Review of Metaphysics 67 (1):29-54 (2013)

Jean-Louis Hudry
Université de Neuchâtel
Aristotle’s Prior Analytics identifies deductions simpliciter with inferential necessity, so that a deduced conclusion is necessarily inferred from some premises. Modern logical reconstructions claim that inferential necessity in Aristotle corresponds to logical validity. However, this logical reconstruction fails on two accounts. First, logical validity does not highlight Aristotle’s distinction between inferential necessity and predicative necessity, meaning that the inferential necessity of a deduction is not of the same kind as the predicative necessity of a non‑deductive argument. Second, logical validity does not explain the relevance of Aristotle’s distinction between complete and incomplete deductions. Logicians speak of complete deduction by adding the term “obvious” or “transparent” to logical validity, and then criticize Aristotle’s view for being unclear. However, Aristotle’s position is not confronted with this difficulty. There is nothing to add to inferential necessity, which already means complete deducibility, as opposed to incomplete deducibility, deemed to be potentially complete. Accordingly, the Prior Analytics reduces the incomplete deductions to the complete deductions in order to prove the potential, inferential necessity of the incomplete deductions. Logical validity would have been faithful to Aristotle’s text, if it had been possible to coin a notion of potential validity, distinct from both validity and invalidity
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph201367173
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