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Political Proofs

The Conservative Party stands for fiscal responsibility and accountability.

The Liberal Party opposes the Conservative Party.

Therefore, the Liberal Party opposes fiscal responsibility and accountability.

First of all, is this syllogism true? Some would argue that the first premise is incorrect; that is, the Conservative Party does not stand for fiscal responsibility and accountability. While I would agree that it is most certainly not those things(responsibly and accountable), others would say the opposite; but at any rate, it is what they claim to be, and we can conclude that it is, indeed, what they stand for – at least on paper.

Is the second premise true? Yes – while the argument can be made that the Liberal Party does not oppose the Conservatives on everything, they are still opposition, and as such, oppose.

But is it valid? This question rests upon the definition of the word ‘opposes’. When you oppose something, do you oppose everything to do with it, everything it says and does? Or can you support something sometimes while still generally opposing it? Take this equation:

Oppose * (A whole)

Oppose * (Individual parts of that whole, which add up to it)

Then we convert the ideas into numbers, taking opposition as a negative number and assigning individual terms different magnitudes of importance.

-1(1 – 2 – 3 + 4 + 5) = -1 + 2 + 3 – 4 – 5 = -5

The result, being negative, indicates that on the whole the feelings toward something remain opposition. But is each individual part opposed? No – because some terms remain positive, indicating no opposition. What does this mean for our syllogism? That opposition to a whole does not necessitate opposition to all its component parts – and thus, this syllogism is invalid and unsound.

Follow me on Twitter: @LiamtheSaint

 

5 Responses to Political Proofs

  1. Pingback: Reductio ad Hitlerum « Philosophy 12

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