The Dennes Room

Event Detail

Fri Jan 25, 2013
7205 Dwinelle Hall, 5–7 PM
Working Group in Ancient Philosophy
Marko Malink (University of Chicago)
Essence and Modality in Aristotle

Aristotle’s modal syllogistic, found in Prior Analytics 1. 8-22, is the most complicated part of his logic. It has been disputed since antiquity, and is widely regarded as incoherent. This paper aims to arrive at a better understanding of the modal syllogistic by looking at the conception of predication that Aristotle presents in the Topics. Specifically, we will look at the Topics’ theory of the ten categories (substance, quantity, quality, . . . ) and of the predicables (definition, genus, differentia, proprium, accident). I will show how this theory can help us to understand Aristotle’s modal syllogistic, and to verify some of his central claims concerning the validity and invalidity of modal inferences (such as Barbara NXN, Celarent NXN, and the conversion rules for necessity propositions).