I like to appear smart. Even if it turns out I am not. It is a little quirk of mine. In case some of you also like to appear smart, here is a little trick to do so. It works surprisingly often. Just use Latin names for things that everyone knows. People seem to think knowing the Latin name for a concept shows an uncommonly strong understanding of it. I’m not really sure why. I hope that doesn’t mean I not smart.
One good Latin term to use is â€œmodus ponens.â€ It is a logical operation, a rule that allows us to arrive at a conclusion (using the term â€œlogical operationâ€ can also make one look smart). Modus Ponens is perhaps the simplest and most useful latin nam’ed logical operation.
Here is a quick example of it:
1) If A then B
3) Therefore, B
Our friend modus ponens (and the first two statements) allow us to conclude that B is true. Modus Pones can be thought of as the fulfillment of an if-then statement. But, those variables are boring. So let’s look at another example of modus pones, this time with a real life situation.
1) If you are in a job interview and someone asks what the volume of your spleen is, then you don’t want the job.
2) You are in a job interview and someone just asked what the volume of your spleen is.
3) Therefore, get out of there now (you don’t want the job).
If you find yourself in a situation where someone has just pulled â€œthe modus ponensâ€ on you, don’t worry. There are some very effective ways to respond and still look smart. Almost all of the conceptual work in an argument that uses modes ponens is done by the if-then statement. Just challenge that.
Here is an example of a viable response:
“But, vampires throw the best parties and they always ask the volume of my spleen.”