December 9, 2005

Logic Isn't Everything

The Shieldmaiden


When someone asserts that we must choose between two things when there are more than two options, they are commiting an Either-Or fallacy.

But, as I said, logic isn't everything.

Patrick Henry: "Give me liberty, or give me death!"

News Reporter: "Dude, isn't that a bit extreme?"

Patrick Henry: "Extreme that I would die for my country?"

News Reporter: "No, it's just you're shouting in my ear."

Patrick Henry: "Your forefathers sacrificed their lives, wealth and honor so that they could pass their freedom down to their children. Freedoms which you now enjoy! And you ask me to lower my voice? Have you no shame?!?"

News Reporter: "Well, you might have a point there, but what about your ultimatum. . . Aren't there any more options?"

Patrick Henry: "Options! We colonists are about to be shackled hand and foot by that foul tyrant King George, and you want me to give you options! I tell you that no choice remains for us today but the choice between fighting for liberty or death as slaves!!!"

News Reporter: "Dude, chill! Like, I can think of an option. What about moving to Tahiti?"

Patrick Henry: "Hhmmmm. . . Give me liberty or give me Tahiti. . . . Somehow I don't think that's going to go over well with General Washington . . ."


Lynn Bruce said...


FWIW, this is an entry from The Shieldmaiden's Reading Journal, which she writes in daily for school.

polemic turtle said...

Would it be wrong to assert that there are only two options in any dilemma, best and worse-than-best?

Would there be any point in asserting that?

I'd rather not think about it and live with the consequences..

Laura Kathryn said...

Oh Claire! That is hilarious!
And, incidentally, my favorite quote of all time.

beatrice said...

Polemic Turtle, that gives me a headache to think about.

Multifarious Me, I agree. You've heard Gravygal and FSLL and I talking about our trip to Williamsburg, well, on that trip our group had the pleasure of meeting a Patrick Henry impersonater who was giving a speech (the one from whence that qoute came, actually) beneath a tree. It was shweeet.