David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Phronesis 56 (3):193-203 (2011)
It has often been claimed that (i) Aristotle's expression `protasis' means `premiss' in syllogistic contexts and (ii) cannot refer to the conclusion of a syllogism in the Prior Analytics . In this essay we produce and defend a counter-example to these two claims. We argue that (i) the basic meaning of the expression is `proposition' and (ii) while it is often used to refer to the premisses of a syllogism, in Prior Analytics 1.29, 45b4-8 it is used to refer to the conclusion of a syllogism. In our view, the best explanation of Aristotle's use of the expression `protasis' is that it means proposition throughout but is frequently used without change of meaning (in certain specific contexts) to refer to the premisses from which a conclusion follows. In Prior Analytics 1.29, 45b4-8 he uses `protasis' to refer to the conclusion when he needs a single expression to refer to both the conclusion and one of the premisses of the syllogism that constitutes the core of a syllogism through the impossible. If we are correct, we have shown that the view that the expression `the final protasis' in EN 7.3, 1147b9ff must mean `the final premiss' and so cannot refer to the conclusion of the relevant syllogism is mistaken
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