Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Doubt" is Better Than "Elf"

Recently I presented the following inductive logical argument to my daughter-in-law Allie. The argument is:

1. Any movie with Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman is probably better than any movie with Will Farrell and Bob Newhart.

2. "Doubt" has Streep and Hoffman.

3. "Elf" has Farrell and Newhart.

4. Therefore "Doubt" is probably better than "Elf."

2 & 3 are true.

If 1 is true, then 4 logically follows.


1. Oscars won: Streep - 2; Hoffman - 1; Farrell - 0; Newhart - 0.

2. Oscar Nominations: Streep - 10; Hoffman - 2; Farrell - 0; Newhart - 0.

3. Score: Streep & Hoffman 13, Farrell & Newhart 0.

4. From P 1-3 we conclude, inductively, as follows: Streep & Hoffman are better actors than Farrell & Newhart.

5. From 4 we conclude: the acting is better in "Doubt" than it is in "Elf."

6. The play "Doubt" won a Pulitzer Prize. The 32-page book "Elf" has won no prizes.

7. From 6 we conclude that "Doubt" is more well-written than "Elf."

8. From 1-7 we conclude that "Doubt" is a superior piece of writing with superior actors, and "Elf" is less-than-superior with less-than-superior actors.

Therefore P1 in my original argument stands.

Therefore my conclusion stands.
NOTE: That some will still find "Elf" superior to "Doubt" only points to their inability to render true aesthetic judgments.