Home > Appreciation > Clark Kent is a Superhero

Clark Kent is a Superhero

It was superhero day at school, and a senior had donned some fake glasses as his costume.  Confused, I inquired as to which superhero he was supposed to be.  “Clark Kent,” he said.  “Clark Kent is not a superhero,” I said.  “Superman is a superhero, and Clark Kent is his alter ego.”

A rousing debate ensued.  Well, it wasn’t really a debate; it was pretty much me against everyone else.

“No one calls out for Clark Kent in desperation,” I said.  I was being difficult in my typical way.  Yes, I was trying to make a legitimate philosophical point, but mostly I was just trying to intellectually irritate the students.  The controlled chaos of classroom debate continued

“Bruce Wayne is not a superhero!”   I was growing more confident in my stance, and sensed the argument drawing to a close.  I was ready to claim victory.  Then a clever student raised her hand.  The class quieted.

“Clark Kent is Superman.  Superman is a superhero.  Therefore, by transitivity, Clark Kent is a superhero.”

In a rare moment, I had no clever response.  In light of this stunningly elegant argument, I was forced to concede.  But I’ll be back.

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  1. March 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    +5 points to the clever girl in the back. It’s always the transitive property that saves the day. 😀

  2. Ivan
    March 13, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    And the Lord said, let Mr.Honner be wrong, and there was a mistake.

  3. Terry
    March 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    I would side with the student, though if the sentence had been “Clark Kent is known as a superhero”, then the statement becomes intensional and thus not transitive:


  4. March 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I appreciate the advice. I will be ready with my “appeal to intensionality” the next time I appear to be losing such an argument!

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