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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 1 Part 46

'not to be this' and 'to be not-this' differ in meaning

1. In establishing or refuting, it makes some difference whether we suppose the expressions 'not to be this' and 'to be not-this' are identical or different in meaning, e.g. 'not to be white' and 'to be not-white'. For they do not mean the same thing, nor is 'to be not-white' the negation of 'to be white', but 'not to be white'. The reason for this is as follows. The relation of 'he can walk' to 'he can not-walk' is similar to the relation of 'it is white' to 'it is not-white'; so is that of 'he knows what is good' to 'he knows what is not-good'. For there is no difference between the expressions 'he knows what is good' and 'he is knowing what is good', or 'he can walk' and 'he is able to walk': therefore there is no difference between their contraries 'he cannot walk' - 'he is not able to walk'. If then 'he is not able to walk' means the same as 'he is able not to walk', capacity to walk and incapacity to walk will belong at the same time to the same person (for the same man can both walk and not-walk, and is possessed of knowledge of what is good and of what is not-good), but an affirmation and a denial which are opposed to one another do not belong at the same time to the same thing. As then 'not to know what is good' is not the same as 'to know what is not good', so 'to be not-good' is not the same as 'not to be good'. For when two pairs correspond, if the one pair are different from one another, the other pair also must be different. Nor is 'to be not-equal' the same as 'not to be equal': for there is something underlying the one, viz. that which is not-equal, and this is the unequal, but there is nothing underlying the other. Wherefore not everything is either equal or unequal, but everything is equal or is not equal. Further the expressions 'it is a not-white log' and 'it is not a white log' do not imply one another's truth. For if 'it is a not-white log', it must be a log: but that which is not a white log need not be a log at all. Therefore it is clear that 'it is not-good' is not the denial of 'it is good'. If then every single statement may truly be said to be either an affirmation or a negation, if it is not a negation clearly it must in a sense be an affirmation. But every affirmation has a corresponding negation. The negation then of 'it is not-good' is 'it is not not-good'. The relation of these statements to one another is as follows. Let A stand for 'to be good', B for 'not to be good', let C stand for 'to be not-good' and be placed under B, and let D stand for 'not to be not-good' and be placed under A. Then either A or B will belong to everything, but they will never belong to the same thing; and either C or D will belong to everything, but they will never belong to the same thing. And B must belong to everything to which C belongs. For if it is true to say 'it is a not-white', it is true also to say 'it is not white': for it is impossible that a thing should simultaneously be white and be not-white, or be a not-white log and be a white log; consequently if the affirmation does not belong, the denial must belong. But C does not always belong to B: for what is not a log at all, cannot be a not-white log either. On the other hand D belongs to everything to which A belongs. For either C or D belongs to everything to which A belongs. But since a thing cannot be simultaneously not-white and white, D must belong to everything to which A belongs. For of that which is white it is true to say that it is not not-white. But A is not true of all D. For of that which is not a log at all it is not true to say A, viz. that it is a white log. Consequently D is true, but A is not true, i.e. that it is a white log. It is clear also that A and C cannot together belong to the same thing, and that B and D may possibly belong to the same thing.

2. Privative terms are similarly related positive ter terms respect of this arrangement. Let A stand for 'equal', B for 'not equal', C for 'unequal', D for 'not unequal'.

3. In many things also, to some of which something belongs which does not belong to others, the negation may be true in a similar way, viz. that all are not white or that each is not white, while that each is not-white or all are not-white is false. Similarly also 'every animal is not-white' is not the negation of 'every animal is white' (for both are false): the proper negation is 'every animal is not white'. Since it is clear that 'it is not-white' and 'it is not white' mean different things, and one is an affirmation, the other a denial, it is evident that the method of proving each cannot be the same, e.g. that whatever is an animal is not white or may not be white, and that it is true to call it not-white; for this means that it is not-white. But we may prove that it is true to call it white or not-white in the same way for both are proved constructively by means of the first figure. For the expression 'it is true' stands on a similar footing to 'it is'. For the negation of 'it is true to call it white' is not 'it is true to call it not-white' but 'it is not true to call it white'. If then it is to be true to say that whatever is a man is musical or is not-musical, we must assume that whatever is an animal either is musical or is not-musical; and the proof has been made. That whatever is a man is not musical is proved destructively in the three ways mentioned.

4. In general whenever A and B are such that they cannot belong at the same time to the same thing, and one of the two necessarily belongs to everything, and again C and D are related in the same way, and A follows C but the relation cannot be reversed, then D must follow B and the relation cannot be reversed. And A and D may belong to the same thing, but B and C cannot. First it is clear from the following consideration that D follows B. For since either C or D necessarily belongs to everything; and since C cannot belong to that to which B belongs, because it carries A along with it and A and B cannot belong to the same thing; it is clear that D must follow B. Again since C does not reciprocate with but A, but C or D belongs to everything, it is possible that A and D should belong to the same thing. But B and C cannot belong to the same thing, because A follows C; and so something impossible results. It is clear then that B does not reciprocate with D either, since it is possible that D and A should belong at the same time to the same thing.

5. It results sometimes even in such an arrangement of terms that one is deceived through not apprehending the opposites rightly, one of which must belong to everything, e.g. we may reason that 'if A and B cannot belong at the same time to the same thing, but it is necessary that one of them should belong to whatever the other does not belong to: and again C and D are related in the same way, and follows everything which C follows: it will result that B belongs necessarily to everything to which D belongs': but this is false. 'Assume that F stands for the negation of A and B, and again that H stands for the negation of C and D. It is necessary then that either A or F should belong to everything: for either the affirmation or the denial must belong. And again either C or H must belong to everything: for they are related as affirmation and denial. And ex hypothesi A belongs to everything ever thing to which C belongs. Therefore H belongs to everything to which F belongs. Again since either F or B belongs to everything, and similarly either H or D, and since H follows F, B must follow D: for we know this. If then A follows C, B must follow D'. But this is false: for as we proved the sequence is reversed in terms so constituted. The fallacy arises because perhaps it is not necessary that A or F should belong to everything, or that F or B should belong to everything: for F is not the denial of A. For not good is the negation of good: and not-good is not identical with 'neither good nor not-good'. Similarly also with C and D. For two negations have been assumed in respect to one term.


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