Readers will have noticed my habit of calling upon Aristotle to assist in the task of saying something sensible about fallacies. In so doing, I cut across the grain of what appears to be the received view of Aristotle as logician and fallacy theorist. On this view, Aristotle has been wholly displaced by subsequent developments, notably the Fregean revolution in logic (discussed in the Prologue of this book), and present-day developments in fallacy theory. My view is different [Woods, 2001]. The account that Aristotle gives in On Sophistical Refutations of syllogisms and of arguments having syllogisms as their core is extremely rich, notwithstanding the fragmentariness of the discussion. But if read with patience and sympathy, Aristotle’s contributions are ingenious, and have a resonance even today. There is, in my view, no better discussion of ad hominem arguments that the passages in the Metaphysics (and discussed in chapter 7). In that same chapter I laid out the structure of Aristotle’s theory of refutation. Here, too, there is no better account.
KeywordsValid Argument Receive View Category Mistake Modern Logic Invalid Argument
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