Aristotle: On Interpretation

Aristotle: On Interpretation

Aristotle: On Interpretation

Aristotle: On Interpretation

Excerpt

Aristotle's most fruitful work began about the forty-ninth year of his life (335 B.C.) when he founded his school in Athens, and lasted until he withdrew to Chalcis in 323 B.C. His departure to the seclusion of Chalcis was generated by a charge of impiety apparently brought about by a mixture of political feeling and doctrinal hostility. It goes without saying that Aristotle has undoubtedly contributed more than anyone else to the science of logic. Certainly he had no predecessors in this field and there was not much by way of additional original contribution until centuries later. His logical works, which have been known since at least the sixth century as the Organon, or tool, comprise eight treatises, if one includes the Rhetoric and the Poetics: the Categories, the Peri Hermeneias (On the Enunciation), Prior Analytics, Posterior Analytics, Topics, and On Sophistical Refutations. It will be noted in this doctrinal, i.e., scientific, ordering of the logical works, that the Peri Hermeneias is second, but it seems to be later in date than at least three of the other logical treatises since he mentions these in this work: On Sophistical Refutations (at 17a 36), Prior Analytics (at 19b 31), and the Topics (at 20b 26). In fact, Father J. Isaac in his work on the Peri Hermeneias thinks that it may even have been a last work. His argument is that the reference to the Prior Analytics, which presupposes the doctrine elaborated in the Posterior Analytics on the demonstrations of definitions also establishes the Peri Hermeneias as later than the Posterior Analytics. In addition, the elaborate doctrine on enunciations about future contingent events in Chapter 9 and on the consequents of modals in Chapter 13, and the absence of any reference to the Peri Hermeneias in any other work of Aristotle may indicate that it was composed at the end of his life.

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