Mereology in Aristotle's Assertoric Syllogistic

History and Philosophy of Logic 40 (1):1-11 (2019)
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How does Aristotle think about sentences like ‘Every x is y’ in the Prior Analytics? A recently popular answer conceives of these sentences as expressing a mereological relationship between x and y: the sentence is true just in case x is, in some sense, a part of y. I argue that the motivations for this interpretation have so far not been compelling. I provide a new justification for the mereological interpretation. First, I prove a very general algebraic soundness and completeness result that unifies the most important soundness and completeness results to date. Then I argue that this result vindicates the mereological interpretation. In contrast to previous interpretations, this argument shows how Aristotle’s conception of predication in mereological terms can do important logical work.

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Justin Vlasits
University of Illinois, Chicago


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