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The Relationship of aristotle's Two Analytics

  • Robin Smith (a1)

In 1928, Friedrich Solmsen argued that Aristotle's Posterior Analytics was largely composed before the Prior Analytics. Ross rejected Solmsen's position in 1939, and a rather lengthy series of rebuttals and counter-attacks between the two scholars followed. Quite recently, Jonathan Barnes has revived this issue with arguments in favour of something very close to Solmsen's thesis: that Aristotle first developed a theory of demonstration (‘apodeictic’) before he had worked out the syllogistic, and that the Posterior Analytics was originally conceived against this background. Subsequently, when Aristotle formulated a syllogistic, he is supposed by Barnes to have revised or added to the contents of the Posterior Analytics so as to make syllogistic the logic of Aristotelian science. Thus, Barnes says: ‘the syllogism is in fact an incidental adjunct to the theory of demonstration: the theory can be formulated without reference, explicit or implicit, to Syllogistic, and it could have been discovered by someone who knew nothing whatever about the Syllogism’ (pp. 33–4).

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The Discovery of the Syllogism’, Philosophical Review 48 (1939), 251–72. For a full documentation of the Ross-Solmsen dispute, see p. 17 n. 1 of the work cited in the next footnote.

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The Classical Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0009-8388
  • EISSN: 1471-6844
  • URL: /core/journals/classical-quarterly
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