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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 1 Part 16

One premiss necessary, the other problematic

1. Whenever one premiss is necessary, the other problematic, there will be a syllogism when the terms are related as before; and a perfect syllogism when the minor premiss is necessary. If the premisses are affirmative the conclusion will be problematic, not assertoric, whether the premisses are universal or not: but if one is affirmative, the other negative, when the affirmative is necessary the conclusion will be problematic, not negative assertoric; but when the negative is necessary the conclusion will be problematic negative, and assertoric negative, whether the premisses are universal or not. Possibility in the conclusion must be understood in the same manner as before. There cannot be an inference to the necessary negative proposition: for 'not necessarily to belong' is different from 'necessarily not to belong'.

2. If the premisses are affirmative, clearly the conclusion which follows is not necessary. Suppose A necessarily belongs to all B, and let B be possible for all C. We shall have an imperfect syllogism to prove that A may belong to all C. That it is imperfect is clear from the proof: for it will be proved in the same manner as above. Again, let A be possible for all B, and let B necessarily belong to all C. We shall then have a syllogism to prove that A may belong to all C, not that A does belong to all C: and it is perfect, not imperfect: for it is completed directly through the original premisses.

3. But if the premisses are not similar in quality, suppose first that the negative premiss is necessary, and let necessarily A not be possible for any B, but let B be possible for all C. It is necessary then that A belongs to no C. For suppose A to belong to all C or to some C. Now we assumed that A is not possible for any B. Since then the negative proposition is convertible, B is not possible for any A. But A is supposed to belong to all C or to some C. Consequently B will not be possible for any C or for all C. But it was originally laid down that B is possible for all C. And it is clear that the possibility of belonging can be inferred, since the fact of not belonging is inferred. Again, let the affirmative premiss be necessary, and let A possibly not belong to any B, and let B necessarily belong to all C. The syllogism will be perfect, but it will establish a problematic negative, not an assertoric negative. For the major premiss was problematic, and further it is not possible to prove the assertoric conclusion per impossibile. For if it were supposed that A belongs to some C, and it is laid down that A possibly does not belong to any B, no impossible relation between B and C follows from these premisses. But if the minor premiss is negative, when it is problematic a syllogism is possible by conversion, as above; but when it is necessary no syllogism can be formed. Nor again when both premisses are negative, and the minor is necessary. The same terms as before serve both for the positive relation-white-animal-snow, and for the negative relation-white-animal-pitch.

4. The same relation will obtain in particular syllogisms. Whenever the negative proposition is necessary, the conclusion will be negative assertoric: e.g. if it is not possible that A should belong to any B, but B may belong to some of the Cs, it is necessary that A should not belong to some of the Cs. For if A belongs to all C, but cannot belong to any B, neither can B belong to any A. So if A belongs to all C, to none of the Cs can B belong. But it was laid down that B may belong to some C. But when the particular affirmative in the negative syllogism, e.g. BC the minor premiss, or the universal proposition in the affirmative syllogism, e.g. All the major premiss, is necessary, there will not be an assertoric conclusion. The demonstration is the same as before. But if the minor premiss is universal, and problematic, whether affirmative or negative, and the major premiss is particular and necessary, there cannot be a syllogism. Premisses of this kind are possible both where the relation is positive and necessary, e.g. animal-white-man, and where it is necessary and negative, e.g. animal-white-garment. But when the universal is necessary, the particular problematic, if the universal is negative we may take the terms animal-white-raven to illustrate the positive relation, or animal-white-pitch to illustrate the negative; and if the universal is affirmative we may take the terms animal-white-swan to illustrate the positive relation, and animal-white-snow to illustrate the negative and necessary relation. Nor again is a syllogism possible when the premisses are indefinite, or both particular. Terms applicable in either case to illustrate the positive relation are animal-white-man: to illustrate the negative, animal-white-inanimate. For the relation of animal to some white, and of white to some inanimate, is both necessary and positive and necessary and negative. Similarly if the relation is problematic: so the terms may be used for all cases.

5. Clearly then from what has been said a syllogism results or not from similar relations of the terms whether we are dealing with simple existence or necessity, with this exception, that if the negative premiss is assertoric the conclusion is problematic, but if the negative premiss is necessary the conclusion is both problematic and negative assertoric. [It is clear also that all the syllogisms are imperfect and are perfected by means of the figures above mentioned.]


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