History and Philosophy of Logic 35 (3):237-247 (2014)

David Botting
De La Salle University (PhD)
It is a common complaint that the syllogism commits a petitio principii. This is discussed extensively by John Stuart Mill in ‘A System of Logic’ [1882. Eighth Edition, New York: Harper and Brothers] but is much older, being reported in Sextus Empiricus in chapter 17 of the ‘Outlines of Pyrrhonism’ [1933. in R. G. Bury, Works, London and New York: Loeb Classical Library]. Current wisdom has it that Mill gives an account of the syllogism that avoids being a petitio by virtue of construing the universal premise as an inference-rule. I will show that both the problem and the role of inference-rules in its solution have been misunderstood. Inference-rules have very little to do with this problem, and I will argue further that nothing is gained with regard to this problem by the introduction of inference-rules in preference to premises
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DOI 10.1080/01445340.2014.896119
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Outlines of Pyrrhonism.Sextus Empiricus - 1994 - Harvard University Press.
What The Tortoise Said To Achilles.Lewis Carroll - 1895 - Mind 104 (416):691-693.

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