Exceptions and Rules

Exceptions and Rules

Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

October 12th, 2010, 2:50 pm #1

As is often the case on some forums, gems arise most unexpectedly. A discussion about a truism, leads to some research into the truism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exception_ ... s_the_rule

Exception that proves the rule

Original meaning

The phrase is derived from the medieval Latin legal principle exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis ("the exception confirms the rule in cases not excepted"), a concept first proposed by Cicero in his defense of Lucius Cornelius Balbus.[1] In other words, the fact that an exception is stated serves to establish the existence of a rule that applies to cases not covered by the exception. Fowler's Modern English Usage gives the following example:
"Special leave is given for men to be out of barracks tonight till 11.00 p.m."; "The exception proves the rule" means that this special leave implies a rule requiring men, except when an exception is made, to be in earlier. The value of this in interpreting statutes is plain.
Similarly, a sign that says "parking prohibited on Sundays" (the exception) "proves" that parking is allowed on the other six days of the week (the rule).

The phrase may also be invoked to claim the existence of a rule that usually applies, when a case to which it does not apply is specially mentioned. For example, the fact that a nurse is described as "male" (the exception) could be taken as evidence that most nurses are female (the rule). This is a slightly looser interpretation of the original meaning.
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Joined: January 13th, 2010, 2:50 pm

October 12th, 2010, 2:55 pm #2


Common sense apparently isn't all that common; and reasoning apparently isn't always basic.


Thanks for the post & clarification.
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JVH
Joined: July 20th, 2009, 1:33 pm

October 13th, 2010, 8:36 am #3

As is often the case on some forums, gems arise most unexpectedly. A discussion about a truism, leads to some research into the truism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exception_ ... s_the_rule

Exception that proves the rule

Original meaning

The phrase is derived from the medieval Latin legal principle exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis ("the exception confirms the rule in cases not excepted"), a concept first proposed by Cicero in his defense of Lucius Cornelius Balbus.[1] In other words, the fact that an exception is stated serves to establish the existence of a rule that applies to cases not covered by the exception. Fowler's Modern English Usage gives the following example:
"Special leave is given for men to be out of barracks tonight till 11.00 p.m."; "The exception proves the rule" means that this special leave implies a rule requiring men, except when an exception is made, to be in earlier. The value of this in interpreting statutes is plain.
Similarly, a sign that says "parking prohibited on Sundays" (the exception) "proves" that parking is allowed on the other six days of the week (the rule).

The phrase may also be invoked to claim the existence of a rule that usually applies, when a case to which it does not apply is specially mentioned. For example, the fact that a nurse is described as "male" (the exception) could be taken as evidence that most nurses are female (the rule). This is a slightly looser interpretation of the original meaning.
 

An engineer, an experimental physicist, a theoretical physicist, and a philosopher are hiking through the hills of Scotland.

Cresting the top of a hill, they see, on top of the next, a black sheep.

The engineer says, <em>"What do you know, the sheep in Scotland are black." </em>

<em>"Well, some of the sheep in Scotland are black"</em>, the experimental physicist retorts.

The theoretical physicist considers this for a moment and says, "<em>Well, at least one of the sheep in Scotland is black."</em>

<em>"Well"</em>, the philosopher responds, <em>"on one side, anyway."</em>
<p align="center"> 
<p align="center">If the rule is that the exception proves the rule, then what's the exception that proves that rule?


Always keep in mind that the human brain can only comprehend 3 categories to put information in.

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Striver
Striver

October 13th, 2010, 12:57 pm #4

Common sense apparently isn't all that common; and reasoning apparently isn't always basic.


Thanks for the post & clarification.
At one time it was common sense that Earth is flat, and the sun rises in the East. To some it still is.
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Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

October 13th, 2010, 1:28 pm #5

It was never common sense that the Earth was flat. The ancients knew better. Thousands of years ago basic observers (i.e. scientists) knew the shape of the Earth.

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Joined: January 13th, 2010, 2:50 pm

October 13th, 2010, 3:09 pm #6

At one time it was common sense that Earth is flat, and the sun rises in the East. To some it still is.
Many times it leads to ideas that are different than popular opinion.
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Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

October 13th, 2010, 3:17 pm #7

Thanks for that. I was going at it from another angle. The fact is that popular opinion was never that the Earth was flat. Certain cultures may have believed it -- apparently some ancient Chinese believed it.

By and large though -- the idea that many ancients, or even Middle Agers believed in a flat Earth, is a myth.

http://www.bede.org.uk/flatearth.htm
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JVH
Joined: July 20th, 2009, 1:33 pm

October 14th, 2010, 7:23 am #8

At one time it was common sense that Earth is flat, and the sun rises in the East. To some it still is.
 

Yeah, silly humans, the sun does not rise.
<p align="center"> 
<p align="center">If the rule is that the exception proves the rule, then what's the exception that proves that rule?


<p align="center">
Always keep in mind that the human brain can only comprehend 3 categories to put information in.

New!! Improved!! Now With T-Formula!!
<img alt="[linked image]" src="http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc31 ... tworks.gif">
Last edited by JVH on October 14th, 2010, 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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JVH
Joined: July 20th, 2009, 1:33 pm

October 14th, 2010, 7:24 am #9

Many times it leads to ideas that are different than popular opinion.
 

.... is quite common.
<p align="center">If the rule is that the exception proves the rule, then what's the exception that proves that rule?

Always keep in mind that the human brain can only comprehend 3 categories to put information in.

New!! Improved!! Now With T-Formula!!
<img alt="[linked image]" src="http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc31 ... tworks.gif">
Last edited by JVH on October 14th, 2010, 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

October 14th, 2010, 3:05 pm #10

Non sequiturs.

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