediate values, "shades of gray", and is a means to draw logical inferences from imprecise relationships.

Because of the name, sometimes people sometimes people equate "fuzzy logic" with "imprecise logic". But fuzzy logic is not any less precise than any other form of logic, rather it is an organized and mathematical method of handling inherently uncertain concepts or data.

Fuzzy logic forms the basis for artificial intelligence systems, the kind of computer programming that mimics human intelligence. Its uses include the controls of household appliances (e.g., refrigerators; washing machines which sense load size and detergent concentration to auto-adjust their wash cycles), passenger elevators, certain automobile subsystems (such as ABS), cameras, and video games.
 
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How interesting! I always thought "fuzzy logic" meant imprecise logic.

In looking it up in onelook, one of the definitions (from Encarta) seems to me to be incorrect: "logic that allows for imprecise or ambiguous answers to questions." Isn't it more that the data (or questions) are imprecise, and not the answers? Or perhaps one leads to the other.
 
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enthymeme - a "truncated syllogism" in which one of the premises is left implicit, rather than stated explicitly. For example:
  • We are dependent; therefore we should be humble.
  • This man has perjured himself in the past. He is not to be trusted.
[Each omits the major proposition: "Dependent creatures should be humble," and "Those who perjure themselves cannot be trusted."]


sorites - a chain of enthymemes (and a fine way to hide unstated assumptions)
[Interestingly, from Gk for "heap". pronounced so-RYE-tes.]
  • We cannot trust this man, for he has perjured himself in the past. Since the witness cannot be trusted, we must disregard his present testimony. Without his damning testimony, the accusations against my client are nothing. Since the accusations against my client amount to nothing, let him be dismissed.
 
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quote:
How interesting! I always thought "fuzzy logic" meant imprecise logic.


You might be thinking of "fuzzy reasoning" (an allied field Wink ). Professor Lotfi Zadeh at UC Berkeley is the creator of fuzzy logic. Nice fellow.
 
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