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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 1 Part 24

One premiss must be affirmative, one universal

1. Further in every syllogism one of the premisses must be affirmative, and universality must be present: unless one of the premisses is universal either a syllogism will not be possible, or it will not refer to the subject proposed, or the original position will be begged. Suppose we have to prove that pleasure in music is good. If one should claim as a premiss that pleasure is good without adding 'all', no syllogism will be possible; if one should claim that some pleasure is good, then if it is different from pleasure in music, it is not relevant to the subject proposed; if it is this very pleasure, one is assuming that which was proposed at the outset to be proved. This is more obvious in geometrical proofs, e.g. that the angles at the base of an isosceles triangle are equal. Suppose the lines A and B have been drawn to the centre. If then one should assume that the angle AC is equal to the angle BD, without claiming generally that angles of semicircles are equal; and again if one should assume that the angle C is equal to the angle D, without the additional assumption that every angle of a segment is equal to every other angle of the same segment; and further if one should assume that when equal angles are taken from the whole angles, which are themselves equal, the remainders E and F are equal, he will beg the thing to be proved, unless he also states that when equals are taken from equals the remainders are equal.

2. It is clear then that in every syllogism there must be a universal premiss, and that a universal statement is proved only when all the premisses are universal, while a particular statement is proved both from two universal premisses and from one only: consequently if the conclusion is universal, the premisses also must be universal, but if the premisses are universal it is possible that the conclusion may not be universal. And it is clear also that in every syllogism either both or one of the premisses must be like the conclusion. I mean not only in being affirmative or negative, but also in being necessary, pure, problematic. We must consider also the other forms of predication.

3. It is clear also when a syllogism in general can be made and when it cannot; and when a valid, when a perfect syllogism can be formed; and that if a syllogism is formed the terms must be arranged in one of the ways that have been mentioned.


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