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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 1 Part 19

One necessary, other problematic, negative necessary

1. If one of the premisses is necessary, the other problematic, then if the negative is necessary a syllogistic conclusion can be drawn, not merely a negative problematic but also a negative assertoric conclusion; but if the affirmative premiss is necessary, no conclusion is possible. Suppose that A necessarily belongs to no B, but may belong to all C. If the negative premiss is converted B will belong to no A: but A ex hypothesi is capable of belonging to all C: so once more a conclusion is drawn by the first figure that B may belong to no C. But at the same time it is clear that B will not belong to any C. For assume that it does: then if A cannot belong to any B, and B belongs to some of the Cs, A cannot belong to some of the Cs: but ex hypothesi it may belong to all. A similar proof can be given if the minor premiss is negative. Again let the affirmative proposition be necessary, and the other problematic; i.e. suppose that A may belong to no B, but necessarily belongs to all C. When the terms are arranged in this way, no syllogism is possible.

2. For (1) it sometimes turns out that B necessarily does not belong to C. Let A be white, B man, C swan. White then necessarily belongs to swan, but may belong to no man; and man necessarily belongs to no swan; Clearly then we cannot draw a problematic conclusion; for that which is necessary is admittedly distinct from that which is possible.

3. (2) Nor again can we draw a necessary conclusion: for that presupposes that both premisses are necessary, or at any rate the negative premiss.

4. (3) Further it is possible also, when the terms are so arranged, that B should belong to C: for nothing prevents C falling under B, A being possible for all B, and necessarily belonging to C; e.g. if C stands for 'awake', B for 'animal', A for 'motion'. For motion necessarily belongs to what is awake, and is possible for every animal: and everything that is awake is animal. Clearly then the conclusion cannot be the negative assertion, if the relation must be positive when the terms are related as above. Nor can the opposite affirmations be established: consequently no syllogism is possible. A similar proof is possible if the major premiss is affirmative.

5. But if the premisses are similar in quality, when they are negative a syllogism can always be formed by converting the problematic premiss into its complementary affirmative as before. Suppose A necessarily does not belong to B, and possibly may not belong to C: if the premisses are converted B belongs to no A, and A may possibly belong to all C: thus we have the first figure. Similarly if the minor premiss is negative. But if the premisses are affirmative there cannot be a syllogism. Clearly the conclusion cannot be a negative assertoric or a negative necessary proposition because no negative premiss has been laid down either in the assertoric or in the necessary mode. Nor can the conclusion be a problematic negative proposition. For if the terms are so related, there are cases in which B necessarily will not belong to C; e.g. suppose that A is white, B swan, C man. Nor can the opposite affirmations be established, since we have shown a case in which B necessarily does not belong to C. A syllogism then is not possible at all.

6. Similar relations will obtain in particular syllogisms. For whenever the negative proposition is universal and necessary, a syllogism will always be possible to prove both a problematic and a negative assertoric proposition (the proof proceeds by conversion); but when the affirmative proposition is universal and necessary, no syllogistic conclusion can be drawn. This can be proved in the same way as for universal propositions, and by the same terms. Nor is a syllogistic conclusion possible when both premisses are affirmative: this also may be proved as above. But when both premisses are negative, and the premiss that definitely disconnects two terms is universal and necessary, though nothing follows necessarily from the premisses as they are stated, a conclusion can be drawn as above if the problematic premiss is converted into its complementary affirmative. But if both are indefinite or particular, no syllogism can be formed. The same proof will serve, and the same terms.

7. It is clear then from what has been said that if the universal and negative premiss is necessary, a syllogism is always possible, proving not merely a negative problematic, but also a negative assertoric proposition; but if the affirmative premiss is necessary no conclusion can be drawn. It is clear too that a syllogism is possible or not under the same conditions whether the mode of the premisses is assertoric or necessary. And it is clear that all the syllogisms are imperfect, and are completed by means of the figures mentioned.


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