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Three Conceptions of Formal Logic

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Aristotle’s logical and metaphysical works contain elements of three distinct types of formal theory: an ontology, a theory of consequences, and a theory of reasoning. His formal ontology (unlike that of certain later thinkers) does not require all propositions of a given logical form to be true. His formal syllogistic (unlike medieval theories of consequences) was guided primarily by a conception of logic as a theory of reasoning; and his fragmentary theory of consequences exists merely as an adjunct to the syllogistic. When theories of consequences took centre stage in the Middle Ages, the original motivation for the theory of the syllogism was forgotten.

Affiliations: 1: University of Sydney

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