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Aristotle's De InterpretationeContradiction and Dialectic$
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C. W. A. Whitaker

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199254194

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199254192.001.0001

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

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

(p.95) 8 Chapter 8: The Second Exception to RCP; Hidden Complex Assertions
Aristotle's De Interpretatione

C. W. A. Whitaker

Oxford University Press

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

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