Aristotle on the Non-Cause Fallacy

History and Philosophy of Logic 37 (1):9-32 (2016)
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Abstract

When in classical formal logic the notions of deduction, valid inference and logical consequence are defined, causal language plays no role. The founder of western logic, Aristotle, identified ‘non-cause’, or ‘positing as cause what is not a cause’, as a logical fallacy. I argue that a systematic re-examination of Aristotle's analysis of NCF, and the related language of logical causality, in the Sophistical Refutations, Topics, Analytics and Rhetoric, helps us to understand his conception of. It reveals that Aristotle's syllogismhood is non-monotonic, and thus narrower than classical validity as consisting in, or coextensive with, necessary truth-preservation. It also supports the conclusion that a syllogism is a form of relevant consequence: the premisses must be causes of the conclusion in the sense that they are not only sufficient but also necessary for the conclusion to follow. Close analysis of NCF also suggests that syllogistic relevance is not a semantic matter, but a syntactic..

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Luca Castagnoli
Oxford University

References found in this work

Fallacies.Charles Leonard Hamblin - 1970 - Newport News, Va.: Vale Press.
What Is Logical Validity.Hartry Field - 2015 - In Colin R. Caret & Ole T. Hjortland (eds.), Foundations of Logical Consequence. Oxford University Press.
The Complete Works of Aristotle. The Revised Oxford Translation.Jonathan Barnes - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 176 (4):493-494.
Aristotle's Prior Analytics.Robin Smith - 1989 - Hackett Publishing Company.

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