December 15th, 2010
For those of you who don’t know, I minored in Philosophy (majored in Classics) at the University of Pittsburgh, and Pitt’s Philosophy program is ranked in the top 5 in the world.
I suspect that it is because the faculty in that department not only understands and can adequately explain the philosophical ponderings of esoteric philosophers such as Kant, but also because of their vast knowledge of Asian fruit.
Specifically the kumquat.
Truth be told, I had no idea what a kumquat was until the fall semester of my Junior year in college. My logic professor was teaching us basic arguments such as “If P, then Q. P, therefore Q” (that simple, valid argument is called modus ponens). And a good professor, like a good blogger, always uses examples. And anytime an argument used the letter “Q”, my professor would say “kumquat.”
For example, “If there is a pickle, there will be a kumquat. There is a pickle, therefore there will be a kumquat.”
Yes, I know that “kumquat” does not start with a “q”, but I doubt their high rank had anything to do with their spelling abilities, so I chose to ignore it. But really, he made sure all other examples matched. Why not Q? There are words out there that start with “q”! I guess logicians aren’t ranked for their creativity, either…
Anyhow, four years later, I decided to finally put to good use the only thing I remember from that logic class: kumquats are in fact edible fruit.
And now I have some logic to teach you using a simple modus ponens argument:
If it is a kumquat, it is sour.
It is a kumquat.
Therefore, it is sour.
I really wish I would have remembered that from logic class. I would have had some kind of warning about what was waiting for me underneath that peel.
I’m sure I looked like this kid:
In fact, I’m certain that I looked like him.
I’m also certain that if it is a kumquat, I will not eat it.
(unless there’s a good recipe for them…)