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Aristotle - The Organon ANALYTICA POSTERIORA Book 1 Part 7

No demonstration may pass from one genus to another

1. It follows that we cannot in demonstrating pass from one genus to another. We cannot, for instance, prove geometrical truths by arithmetic. For there are three elements in demonstration:

2. (1) what is proved, the conclusion - an attribute inhering essentially in a genus;

3. (2) the axioms, i.e. axioms which are premisses of demonstration;

4. (3) the subject-genus whose attributes, i.e. essential properties, are revealed by the demonstration. The axioms which are premisses of demonstration may be identical in two or more sciences: but in the case of two different genera such as arithmetic and geometry you cannot apply arithmetical demonstration to the properties of magnitudes unless the magnitudes in question are numbers. How in certain cases transference is possible I will explain later.

5. Arithmetical demonstration and the other sciences likewise possess, each of them, their own genera; so that if the demonstration is to pass from one sphere to another, the genus must be either absolutely or to some extent the same. If this is not so, transference is clearly impossible, because the extreme and the middle terms must be drawn from the same genus: otherwise, as predicated, they will not be essential and will thus be accidents. That is why it cannot be proved by geometry that opposites fall under one science, nor even that the product of two cubes is a cube. Nor can the theorem of any one science be demonstrated by means of another science, unless these theorems are related as subordinate to superior (e.g. as optical theorems to geometry or harmonic theorems to arithmetic). Geometry again cannot prove of lines any property which they do not possess qua lines, i.e. in virtue of the fundamental truths of their peculiar genus: it cannot show, for example, that the straight line is the most beautiful of lines or the contrary of the circle; for these qualities do not belong to lines in virtue of their peculiar genus, but through some property which it shares with other genera.


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