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Chapter Summary

Relational inferences are a well-known problem for Aristotelian term-logic. A keen sense of the inability of Aristotelian syllogistic to handle such arguments involving relations was one of the driving forces behind the attempts of nineteenth century Western logicians to develop logic anew. This study shows logicians within the Arabic tradition long struggled with the anomaly of arguments involving relations. In the eighteenth century, several prominent Ottoman logicians decisively abandoned the classic Aristotelian assumption that a valid categorical syllogism must consist of two premises with one term in common, and began to investigate what they called 'unfamiliar syllogisms' with relational premises. This view has been enshrined in the only extensive modern survey of the history of Arabic logic, Nicholas Rescher's The Development of Arabic Logic (1964), according to which an 'ossification' of Arabic logic had set in after the thirteenth century.

Keywords: Arabic logic; Aristotelian termlogic; Nicholas Rescher



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