Authors
Edward Halper
University of Georgia
Abstract
This paper addresses a central metaphysical issue that has not been recognized: what kind of entity is a syllogism? I argue that the syllogism cannot be merely a mental entity. Some counterpart must exist in nature. A careful examination of the Posterior Analytics’s distinction between the syllogism of the fact and the syllogism of the reasoned fact shows that we must set aside contemporary logic to appreciate Aristotle’s logic, enables us to understand the validity of the scientific syllogism through its content rather than its form, and explains the priority of the scientific syllogism over other valid syllogisms. The opening chapters of Posterior Analytics II help us to distinguish the entities that scientific syllogism must include as its terms; namely, a genus, an essential nature, and essential attributes of the genus. Often, the attributes are found in closely linked sequences. By exploring why there are such sequences and how they are linked, the paper argues that sequences of genus, nature, and sequential attributes are the basis in nature for the process of reasoning that we call the syllogism: we come to grasp the syllogism over time but the sequences to which it refers exist together in things. So understood, the syllogism, like knowledge of forms and truths, exists in us and in the world.
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DOI 10.1163/22134417-00331p05
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