, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 113-137

From Aristotle's Syllogistic to Stoic Conditionals: Holzwege or Detectable Paths?

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Abstract

This paper is chiefly aimed at individuating some deep, but as yet almost unnoticed, similarities between Aristotle's syllogistic and the Stoic doctrine of conditionals, notably between Aristotle's metasyllogistic equimodality condition (as stated at APr. I 24, 41b27–31) and truth-conditions for third type (Chrysippean) conditionals (as they can be inferred from, say, S.E. P. II 111 and 189). In fact, as is shown in §1, Aristotle's condition amounts to introducing in his (propositional) metasyllogistic a non-truthfunctional implicational arrow '⇒', the truth-conditions of which turn out to be logically equivalent to truth-conditions of third type conditionals, according to which only the impossible (and not the possible) follows from the impossible. Moreover, Aristotle is given precisely this non-Scotian conditional logic in two so far overlooked passages of (Latin and Hebraic translations of) Themistius' Paraphrasis of De Caelo (CAG V 4, 71.8–13 and 47.8–10 Landauer). Some further consequences of Aristotle's equimodality condition on his logic, and notably on his syllogistic (no matter whether modal or not), are pointed out and discussed at length. A (possibly Chrysippean) extension of Aristotle's condition is also discussed, along with a full characterization of truth-conditions of fourth type conditionals.