RCGP Monthly Philosophy Seminar, Wed 20 March 2024, Paolo Fait (Oxford)




The Research Centre for Greek Philosophy at the Academy of Athens

Invites you in the course of the Monthly Philosophy Seminar

to the lecture which will take place on

Wednesday 20 March 2024, 16:00-18:00 (ATH, GR timezone) at the Elli Lambridis Philosophical Library (9 Hypsilantou str., Athens).

Speaker: Paolo Fait, Anthony Quinton Fellow at the Faculty of Philosophy (New College, University of Oxford),

Topic: How can the investigation of demonstration and demonstrative science (Prior Analytics 1.1 24a10–11)

accommodate dialectical syllogisms?


Those interested may attend either in person or via Zoom.

Info: keef@academyofathens.gr



How can the investigation of demonstration and demonstrative science (Prior Analytics 1.1, 24a10–11) accommodate dialectical syllogisms?

I start by noting a conflict in APr. 1.1: Aristotle states that the treatise is about demonstration. But later in the chapter a digression on the notion of protasis indicates that the treatise will deal with dialectical protasis as well (24a16b15). The incipit was probably added later with the conclusive reprise at APo 2.19 99b15, binding together the two Analytics. Still, introducing the treatise on syllogism as a study of demonstration remains a strange move. Since I do not think that Aristotle was just careless, I try to understand why a general study of syllogism (of which demonstration is only a kind) should be an integral part of a treatise on demonstration. I try to apply ideas Aristotle articulates in the Metaphysics (Γ3 1005a18 and Ε1 1026a23), where first philosophy must provide a general study of being, including the axioms (PNC etc.). Aristotle argues that the first in a series of sciences must be universal and explains that even if the axioms also apply to second philosophy, investigating them only pertains to first philosophy. A similar arrangement was envisaged for the different branches of mathematics (common mathematics v. geometry and astronomy). In the paper I argue that demonstration and dialectic are ranked as first and second (as indicated by the traditional order of the treatises) and contend that the pattern of the Metaphysics can explain the structure of the Analytics too: since demonstration is first, its study must incorporate the study of syllogism in general. Moreover, this study must be as accurate as possible, since it is designed to account for the most rigorous deductive arguments. When in the Rhetoric he mentions analutikē epistēmē (1359b10), Aristotle claims that dialectic and rhetoric should not try to achieve its standard. In conclusion, the general theory of the syllogism applies to dialectic, too, although dialectic does not require a full scientific/analytic study of the syllogism. This helps explain why Aristotle does not try to apply figures and moods to the arguments of the Topics.


Wednesday, March 20, 2024
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