What was Aristotle's concept of logical form?

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6 Scopus citations


This paper argues (contra Timothey Smiley and John Corcoran) that Aristotle did not invent a 'formal language' for his syllogistic, and (contra Jonathan Barnes) that Aristotle did not analyse syllogistic validity in terms of logical form, if a logical form is some sort of syntactical schema. The paper also argues that Aristotle does not hold there is a canonical way of propounding a syllogism: namely, by using locutions such as 'X does/does not belong to all/some Y'. In this he differs from the Stoics, who probably did hold that there was a canonical way of presenting syllogisms. The paper concludes that these unusual locutions which Aristotle uses are ways of generalising over what propositions say, rather than attempts to (i) invent a formal language, (ii) provide a syntactical logical form, or (iii) suggest canonical language in which to propound syllogisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEpisteme, etc.
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honour of Jonathan Barnes
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191738036
ISBN (Print)9780199696482
StatePublished - May 24 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Alexander of Aphrodisias
  • Aristotle
  • Barnes
  • Corcoran
  • Formal language
  • Logic
  • Logical form
  • Smiley
  • Stoics


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