Aristotle on “dunatos” as a label for imperfect syllogisms

In Graziana Ciola & Milo Crimi (eds.), Validity Throughout History. Munich, Germany: (forthcoming)
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This paper discusses the following question: why was the term “dunatos” (“possible”) employed by Aristotle as an alternative label for imperfect syllogisms in his discussion of assertoric syllogistic? My answer ascribes to Aristotle a bottom up perspective, in which he stresses what is necessary in the premise-pairs to attain target conclusions of a given form within a given figure. I argue that “dunatos” is employed by Aristotle to stress that an imperfect syllogism is always one of the possible options to attain a conclusion of a given form within a given figure. I also argue that this picture sheds some light on Aristotle’s clarifications of the final clause in his definition of syllogism.

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Lucas Angioni
University of Campinas


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