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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 1 Part 45

Reduction of syllogisms between figures

1. Whatever problems are proved in more than one figure, if they have been established in one figure by syllogism, can be reduced to another figure, e.g. a negative syllogism in the first figure can be reduced to the second, and a syllogism in the middle figure to the first, not all however but some only. The point will be clear in the sequel. If A belongs to no B, and B to all C, then A belongs to no C. Thus the first figure; but if the negative statement is converted, we shall have the middle figure. For B belongs to no A, and to all C. Similarly if the syllogism is not universal but particular, e.g. if A belongs to no B, and B to some C. Convert the negative statement and you will have the middle figure.

2. The universal syllogisms in the second figure can be reduced to the first, but only one of the two particular syllogisms. Let A belong to no B and to all C. Convert the negative statement, and you will have the first figure. For B will belong to no A and A to all C. But if the affirmative statement concerns B, and the negative C, C must be made first term. For C belongs to no A, and A to all B: therefore C belongs to no B. B then belongs to no C: for the negative statement is convertible.

3. But if the syllogism is particular, whenever the negative statement concerns the major extreme, reduction to the first figure will be possible, e.g. if A belongs to no B and to some C: convert the negative statement and you will have the first figure. For B will belong to no A and A to some C. But when the affirmative statement concerns the major extreme, no resolution will be possible, e.g. if A belongs to all B, but not to all C: for the statement AB does not admit of conversion, nor would there be a syllogism if it did.

4. Again syllogisms in the third figure cannot all be resolved into the first, though all syllogisms in the first figure can be resolved into the third. Let A belong to all B and B to some C. Since the particular affirmative is convertible, C will belong to some B: but A belonged to all B: so that the third figure is formed. Similarly if the syllogism is negative: for the particular affirmative is convertible: therefore A will belong to no B, and to some C.

5. Of the syllogisms in the last figure one only cannot be resolved into the first, viz. when the negative statement is not universal: all the rest can be resolved. Let A and B be affirmed of all C: then C can be converted partially with either A or B: C then belongs to some B. Consequently we shall get the first figure, if A belongs to all C, and C to some of the Bs. If A belongs to all C and B to some C, the argument is the same: for B is convertible in reference to C. But if B belongs to all C and A to some C, the first term must be B: for B belongs to all C, and C to some A, therefore B belongs to some A. But since the particular statement is convertible, A will belong to some B. If the syllogism is negative, when the terms are universal we must take them in a similar way. Let B belong to all C, and A to no C: then C will belong to some B, and A to no C; and so C will be middle term. Similarly if the negative statement is universal, the affirmative particular: for A will belong to no C, and C to some of the Bs. But if the negative statement is particular, no resolution will be possible, e.g. if B belongs to all C, and A not belong to some C: convert the statement BC and both premisses will be particular.

6. It is clear that in order to resolve the figures into one another the premiss which concerns the minor extreme must be converted in both the figures: for when this premiss is altered, the transition to the other figure is made.

7. One of the syllogisms in the middle figure can, the other cannot, be resolved into the third figure. Whenever the universal statement is negative, resolution is possible. For if A belongs to no B and to some C, both B and C alike are convertible in relation to A, so that B belongs to no A and C to some A. A therefore is middle term. But when A belongs to all B, and not to some C, resolution will not be possible: for neither of the premisses is universal after conversion.

8. Syllogisms in the third figure can be resolved into the middle figure, whenever the negative statement is universal, e.g. if A belongs to no C, and B to some or all C. For C then will belong to no A and to some B. But if the negative statement is particular, no resolution will be possible: for the particular negative does not admit of conversion.

9. It is clear then that the same syllogisms cannot be resolved in these figures which could not be resolved into the first figure, and that when syllogisms are reduced to the first figure these alone are confirmed by reduction to what is impossible.

10. It is clear from what we have said how we ought to reduce syllogisms, and that the figures may be resolved into one another.


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