Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, and A Beautiful Mind. I absolutely love these films! I love them because, first, they are set in beautiful locales – university classrooms and lecture halls. Second, their dialogues are so profound – the characters talk about life’s most poignant topics or issues in an intelligent manner. And third, the characters themselves are so fascinating because they are geniuses.
For the longest time, I have had this fantasy: to be like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, or Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, or Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. I wished that I were a super intelligent professor in a classroom full of students.
Mister Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters, and friends, tonight I will fulfill that fantasy. Tonight, you are no longer in Salt Restaurant. You are now in fact in a lecture hall in Oxford University. Whether you like it or not, you are no longer Toastmasters. You are now in fact university students.
Let me introduce you to a dear friend of mine. His name is Professor Logico L. Logico. Professor Logico is a member of the Philosophy faculty at Oxford University. He is the author of over 30 books on logic and love including Logic: A Concise Introduction; Fun With Fallacies; It’s Not You It’s Your Logic; Love and Other Illogical Things; Adventures in Logic; Further Adventures in Logic; and his latest, Logic, Logic, and More Logic.
Please help me welcome, Professor Logico!
Thank you, Dante, for that warm introduction.
Good evening, Freshmen! Welcome to Love and Logic 101, also known as How to Find and Marry Your One True Love Using Logic, or if you’re married, How to Stay Married and Sane at the Same Time Using Logic.
My name is Professor Logico L. Logico, but you may call me Professor L for short.
A man can try to convince a woman to marry him in only two ways: number 1, by appealing to her heart – through music, poetry, expensive gifts, and etc. – and number 2, by appealing to her mind. The former is a non-rational approach and it has a very low rate of success. The latter is a rational approach and it has a very high rate of success. In this course, I will teach you the rational approach. I will show you how to use logic to find and marry your one true love. If you’re married, I will show you how to use logic to stay happily married.
This course is divided into two parts: theory and practice. In the first half of this course, we are going to talk about the theoretical discipline that is logic. And in the second half of this course, we are going to use what we will learn about logic and apply it in our relationships.
Let me see the hands of all the singles here. Okay. Now let me see the hands of all the couples here. Okay, good. For the single guys here, your final requirement is a written exam and a wife by the end of the semester. For the girls, your final requirement is a written exam and a husband by the end of the semester. For the couples, you’re exempted. If you have no plans of getting married, that’s fine, I won’t force you. I will only require you to take the written exam and submit a thousand-page thesis on the history of logic and the philosophy of love.
Okay, so I’m going to give you a brief overview of this course.
For the first half of this course, we are going to talk about the basic concepts of logic. Logic is, of course, the science of evaluating arguments and constructing good arguments. And an argument is, of course, a group of statements, one of which is the conclusion and the rest the premises given in support of the conclusion.
How do we evaluate arguments? Simple. By asking two questions: Number 1, does the argument satisfy the logic condition? That is to say, does the conclusion follow from the premises if the premises are true? And number 2, does the argument satisfy the truth condition? That is to say, are the premises in fact true? If the argument satisfies the logic condition and the truth condition, then we can say that the argument is good.
Now, how do we construct good arguments? Well, simply by writing arguments that satisfy the logic condition and the truth condition.
For the second half of this course, we are going to apply our knowledge in logic to find and marry our one true love. We will learn important skills like how to develop a good pick up line.
So for example, you’re in a coffee shop and you see someone you like. You approach that girl, and you say, “Hi, excuse me, sorry to bother you. I just want to thank you for helping me. You see, I was just sitting over there studying language for my logic course and I couldn’t understand the difference between a word and a concept. Until I saw you and thought, ‘Ah! The word “beautiful” for example is just a linguistic tool that symbolizes the concept of “beauty” which in turn applies to a person such as yourself.’ By the way, can I get your number?”
Or if you already have a girlfriend, and you finally decide to propose to her, you can take her to Paris, or Busay if you’re short on cash, and before the Eiffel Tower pretend that your shoelace is untied. You then present the ring and say something like, “Oh Maribel, my love, will you marry me? But before you say anything, please allow me to present an argument that proves why, among your 20 or so suitors, I am the best and most qualified candidate. You will see that to refuse me would be a very illogical thing to do.”
Or if you’re a girl and your boyfriend finally decides to propose to you and takes you to Paris, or Busay if he’s short on cash, you can do this: Your boyfriend kneels and presents the ring, “Oh Maribel, my love, will you marry me? Please say yes or I will die.” You may then reply, “Oh, Juan Miguel. Oh, my love, a ring! It’s so beautiful. Tell you what, why don’t you go back to our hotel and write a good argumentative essay on why I should marry you? Your argument must satisfy the logic condition and the truth condition. I’m sorry, my love, but your proposal commits the argumentum ad misericordiam fallacy or the appeal to pity fallacy. I love your strong biceps, my love, but I also need a man with strong arguments.”
But if you’re a married guy, don’t, I repeat, don’t ever try to use logic to win an argument with your wife. Because you will lose. Just let her win and you’ll both be happy.
And that’s just scratching the surface. We’ll formally start the course tomorrow at 7 in the evening. See you all and don’t be late! I will not tolerate tardiness.
Thank you, Dante.
No, thank you, Professor L!
Fantasy fulfilled. Mister Toastmaster.
*Speech delivered at the Queen City Toastmasters Club, August 13, 2016.