Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA PRIORIA Book 2 Part 26


1. An objection is a premiss contrary to a premiss. It differs from a premiss, because it may be particular, but a premiss either cannot be particular at all or not in universal syllogisms. An objection is brought in two ways and through two figures; in two ways because every objection is either universal or particular, by two figures because objections are brought in opposition to the premiss, and opposites can be proved only in the first and third figures. If a man maintains a universal affirmative, we reply with a universal or a particular negative; the former is proved from the first figure, the latter from the third. For example let stand for there being a single science, B for contraries. If a man premises that contraries are subjects of a single science, the objection may be either that opposites are never subjects of a single science, and contraries are opposites, so that we get the first figure, or that the knowable and the unknowable are not subjects of a single science: this proof is in the third figure: for it is true of C (the knowable and the unknowable) that they are contraries, and it is false that they are the subjects of a single science.

2. Similarly if the premiss objected to is negative. For if a man maintains that contraries are not subjects of a single science, we reply either that all opposites or that certain contraries, e.g. what is healthy and what is sickly, are subjects of the same science: the former argument issues from the first, the latter from the third figure.

3. In general if a man urges a universal objection he must frame his contradiction with reference to the universal of the terms taken by his opponent, e.g. if a man maintains that contraries are not subjects of the same science, his opponent must reply that there is a single science of all opposites. Thus we must have the first figure: for the term which embraces the original subject becomes the middle term.

4. If the objection is particular, the objector must frame his contradiction with reference to a term relatively to which the subject of his opponent's premiss is universal, e.g. he will point out that the knowable and the unknowable are not subjects of the same science: 'contraries' is universal relatively to these. And we have the third figure: for the particular term assumed is middle, e.g. the knowable and the unknowable. Premisses from which it is possible to draw the contrary conclusion are what we start from when we try to make objections. Consequently we bring objections in these figures only: for in them only are opposite syllogisms possible, since the second figure cannot produce an affirmative conclusion.

5. Besides, an objection in the middle figure would require a fuller argument, e.g. if it should not be granted that A belongs to B, because C does not follow B. This can be made clear only by other premisses. But an objection ought not to turn off into other things, but have its new premiss quite clear immediately. For this reason also this is the only figure from which proof by signs cannot be obtained.

6. We must consider later the other kinds of objection, namely the objection from contraries, from similars, and from common opinion, and inquire whether a particular objection cannot be elicited from the first figure or a negative objection from the second.

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