Aristotle's philosophically most explicit and sophisticated account of the concept of a (primary-)universal proof is found, not in Analytica Posteriora 1.4, where he introduces the notion, but in 1.5. In 1.4 Aristotle merely says that a universal proof must be of something arbitrary as well as of something primary and seems to explain primacy in extensional terms, as concerning the largest possible domain. In 1.5 Aristotle improves upon this account after considering three ways in which we may delude ourselves into thinking we have a primary-universal proof. These three sources of delusion are shown to concern situations in which our arguments do establish the desired conclusion for the largest possible domain, but still fail to be real primary-universal proofs. Presupposing the concept of what may be called an immediate proof, in which something is proved of an arbitrary individual, Aristotle in response now demands that a proof be immediate of the primary thing itself and goes on to sketch a framework in which an intensional criterion for primacy can be formulated.For the most part this article is a comprehensive and detailed commentary on Aristotle's very concise exposition in 1.5. One important result is that the famous passage 74a17-25 referring to two ways of proving the alternation of proportions cannot be used as evidence for the development of pre-Euclidean mathematics.
How do, according to Aristotle, peirastic arguments, which are employed by nonscientists to put professed scientists to the test, work, and how do they differ from genuine scientific arguments? A peirastic argument succeeds in unmasking a would-be scientist if it establishes an inconsistency among the answers given. These answers may only comprise: propositions which are proper to the field and which everybody can know; propositions which only scientists may know; “common” propositions that everybody, including various sciences, uses in all kind of arguments. On the other hand, a peirastic argument fails to do its job (and can be abused to make a scientist look stupid) if it either features or presupposes in addition propositions which would justify a fallacy (false common propositions), or if it purports to be scientific (even if the argument may be sound). The latter type of bad peirastic argument crucially depend on common propositions where scientific arguments explain by reference to combinations of the primitive items of the science in question.
The central aim of this volume is to foster a new understanding of Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations and thereby to enrich our knowledge of the beginnings of logical analysis. An important service for the scientific community to support this aim is the edition of a new translation of Aristotle’s work into English. The contributions discussing the original work were inspired by a onference in 2009 in Berlin which was the first one exclusively dedicated to Sophistical Refutations of Aristotle and brought together nearly everyone working on the main topics Aristotle deals with in that work. In Aristotle we see the onset of systematic theorizing about argumentation, including an account of the ways in which arguments, despite of being incorrect, may appear to be correct and of the relations between different types of argumentation (in science, in discussions with various purposes, in everyday life), but also of the connections with more general philosophical issues, like the meaning of words and the ontological status of universals. Fallacious Arguments in Ancient Philosophy It is, however, primarily because of its account of argumentation that Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations, together with the Topics, has caught the attention of those working in the field of argumentation theory. This collection shows that the study of argumentation theory in Ancient Philosophy, and with Aristotle in particular, is in good shape. At least some of the points made in the articles brought together here will withstand scrutiny and will advance our understanding of the beginnings of logical analysis. The authors: Jonathan Adler (†), Susanne Bobzien, Robert Bolton, Luca Castagnoli, Louis-André Dorion, Paolo Fait, Adrian Frey, Pieter Sjoerd Hasper, Wolfgang Kienzler, Colin Guthrie King, Raina Kirchhoff, Ermelinda Valentina di Lascio, Yakir Levin, Christof Rapp, Carrie Swanson - the first translation of Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations (transl. by P.S. Hasper)
History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis (HPLA) holds that the goal of systematic philosophy of uncovering and substantiating philosophical truths should also be a central tenet when investigating the history of philosophy, especially considering that historical texts were written with this goal in mind, i.e., out of an interest in truth. For this reason we should read these texts as potential conveyors of truths, and if — despite benevolent interpretation — this proves to be unfeasible, then as conveyors of falsehoods. Only in this manner can a lively dialogue with our philosophical past be initiated, and only thus can we properly pay tribute to it. On the whole, this approach promises to shed new light on classical texts, making them even more fruitful in dealing with the controversial issues of modern philosophy.
HPLA provides a forum for articles in which texts from the history of philosophy are approached with the aim of offering a systematic reconstruction of theories concerning pertinent philosophical problems (often deploying the resources of modern logical analysis in the course of reconstruction). Discovered theories or fragments of such theories can be carefully elucidated and developed further. In this way, novel questions can be put to an historical author, and profitably pursued within the framework of the established system.
The works of the history of philosophy should not only be honoured as historical documents, but first and foremost be taken seriously from a philosophical point of view.