Friday, September 5, 2008

Logic Text Fuckedupness

In the brand new (10th) edition of Pat Hurley's A Concise Introduction to Logic the following are offered for translation into sentence logic (pp. 299-300):

If Bill O'Reilly spins the news, then if Katie Curic charms her viewers, then Paula Zahn has sex appeal.

If Kate Winslet and Jessica Biel do a comedy, then either Forrest Whitaker will make a documentary or Paris Hilton will do a skin flick.

If Tom Cruise is gay, then if Diane Sawyer interviews him, then Scientology's being nonsense implies that Katie Holmes is in for a surprise.

It is not the case that both Atari's releasing a stalker game implies that Nintendo does and Sega's releasing a molester game implies that Commodore does.

I'm not making this up. I understand that textbook authors are pressured into using examples that connect with the younger generation and all... But what the fuck's up with these examples? Do we really need references to skin flicks? And what's a "molester game"?

12 comments:

Krinos said...

It means that Patrick Hurley is drunk with power. Celebrity-obsession and sexual deviancy-dallying drunk with power. That's what'll happen to you, kids, if you write the best selling and most influential logic book since the Port Royal Logic. No telling what Antoine Arnauld would have done had The Art of Thinking gone ten editions! Imagine: If Gassendi has hemhorroids, then Descartes makes gas!

imipolex_g-unit said...

Wow. I feel like a real fuddy-duddy for using Copi, who makes translation problems out of lines from the bible.

Anonymous said...

the hurley book sucks in so many ways. abandon it

Anonymous said...

You've caught me at an awkward time (read: drunk). I'm honestly wondering if this is an effect of the alcohol. I usually lurk, but seriously? You can't make this shit up! That's some of the most unprofessional stuff I've ever heard of in a textbook. No wonder professors here are using a custom edition... surely this tripe is edited out...

Morgan said...

When I was an undergraduate at a UK university in the early 90s, there was a right kerfuffle in our department, because of the habit of the eminent historian of philosophy then teaching the first year logic course of using outrageous logic examples. The one that particularly sticks in my mind is 'If Jenny does not wear a nice dress, she will not get a good husband'. The university in question had a very prominent and active women's studies department at the time, and many of the students were women's studies majors. Funnily enough, many of them were entirely incensed by this practice. The matter was resolved when a female member of staff eventually managed to prevail upon the eminent historian to stop using such examples- though apparently he remained convinced that the complaints were no more than humourless overreaction.

I seem to recall that the examples in question were not the guy's own, but came from a logic textbook from the fifties or maybe earlier, which he hadn't seen fit to ditch. If so I can't remember which one, though.

English Jerk said...

"Commodore"? They haven't made a video game since the 80s. This is why trying to look up to date will always reveal just how behind the times you are. Anyway, the culture industry hardly needs any help drilling frivolous nonsense into our students' brains (lest room remain for thoughts).

One syntax textbook uses mostly examples drawn from Gilgamesh (not quotations from Gilgamesh, but sentences like "Gilgamesh doesn't know whether Enkidu and Shamshatum expected to see them" and "Enkidu and Shamshatum expected to see them" to illustrate the contrast between the possibility of coindexing "them" with "Enkidu and Shamshatum" in those two cases). Another intro. linguistics textbook uses nothing but Shakespeare examples. So the logic textbook with biblical examples sounds good to me.

729 said...

Is Hurley attempting to follow in the footsteps of Lewis Carroll and the problems in his Symbolic Logic? That sort of thing has a record of backfiring (See Lewis' problems like 14 and some others for anti-semitic premises).

Anonymous said...

I'm so pleased that my intro to logic book (Wayne Davis) had out-dated political examples from the '80's. "If Reagan is a Republican, then the president is a Republican."

Anonymous said...

ha ha... how are they going to "connect" with a younger audience by mentioning Commodore and using old people terminology like "skin flick"?

KateNorlock said...

These are actually in Hurley? Geez, I'm so glad I went with Baronett.

I think the molester game comment might be referring to the perturbed online converage of SNK's game, Doki Doki Majo Shinpan.

http://sexyvideogameland.blogspot.com/2007/06/doki-doki-majo-shinpan-update.html

Anonymous said...

I was among the last Commodore users... I turn 40 this year... not young.

My own intro logic text was Bergmann/Moor/Nelson (The Logic Book)...the first edition!.. something else that dates me.

Speaking of Bergmann et al, isn't there some sort of juicy gossip about that book? Didn't Ms. Bergmann start dating one of the other authors, but they broke up, partly over the content of the book?

Philosophy gossip of the 80s is so poorly documented. Not like now...

Anonymous said...

Damn, really?

Nobody else cares about Logic textbook sex gossip? Just me?

I really must be a pervert.