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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 2 Part 25

Reduction

1. By reduction we mean an argument in which the first term clearly belongs to the middle, but the relation of the middle to the last term is uncertain though equally or more probable than the conclusion; or again an argument in which the terms intermediate between the last term and the middle are few. For in any of these cases it turns out that we approach more nearly to knowledge. For example let A stand for what can be taught, B for knowledge, C for justice. Now it is clear that knowledge can be taught: but it is uncertain whether virtue is knowledge. If now the statement BC is equally or more probable than AC, we have a reduction: for we are nearer to knowledge, since we have taken a new term, being so far without knowledge that A belongs to C. Or again suppose that the terms intermediate between B and C are few: for thus too we are nearer knowledge. For example let D stand for squaring, E for rectilinear figure, F for circle. If there were only one term intermediate between E and F (viz. that the circle is made equal to a rectilinear figure by the help of lunules), we should be near to knowledge. But when BC is not more probable than AC, and the intermediate terms are not few, I do not call this reduction: nor again when the statement BC is immediate: for such a statement is knowledge.


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