Chapter 8: The Second Exception to RCP; Hidden Complex Assertions

C. W. A. Whitaker

in Aristotle's De Interpretatione

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780199254194
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598654 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies

Chapter 8: The Second Exception to RCP; Hidden Complex Assertions

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Here, Aristotle exposes assertions that appear to make a single claim but which, because of the hidden complexity of one of their terms, actually make two claims. In such cases, both members of a contradictory pair may be false, and so RCP once again is violated. The background to this interest lies once again in the Topics, where we find a discussion of questions which are declared to be unanswerable, and which correspond to the contradictory pairs here in Ch.8. To answer a dialectical question is to select one member of a contradictory pair as true and reject the other as false: thus, by isolating those pairs in which RCP is violated, Aristotle marks out an area of questioning which a true dialectic must avoid.

Keywords: Aristotle; complex assertion; contradictory; De Interpretatione; dialectical question; questions; rule of contradictory pairs; Topics; unanswerable

Chapter.  5770 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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