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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 1 Part 3

Necessary and possible premisses

1. The same manner of conversion will hold good also in respect of necessary premisses. The universal negative converts universally; each of the affirmatives converts into a particular. If it is necessary that no B is A, it is necessary also that no A is B. For if it is possible that some A is B, it would be possible also that some B is A. If all or some B is A of necessity, it is necessary also that some A is B: for if there were no necessity, neither would some of the Bs be A necessarily. But the particular negative does not convert, for the same reason which we have already stated.

2. In respect of possible premisses, since possibility is used in several senses (for we say that what is necessary and what is not necessary and what is potential is possible), affirmative statements will all convert in a manner similar to those described. For if it is possible that all or some B is A, it will be possible that some A is B. For if that were not possible, then no B could possibly be A. This has been already proved. But in negative statements the case is different. Whatever is said to be possible, either because B necessarily is A, or because B is not necessarily A, admits of conversion like other negative statements, e.g. if one should say, it is possible that man is not horse, or that no garment is white. For in the former case the one term necessarily does not belong to the other; in the latter there is no necessity that it should: and the premiss converts like other negative statements. For if it is possible for no man to be a horse, it is also admissible for no horse to be a man; and if it is admissible for no garment to be white, it is also admissible for nothing white to be a garment. For if any white thing must be a garment, then some garment will necessarily be white. This has been already proved. The particular negative also must be treated like those dealt with above. But if anything is said to be possible because it is the general rule and natural (and it is in this way we define the possible), the negative premisses can no longer be converted like the simple negatives; the universal negative premiss does not convert, and the particular does. This will be plain when we speak about the possible. At present we may take this much as clear in addition to what has been said: the statement that it is possible that no B is A or some B is not A is affirmative in form: for the expression 'is possible' ranks along with 'is', and 'is' makes an affirmation always and in every case, whatever the terms to which it is added, in predication, e.g. 'it is not-good' or 'it is not-white' or in a word 'it is not-this'. But this also will be proved in the sequel. In conversion these premisses will behave like the other affirmative propositions.


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