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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 2 Part 4

... in the third figure

1. In the last figure a true conclusion may come through what is false, alike when both premisses are wholly false, when each is partly false, when one premiss is wholly true, the other false, when one premiss is partly false, the other wholly true, and vice versa, and in every other way in which it is possible to alter the premisses.

2. For (1) nothing prevents neither A nor B from belonging to any C, while A belongs to some B, e.g. neither man nor footed follows anything lifeless, though man belongs to some footed things. If then it is assumed that A and B belong to all C, the premisses will be wholly false, but the conclusion true. Similarly if one premiss is negative, the other affirmative. For it is possible that B should belong to no C, but A to all C, and that should not belong to some B, e.g. black belongs to no swan, animal to every swan, and animal not to everything black. Consequently if it is assumed that B belongs to all C, and A to no C, A will not belong to some B: and the conclusion is true, though the premisses are false.

3. (2) Also if each premiss is partly false, the conclusion may be true. For nothing prevents both A and B from belonging to some C while A belongs to some B, e.g. white and beautiful belong to some animals, and white to some beautiful things. If then it is stated that A and B belong to all C, the premisses are partially false, but the conclusion is true. Similarly if the premiss AC is stated as negative. For nothing prevents A from not belonging, and B from belonging, to some C, while A does not belong to all B, e.g. white does not belong to some animals, beautiful belongs to some animals, and white does not belong to everything beautiful. Consequently if it is assumed that A belongs to no C, and B to all C, both premisses are partly false, but the conclusion is true.

4. (3) Similarly if one of the premisses assumed is wholly false, the other wholly true. For it is possible that both A and B should follow all C, though A does not belong to some B, e.g. animal and white follow every swan, though animal does not belong to everything white. Taking these then as terms, if one assumes that B belongs to the whole of C, but A does not belong to C at all, the premiss BC will be wholly true, the premiss AC wholly false, and the conclusion true. Similarly if the statement BC is false, the statement AC true, the conclusion may be true. The same terms will serve for the proof. Also if both the premisses assumed are affirmative, the conclusion may be true. For nothing prevents B from following all C, and A from not belonging to C at all, though A belongs to some B, e.g. animal belongs to every swan, black to no swan, and black to some animals. Consequently if it is assumed that A and B belong to every C, the premiss BC is wholly true, the premiss AC is wholly false, and the conclusion is true. Similarly if the premiss AC which is assumed is true: the proof can be made through the same terms.

5. (4) Again if one premiss is wholly true, the other partly false, the conclusion may be true. For it is possible that B should belong to all C, and A to some C, while A belongs to some B, e.g. biped belongs to every man, beautiful not to every man, and beautiful to some bipeds. If then it is assumed that both A and B belong to the whole of C, the premiss BC is wholly true, the premiss AC partly false, the conclusion true. Similarly if of the premisses assumed AC is true and BC partly false, a true conclusion is possible: this can be proved, if the same terms as before are transposed. Also the conclusion may be true if one premiss is negative, the other affirmative. For since it is possible that B should belong to the whole of C, and A to some C, and, when they are so, that A should not belong to all B, therefore it is assumed that B belongs to the whole of C, and A to no C, the negative premiss is partly false, the other premiss wholly true, and the conclusion is true. Again since it has been proved that if A belongs to no C and B to some C, it is possible that A should not belong to some C, it is clear that if the premiss AC is wholly true, and the premiss BC partly false, it is possible that the conclusion should be true. For if it is assumed that A belongs to no C, and B to all C, the premiss AC is wholly true, and the premiss BC is partly false.

6. (5) It is clear also in the case of particular syllogisms that a true conclusion may come through what is false, in every possible way. For the same terms must be taken as have been taken when the premisses are universal, positive terms in positive syllogisms, negative terms in negative. For it makes no difference to the setting out of the terms, whether one assumes that what belongs to none belongs to all or that what belongs to some belongs to all. The same applies to negative statements.

7. It is clear then that if the conclusion is false, the premisses of the argument must be false, either all or some of them; but when the conclusion is true, it is not necessary that the premisses should be true, either one or all, yet it is possible, though no part of the syllogism is true, that the conclusion may none the less be true; but it is not necessitated. The reason is that when two things are so related to one another, that if the one is, the other necessarily is, then if the latter is not, the former will not be either, but if the latter is, it is not necessary that the former should be. But it is impossible that the same thing should be necessitated by the being and by the not-being of the same thing. I mean, for example, that it is impossible that B should necessarily be great since A is white and that B should necessarily be great since A is not white. For whenever since this, A, is white it is necessary that that, B, should be great, and since B is great that C should not be white, then it is necessary if is white that C should not be white. And whenever it is necessary, since one of two things is, that the other should be, it is necessary, if the latter is not, that the former (viz. A) should not be. If then B is not great A cannot be white. But if, when A is not white, it is necessary that B should be great, it necessarily results that if B is not great, B itself is great. (But this is impossible.) For if B is not great, A will necessarily not be white. If then when this is not white B must be great, it results that if B is not great, it is great, just as if it were proved through three terms.


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