Colloquium 2 The Metaphysics of the Syllogism

In: Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy
Edward C. Halper University of Georgia

Search for other papers by Edward C. Halper in
Current site
Google Scholar
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



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.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 535 93 9
Full Text Views 67 2 0
PDF Views & Downloads 127 8 0