Wednesday, November 29, 2006

horn'd sorites / an enthymematical progression

A tip of the hat to the OED, and we're off ... Best of good luck! It's something of a slalom. Or is that just me?

1. Logic. ‘A series of propositions, in which the predicate of each is the subject of the next, the conclusion being formed of the first subject and the last predicate’ (Mansel).
In the GOCLENIAN form, ‘the subject of each proposition is the predicate of the next, the conclusion being formed of the last subject and the first predicate’.
1551 T. WILSON Logike Hiij, We ioyne many causes, and many effectes together, wherof is made an argument, called Sorites. 1588 FRAUNCE Lawiers Log. II. ix. 99 As of many graynes is made a heape of corne, so of many degrees an argument called Sorites by this enthymematicall progression. 1654 Z. COKE Logick 148 Sorites is an imperfect Syllogism [etc.]. 1693 DRYDEN Persius VI. (1697) 296 note, Chrysippus the Stoick invented a kind of Argument, consisting of more than three Propositions; which is call'd Sorites, or a Heap. 1838 SIR W. HAMILTON Logic xix. (1866) I. 369 The Sorites can be resolved into as many simple syllogisms as there are middle terms between the subject and predicate of the conclusion. 1870 JEVONS Elem. Logic xviii. 156 The chain of syllogisms commonly called the Sorites.

b. An instance of this type of syllogism. Also as pl. (quot. 1798).
1581 J. BELL Haddon's Answ. Osor. 223b, The Logicians that have described the fourme of a Sorites. 1588 FRAUNCE Lawiers Log. II. ix. 99 A sorites [is] but enthymematicall progression by certain degrees. 1620 T. GRANGER Div. Logike 285 A Syllogisme many wayes cryptike, is a Dilemma, and a Sorites. 1643 SIR T. BROWNE Relig. Med. I. §18 An easie Logick may..with lesse than a Sorites resolve all things into God. 1725 WATTS Logic III. ii. §6 A Sorites is when several middle terms are chosen to connect one another successively [etc.]. 1798 EDGEWORTH Pract. Educ. (1811) II. 361 We have seen syllogisms, crocodiles, enthimemas, sorites, &c. explained and tried upon a boy of nine. 1860 H. ROGERS Ess. III. 277 An ingenious sorites, by which we may at any time dispense with the positive testimony of an historian. 1870 K. H. DIGBY Halcyon Hours 261 No horn'd soritès here would I employ, No captious argument that would annoy.

c. In allusive use.
1711 ADDISON Spect. No. 239 {page}10 These Disputants convince their Adversaries with a Sorites, commonly called a Pile of Faggots.

2. transf. A series, chain, or accumulation of some thing or things.
1664 POWER Exp. Philos. III. 191 Though Democritus his pit be never so deep, yet by a long Sorites of Observations, and chain of Deductions, we may at last fathom it. a1670 HACKET Abp. Williams I. xiii. (1693) 11 Such a long Sorites of Sciences and Tongues. 1875 M. COLLINS in F. Collins Lett. & Friendsh. (1877) II. 24 Note this significant fact or sorites of facts.

b. Math. (See quots.)
1880 J. J. SYLVESTER in Coll. Math. Papers (1909) III. 440 Any such determinate representation of a fractional quantity I shall term a sorites. Ibid., The elements of a sorites are analogous to the partial quotients of a regular continued fraction.

3. A sophistical argument turning on the definition of a ‘heap’.
1768-74 TUCKER Lt. Nat. (1834) II. 140 The like attack as was made of old by the Academics and Sceptics against the judgment of the senses, with their sophism of the sorites, or argument of the ‘heap’.

4. A heap, pile.
1871 M. COLLINS Marq. & Merch. III. ix. 230 Such sorites of flaming anthracite may possibly cause cephalalgia.

Hence soritic a., soritical.
1656 BLOUNT Glossogr., Soritical, pertaining to such an Argument [sc. Sorites]. a1693 Urquhart's Rabelais III. xxxviii. 320 Soritick fool. 1877 BLACKMORE Cripps II. v. 73 Nebules of logic, dialectic fogs, and..the pelting of soritic hail.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

the things critics say! no. 1

"It would need a Gaston Bachelard to do justice to the psycho-analysis of sea-weed, which is a really suggestive and strange thing to contemplate; children can unmisgivingly delight in sea-weed, but adults would be reluctant to admit the compound of sensations it can elicit."
Christopher Ricks, Keats and Embarrassment, 1974, p. 91.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ugandan Discussions

Reading Timothy Garton Ash in the paper today, I wondered if the Private Eye cover he mentions would be online. It is. And so are all the others. Knock me down with a feather!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

i do like ...

... record shops.


This is one of the nicest things Hazlitt says about Coleridge in The Spirit of the Age:

"Hardly a speculation has been left on record from the earliest time, but it is loosely folded up in Mr Coleridge’s memory ... Mr Coleridge ... has only to draw the sliders of his imagination, and a thousand subjects expand before him, startling him with their brilliancy, or losing themselves in endless obscurity."

Although it's not all that nice, because it ends up with STC either startled or plunged in obscurity. However, my empirically-minded question is this: what are we supposed to imagine when Hazlitt talks about drawing the 'sliders'? Is it something to do with stargazing? The OED very nearly answers this question, but not quite. This is what you get in the 'slider' entry under 4b:

1681 GREW Musæum IV. ii. 366 A Slider, with a thin Plate-Spring, which plays against the said Teeth. 1692 Capt. Smith's Seaman's Gram. II. xxiv. 130 A small Line must be drawn quite thro' the Slider. 1733 TULL Horse-Hoeing Husb. xxii. 339 (Dubl.), To fix in this Wreath from coming off, we make use of the Slider. 1763 Museum Rust. I. 78 The aperture in the floor of the third cell is shut by means of the slider. 1790 Phil. Trans. LXXXI. 27 The front of this vessel is a plate of glass, and the back a tin~plate slider. 1834-6 Encycl. Metrop. (1845) VIII. 751/1 In a groove under the dovetail is a slider L, moved by a wire K. 1839 URE Dict. Arts 983 Betwixt these guides, friction-roller sliders are placed, which sliders the corves are suspended. 1884 Law Times LXXVIII. 8/1 An upright rod, up and down which worked a slider which contained the cartridge.

fig. 1825 HAZLITT Spirit of Age 64 He has only to draw the sliders of his imagination, and a thousand subjects expand before him.

Ideas, anyone?

a cup of joe

From a site called answerbag. I really like the comments:

Josephus Daniels (1862-1948) was appointed Secretary of the U.S. Navy by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Among his numerous reforms of the Navy was the abolition of the officers' wine mess. From that time on, the strongest drink aboard navy ships was coffee and over the years, a cup of coffee became known as "a cup of Joe".


* jana2005: it is unuseful
* Bibliophile_kg: this is a common story about "cup of Joe", however 2 etymologists on the web disagree. see my entry.
* IAmDeath: Cool!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Sunday, November 19, 2006


I enjoyed hearing Jamie McKendrick read his poems last week & there was one I liked particularly called 'One-Star'. You can have a read of it here, should you be so inclined. You'll need to scroll down quite a long way to find it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bob and Ena 1

BOB: I like a party that's packed with people, so that there's a good frowst going on.

ENA: A frowst?

BOB: Yup. A good frowst.

ENA: I can't think ...

BOB: Yes?

ENA: ... of anything worse!

BOB: Come now! What kind of parties do you like?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006