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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 1 Part 38

Terms repeated in the premisses

1. A term which is repeated in the premisses ought to be joined to the first extreme, not to the middle. I mean for example that if a syllogism should be made proving that there is knowledge of justice, that it is good, the expression 'that it is good' (or 'qua good') should be joined to the first term. Let A stand for 'knowledge that it is good', B for good, C for justice. It is true to predicate A of B. For of the good there is knowledge that it is good. Also it is true to predicate B of C. For justice is identical with a good. In this way an analysis of the argument can be made. But if the expression 'that it is good' were added to B, the conclusion will not follow: for A will be true of B, but B will not be true of C. For to predicate of justice the term 'good that it is good' is false and not intelligible. Similarly if it should be proved that the healthy is an object of knowledge qua good, of goat-stag an object of knowledge qua not existing, or man perishable qua an object of sense: in every case in which an addition is made to the predicate, the addition must be joined to the extreme.

2. The position of the terms is not the same when something is established without qualification and when it is qualified by some attribute or condition, e.g. when the good is proved to be an object of knowledge and when it is proved to be an object of knowledge that it is good. If it has been proved to be an object of knowledge without qualification, we must put as middle term 'that which is', but if we add the qualification 'that it is good', the middle term must be 'that which is something'. Let A stand for 'knowledge that it is something', B stand for 'something', and C stand for 'good'. It is true to predicate A of B: for ex hypothesi there is a science of that which is something, that it is something. B too is true of C: for that which C represents is something. Consequently A is true of C: there will then be knowledge of the good, that it is good: for ex hypothesi the term 'something' indicates the thing's special nature. But if 'being' were taken as middle and 'being' simply were joined to the extreme, not 'being something', we should not have had a syllogism proving that there is knowledge of the good, that it is good, but that it is; e.g. let A stand for knowledge that it is, B for being, C for good. Clearly then in syllogisms which are thus limited we must take the terms in the way stated.


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