Syllogistic Logic

Writing about a recent post encouraging traditional gender roles, a feminist offers a partial concurrence:
But, as time passed — and my 20s became my 30s — I began to realize that when I told men I was independent and didn’t "need anyone," many eventually backed off.
This is not difficult to understand. One of the classic Aristotelian syllogisms was called "Cesare" by medieval logicians. Her problem is an excellent example of how this very basic form of logic works:

I need no men.
You are a man.

I do not need you.

Surely it's no surprise that people who are told they aren't needed eventually go away.


William said...

it's a rude shock to some. Not only are they taken at their word, their actions impact reactions in others.

William sends.

Texan99 said...

I'd probably react the same way to a guy who said he didn't need a woman.

Grim said...

I dare say you would. Rightly so.

Texan99 said...

And both would be correct in some sense, but what kind of a way to forge an alliance is it, to focus on the grounds for essential indifference? It's something you emphasize only to someone who's being overbearing, who's saying, in effect, "You have to put up with however I'm acting, because you can't do without me."

Grim said...

The only sense in which "I don't need anyone" might be true is the particular -- i.e., "There is no particular person that I need," to whit, you can be replaced if you're being a jerk. Of course we all need someone, especially as we grow older.

The kind of alliance you're talking about is one in which the other person really will become essential -- perhaps not to the point of being irreplacable, but in the sense of being someone to whom you do trust your weight when you must. There are times in everyone's life when they really can't carry their own weight fully, and their need for someone else is very real. Having a true ally is invaluable then, even if you are wealthy enough to have the option of hiring a servant of dubious loyalty during your moment of keenest vulnerability.

That desire for infinite independence is, in other words, in direct conflict with actual human nature. Like most things that are, it's a source of misery to those who adhere to it.

Not that it's a bad idea to be as self-sufficient as possible -- and strong enough to carry your partner's weight when he is the one who is down.