Meet Willie. I love Willie. He was manufactured as part of a collection of trombones, but Willie’s a little different. He’s an outlier. He claims to be a trumpet. I willie love Willie. Saying that he gives me the willies would be superfluous at this point.
Willie has become a source of my philosophical angst. Is he a trumpet or a trombone? What is the essence of a trombone? What is the substance of a trombone? How does that differ from a trumpet? If we were to define a trombone too hastily, would Willie still be a trombone? Can we be certain that Willie is a trombone? There’s been a lot of speculation rooted in fallacy. Here’s the word on the streets:
“All trombones have a slide, Willie has a slide. Therefore Willie is a trombone.” (Affirming the consequent)
“If you’re a trumpet, you must make terrible sounding noises. Willie’s being quiet. He’s obviously not a trumpet then.” (Denying the antecedent)
“Calling Willie a trumpet is just as bad as changing the nomenclature on your compass! Woe to those who exchange north for south!” (Questionable Analogy; this whole entry is a questionable analogy)
“Honestly why are we having this debate? It’s absurd to think he’s a strumpet! Oh, trumpet, sorry.” (Reductio Ad Absurdum)
“Aw, poor little trombone. In my day, they just used to call them confused.” (Ad Misericordium; appeal to pity)
“Look, Willie has the slide of a trombone, so he’s clearly a trombone.” (Suppressed Evidence; The fact that Willie also has the valves of a trumpet remains unmentioned.)
“Willie the trombone is not allowed to sing, because even trumpets sound awfully bad.” (Equivocation; changing a word from one part of the argument to the next, using different words interchangeably)
“Telling Willie he ought to be a trombone is reasonable, we can fix him, unless of course he plays the jazz standards.” (Red Herring; decoy, unrelated information is made to sound relevant)
“You really can’t trust the storeowner’s opinion on Willie’s identity, he’s a guitarist.” (Ad Hominem; argument is wrong because of the person arguing it)
“Willie is a trombone! If you argue otherwise, I’ll pull out my bagpipes!” (Ad Baculum; appeal to force)
“After all, Willie is either a trumpet or a trombone…” (False Dichotomy; Whatever happened to Tubas? Trumpones? Trombets?)
“Why, almost everyone would agree that Willie is a trombone!” (Ad Populum; appeal to the majority’s belief)
“Well, Miles Davis says Willie’s not a trumpet, so I would agree.” (Ad Verecundiam; Appeal to authority)
“If we accept Willie as a trumpet, soon our trombones will all turn into bagpipes! The world will end!” (Slippery Slope)
Having played trumpet my whole life, I was disarmed one night when on a stage, I saw a trombone, and wanted to play it so badly. Oh Willie, Why must thou give me the willies? I don’t play trombone. I play trumpet. Willie needs a more versatile instrumentalist than me I think. This is a trumpet I’ll listen to, but I will not play. It’s a matter of will.
Personally, I just want to hear Willie sing. We’ll really never know what type of music Willie can make if all we do is sit around speculating about what type of instrument he is. Willie’s more that what you see. Let’s let him sing. Let’s free him to make the music which he truly wants to make. If we’re the ones calling it a choice, let’s let him decide. I just want to hear Willie sing.