Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 1 Part 44

We must not try to reduce hypothetical syllogisms

1. Further we must not try to reduce hypothetical syllogisms; for with the given premisses it is not possible to reduce them. For they have not been proved by syllogism, but assented to by agreement. For instance if a man should suppose that unless there is one faculty of contraries, there cannot be one science, and should then argue that not every faculty is of contraries, e.g. of what is healthy and what is sickly: for the same thing will then be at the same time healthy and sickly. He has shown that there is not one faculty of all contraries, but he has not proved that there is not a science. And yet one must agree. But the agreement does not come from a syllogism, but from an hypothesis. This argument cannot be reduced: but the proof that there is not a single faculty can. The latter argument perhaps was a syllogism: but the former was an hypothesis.

2. The same holds good of arguments which are brought to a conclusion per impossibile. These cannot be analysed either; but the reduction to what is impossible can be analysed since it is proved by syllogism, though the rest of the argument cannot, because the conclusion is reached from an hypothesis. But these differ from the previous arguments: for in the former a preliminary agreement must be reached if one is to accept the conclusion; e.g. an agreement that if there is proved to be one faculty of contraries, then contraries fall under the same science; whereas in the latter, even if no preliminary agreement has been made, men still accept the reasoning, because the falsity is patent, e.g. the falsity of what follows from the assumption that the diagonal is commensurate, viz. that then odd numbers are equal to evens.

3. Many other arguments are brought to a conclusion by the help of an hypothesis; these we ought to consider and mark out clearly. We shall describe in the sequel their differences, and the various ways in which hypothetical arguments are formed: but at present this much must be clear, that it is not possible to resolve such arguments into the figures. And we have explained the reason.

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