Aristotles Modal Syllogistic


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Aristotle was the founder not only of logic but also of modal logic. . In the . Prior . Analytics he developed a complex system of modal syllogistic which, while influential, has been disputed since antiquity – and is today widely regarded as incoherent. . In this meticulously argued new study, . Marko . Malink presents a major reinterpretation of . Aristotles modal syllogistic. . Combining analytic rigor with keen sensitivity to historical context, he makes clear that the modal syllogistic forms a consistent, integrated system of logic, one that is closely related to other areas of . Aristotles philosophy. . Aristotles modal syllogistic differs significantly from modern modal logic. . Malink considers the key to understanding the . Aristotelian version to be the notion of predication discussed in the . Topics – specifically, its theory of predicables (definition, genus, differentia, proprium, and accident) and the ten categories (substance, quantity, quality, and so on). . The predicables introduce a distinction between essential and nonessential predication. . In contrast, the categories distinguish between substantial and nonsubstantial predication. . Malink builds on these insights in developing a semantics for . Aristotles modal propositions, one that verifies the ancient philosophers claims of the validity and invalidity of modal inferences. . Malink recognizes some limitations of this reconstruction, acknowledging that his proof of syllogistic consistency depends on introducing certain complexities that . Aristotle could not have predicted. . Nonetheless, . Aristotles . Modal . Syllogistic brims with bold ideas, richly supported by close readings of the . Greek texts, and offers a fresh perspective on the origins of modal logic. . It is generally reasonable to assume that a philosophical problem for which no one has yet managed to find a solution for over 2000 years is one that will simply end up as a notorious unsolved riddle in the history of philosophy. . After a variety of heroic but failed attempts over the past century, it became the consensus view among historians of logic that the interpretation of . Aristotles modal syllogistic represented a paradigm example of such a case. . Until now! . Marko . Malinks book presents an interpretation of this crucial branch of . Aristotles logical theory that is both exegetically plausible and logically consistent. . It is a landmark contribution not only to the history of logic, but also to the history of philosophical thought about the nature of predication and modality. . No one interested in these topics can afford to ignore it – . James . Conant, . University of . Chicago . This book is brimming with bold and original ideas. . It deals comprehensively with all issues relevant to the syllogistic and casts significant new light on its subject. . It is immensely rich in detailed interpretation of passages from . Aristotles works. . It is argued with clarity and rigor. . There is a considerable body of scholarly material dealing with this subject-matter, and this book deals knowledgeably with all the important contributions to the field, both ancient and modern. . The technical development is pursued with mathematical subtlety. . The book will be suitable, indeed necessary, for anyone doing research into . Aristotelian syllogistic, whether at graduate student or advanced researcher level – . Paul . Thom, . University of . Sydney