Student Proves Opinion Correct by Posting Picture of Self on Facebook


Percy Worthington ’16 proved his opinion correct by posting a picture of himself on Facebook, sources say, pioneering a new 21st century style of argumentation that logicians are calling argumentum ad selfie.

“For a long time, I was really undecided about the issue in question,” said Andrew Emerson, who is friends with Worthington on Facebook but has not spoken with him in person since “Clash of the Colleges” freshman year. “But then I saw a picture of Percy on Facebook, looking photogenic and holding a sign, and I knew instantly that his views are unerringly true.”

Multiple students confirmed that they never would have come around to Worthington’s thinking were it not for the photo of his striking visage that graced their newsfeeds.

Worthington admitted that he could have used other, more conventional styles of argument to substantiate his viewpoint, such as: appealing to the moral conscience of his audience, providing hard data to back up his claims, or exposing a contradiction in his opponents’ views. “But,” Worthington smiled, “none of those things could have possibly been as convincing as my own pearly whites.”

Mathematicians have reacted to Worthington‘s discovery with delight. “In five decades spent studying axiomatic set theory, I’ve never come across any proof technique as powerful as argumentum ad selfie,” said Professor John Burgess, an expert in formal logic who holds joint appointments in the departments of Mathematics and Philosophy. Burgess and Worthington are preparing a manuscript for submission to the Journal of Philosophical Logic in which they use argumentum ad selfie to prove a number of unsolved conjectures in mathematics.

Burgess has used "argumentum ad selfie" to prove a number of unsolved conjectures in mathematics
Burgess has used “argumentum ad selfie” to prove a number of unsolved conjectures in mathematics

“It’s really a pity that argumentum ad selfie wasn’t discovered until today,” said Dohanue FitzWilliams ’65, Professor of Classics and a world authority on Ancient Greek and Latin rhetoric. “Imagine how much more persuasive Cicero’s writing would have been if the author had enclosed a marble bust of himself along with every copy of De Oratore.”

At press time, Worthington was busy honing his rhetorical skills by practicing his smile in the mirror.


–  JMC ’16.  Illustrated by AZ ’16.

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