Aristotleʼs Logic as a Problem-Solving Tool
This paper argues that the traditional description of Aristotelian logic as a “tool” (organon) of philosophy corresponds to the instrumental role of Aristotle’s logical investigations in the context of dialectical debates and scientific inquiry. Aristotle investigates propositions and their mutual relations within arguments to provide a tool for the discovery of premisses which could serve to refute or establish a conclusion regarding a particular problem. This is obviously so in the Topics, where problems are limited to the question of whether an attribute belongs to a subject or not; but it is also true in the Analytics, where problems include the questions of why an attribute belongs to a subject or what a particular state of affairs, which can be analysed into a predicative relation, is. Basing itself mainly on Prior Analytics I,27–8 and Alexander’s commentary on these chapters, the paper shows how the classification of syllogistic modes in the Prior Analytics, in addition to and inclusive of the classification of predicates and propositions in the Topics, is supposed to be helpful in solving both dialectical and scientific problems.