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Sorites

An arbitrarily long series of interlinked conditional statements that can be replaced by a new conditional constructed from the antecedent of the first and the consequent of the last premise.

If A, then B.
If B, then C.
...
If M, then N.

If A, then N.

For example:

If something is a square, then it is a rectangle.
If something is a rectangle, then it is a polygon.
If something is a polygon, then it can be drawn in one stroke.

If something is a square, it can be drawn in one stroke.

Name

The name “sorites” comes from σωρός [sorós], the Ancient Greek word for a “pile” or “heap”. It is used as a shorter form for the latinized term “soriticus syllogismus” and should not be confused with the Sorites fallacy.

Other names

  • Polysyllogism
  • Multi-premise syllogism
  • Modus Barbara  – a specific form of the sorites with exactly three terms.

See also

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