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?)]
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
I've only ever seen his name spelt as "Occam". I can't recall seeing the "Ockham" spelling before.
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.
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."
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.
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.
enthymeme - a "truncated syllogism" in which one of the premises is left implicit, rather than stated explicitly. For example:
sorites - a chain of enthymemes (and a fine way to hide unstated assumptions)
[Interestingly, from Gk for "heap". pronounced so-RYE-tes.]