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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 2 Part 24

When the major term belongs to the middle

1. We have an 'example' when the major term is proved to belong to the middle by means of a term which resembles the third. It ought to be known both that the middle belongs to the third term, and that the first belongs to that which resembles the third. For example let A be evil, B making war against neighbours, C Athenians against Thebans, D Thebans against Phocians. If then we wish to prove that to fight with the Thebans is an evil, we must assume that to fight against neighbours is an evil. Evidence of this is obtained from similar cases, e.g. that the war against the Phocians was an evil to the Thebans. Since then to fight against neighbours is an evil, and to fight against the Thebans is to fight against neighbours, it is clear that to fight against the Thebans is an evil. Now it is clear that B belongs to C and to D (for both are cases of making war upon one's neighbours) and that A belongs to D (for the war against the Phocians did not turn out well for the Thebans): but that A belongs to B will be proved through D. Similarly if the belief in the relation of the middle term to the extreme should be produced by several similar cases. Clearly then to argue by example is neither like reasoning from part to whole, nor like reasoning from whole to part, but rather reasoning from part to part, when both particulars are subordinate to the same term, and one of them is known. It differs from induction, because induction starting from all the particular cases proves (as we saw) that the major term belongs to the middle, and does not apply the syllogistic conclusion to the minor term, whereas argument by example does make this application and does not draw its proof from all the particular cases.


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