Syllogism questions regularly come in all MBA entrance examinations. They form an integral part of the Logical Reasoning section. It is a form of reasoning in which the conclusion is drawn from two or three given propositions or statements. As in most areas of Logical Reasoning, you have to suspend your common sense and accept the given statements as true, even if they do not agree with established facts.
For example, i) ‘All men are dogs
ii) Socrates is man’.
The conclusion drawn from these two statements is that Socrates is a dog. This is a fairly direct and simple example of Syllogism.
1. Syllogism is Deductive
Syllogism is a Deductive process. This means that the conclusion is derived from the Major and Minor Premise, the sequence begins by stating a general premise, narrowing it down to the particular, from which a conclusion is drawn. A syllogism is valid when its conclusion necessarily follows from its premises. A syllogism is true when it makes accurate claims and the information provided is consistent with facts. A syllogism is said to be sound when it is both valid and true.
2. How to tackle Syllogisms?
The good thing about questions based on syllogisms is that they can be solved by applying some standard methods. This makes it a highly scoring section of the paper. Some points to keep in mind while tackling Syllogism questions are:
1. There are four types of propositions:
- Universal Affirmative (A)
-Universal Negative (E)
- Particular Affirmative (I)
- Particular Negative (O)
The general rules for deriving conclusions are:
a. With two particular statements, no universal conclusion is possible
b. With two affirmative statements, no negative conclusion is possible
c. With two negative statements, no positive conclusion is possible
d. With two particular statements, no conclusion is possible except when an ‘I’ type of statement is given and then by reversing it, an ‘I’ type of conclusion is given
a. A statement of type 'E' when reversed, gives a conclusion of type 'E & O'.
b. A statement of type 'A' when reversed, gives a conclusion of type 'I'.
c. A statement of type 'I' when reversed, gives a conclusion of type 'I'
d. A statement of type 'O' when reversed, does not give a conclusion of any type.
3. Practice Venn Diagrams
A good way to tackle Syllogism questions is by drawing Venn diagrams. Venn diagrams are circular representation of a given statement and help in deducing the conclusion from the given statements. For instance, the Venn diagram can help in solving the following problem:
- All human beings are mortal
- Socrates is a human being
The above Venn Diagram clearly shows that Socrates is a mortal, which is the conclusion drawn from the given propositions. For any Syllogism, try drawing up Venn diagrams, which will help you arrive at the right answer. In Syllogism, two propositions are necessary to arrive at a conclusion.
Also, keep in mind that it is important to draw all possible Venn diagram related to the given proposition to arrive at a conclusion.
Syllogism questions can be easy to handle, provided you have practiced enough and are thorough with the concept of Venn diagrams.
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