How We Make Deductions
Could one not almost say that the
Cold serpent on the poisonous tree
Was l'esprit de géométrie,
That Eve and Adam till the Fall
Were totally illogical
But as they tasted of the fruit
The syllogistic sin took root?
From W. H. Auden. Bold emphasis added. Screenshot
I learned from Google that these lines are from Auden's New Year Letter (January 1, 1940) to Elizabeth Mayer. I know that "l'esprit de géométrie" is French for "the spirit of geometry, which this Wordreference thread explains:
The French philosopher Pascal defined two fundamental "spirits" of thought. The "spirit of geometry" was the calculating and deductive kind, while the "esprit de finesse" (spirit of finesse) was immediate intuition without proofs or verification. The author is saying he is of the rational and deductive kind, which is why he goes on to emphasize that he deduced the other two passengers had buckled their seat belts.
But how do these lines relate to logical deduction?
What do they mean?
Why would the cold serpent have "l'esprit de géométrie"?
Before the Fall, Eve and Adam were sinless. So how were they "totally illogical"?
To what syllogism is 'syllogistic sin' referring? Can someone please write it in full?