Chapter 14: Contrary Beliefs

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 14: Contrary Beliefs

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The investigation of contradictory pairs has so far dealt only with assertions. Now we see the study turn to the relation between utterances and thoughts, established in Ch. 1. Aristotle questions which beliefs are contrary to each other, that is, which are the most opposite possible. He argues that the deepest error on a subject is to hold the belief that contradicts it exactly. Contrary beliefs are expressed by assertions that contradict each other. Therefore, if we demonstrate that a certain assertion expresses an erroneous belief, we have shown that it is contradictory must be accepted as true. This is refutation, the goal of all dialectical argument. In this chapter, then, Aristotle establishes the vital principle on which dialectic, and all the work of the Topics, rests. This final chapter of the De Interpretatione thus acts as the summation of the treatise, demonstrating the importance of the study of contradiction for dialectic.

Keywords: Aristotle; assertion; belief; contradictory; contrary belief; De Interpretatione; dialectic; error; thought; Topics

Chapter.  2786 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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