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On Aristotle's Prior Analytics 1.14-22. (Book reviews: summaries and comments *).

ALEXANDER OF APHRODISIAS. On Aristotle's Prior Analytics 1.14-22. Translated by Ian Mueller with Josiah Gould. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999. viii + 270 pp. Cloth, $49.95--In this volume Mueller and Gould present the translation of Alexander's commentary on chapters 14-22 of the first book of the Prior Analytics. These chapters deal with modal logic as applied to contingent propositions and to combinations of unqualified premises and of one assertoric proposition. In the 58 page introduction Professor Mueller presents first a survey of Aristotle's assertoric syllogistic to turn next to combinations with a contingent premise in the three figures. He then passes to modal syllogistic without contingency. Modal syllogistic can be understood as an extension of assertoric syllogistic. Aristotle seeks to determine which modal propositions related to first figure assertoric syllogisms are true syllogisms (p. 12). The translation of Alexander's text is excellent.

In his commentary Alexander attempts to clarify the meaning of Aristotle's text or even to correct an occasional mistake. According to Alexander, Theophrastus made some suggestions to improve Aristotle's modal logic. However, as Sir David Ross observes (Aristotle's Prior and Posterior Analytics, Oxford, 1949, p. 46), Aristotle is mainly guided by metaphysical considerations. For him the distinction between the necessary and the contingent is of major importance.

Professor Mueller's introduction is a gold mine for the logician. The translation, which runs from page 75 to 183, is followed by 43 pages of notes which may be consulted at the beginning of each paragraph, so as to facilitate a better understanding of the subject dealt with. In a first appendix Professor Mueller considers the expression "by necessity" which Aristotle does not explain. According to Mueller, what is necessary belongs to the definition or is a property. It would seem nevertheless that we should first look for the ontological foundation of "belonging necessarily to something." In the following appendices certain texts of the De interpretatione are explained as well as Theophrastus' view of contingency. An English-Greek glossary, a Greek-English index, an index of subjects and an index locorum complete the work. The book is an important study, conducted which acuity. The students of Aristotle's modal logic will benefit from consulting this edition of Alexander's commentary on the Prior Analytics.--Leo J. Elders, Institute of Philosophy, "Rolduc, "Kerkrade, The Netherlands.

* Books received are acknowledged in this section by a brief resume, report, or criticism. Such acknowledgement does not preclude a more detailed examination in a subsequent Critical Study. From time to time, technical books dealing with such fields as mathematics, physics, anthropology, and the social sciences will be reviewed
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Author:Elders, Leo J.
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 2001
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