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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 1 Part 31

Division into classes is a small part of the method

1. It is easy to see that division into classes is a small part of the method we have described: for division is, so to speak, a weak syllogism; for what it ought to prove, it begs, and it always establishes something more general than the attribute in question. First, this very point had escaped all those who used the method of division; and they attempted to persuade men that it was possible to make a demonstration of substance and essence. Consequently they did not understand what it is possible to prove syllogistically by division, nor did they understand that it was possible to prove syllogistically in the manner we have described. In demonstrations, when there is a need to prove a positive statement, the middle term through which the syllogism is formed must always be inferior to and not comprehend the first of the extremes. But division has a contrary intention: for it takes the universal as middle. Let animal be the term signified by A, mortal by B, and immortal by C, and let man, whose definition is to be got, be signified by D. The man who divides assumes that every animal is either mortal or immortal: i.e. whatever is A is all either B or C. Again, always dividing, he lays it down that man is an animal, so he assumes A of D as belonging to it. Now the true conclusion is that every D is either B or C, consequently man must be either mortal or immortal, but it is not necessary that man should be a mortal animal - this is begged: and this is what ought to have been proved syllogistically. And again, taking A as mortal animal, B as footed, C as footless, and D as man, he assumes in the same way that A inheres either in B or in C (for every mortal animal is either footed or footless), and he assumes A of D (for he assumed man, as we saw, to be a mortal animal); consequently it is necessary that man should be either a footed or a footless animal; but it is not necessary that man should be footed: this he assumes: and it is just this again which he ought to have demonstrated. Always dividing then in this way it turns out that these logicians assume as middle the universal term, and as extremes that which ought to have been the subject of demonstration and the differentiae. In conclusion, they do not make it clear, and show it to be necessary, that this is man or whatever the subject of inquiry may be: for they pursue the other method altogether, never even suspecting the presence of the rich supply of evidence which might be used. It is clear that it is neither possible to refute a statement by this method of division, nor to draw a conclusion about an accident or property of a thing, nor about its genus, nor in cases in which it is unknown whether it is thus or thus, e.g. whether the diagonal is incommensurate. For if he assumes that every length is either commensurate or incommensurate, and the diagonal is a length, he has proved that the diagonal is either incommensurate or commensurate. But if he should assume that it is incommensurate, he will have assumed what he ought to have proved. He cannot then prove it: for this is his method, but proof is not possible by this method. Let A stand for 'incommensurate or commensurate', B for 'length', C for 'diagonal'. It is clear then that this method of investigation is not suitable for every inquiry, nor is it useful in those cases in which it is thought to be most suitable.

2. From what has been said it is clear from what elements demonstrations are formed and in what manner, and to what points we must look in each problem. \addcontentsline{toc}{section}{\hspace{0.1in}{\scshape Analysis of Arguments}}


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