Friday, December 21, 2007

Aristotle's practical syllogism

A syllogism is a three-term argument which consists of a major, a minor, and a conclusion. The major premise is supposed to assert some universal truth like ‘all men are mortals’. The minor premise states a particular truth like ‘Socrates is a man’. The conclusion of the syllogism is drawn from the major and the minor premises like ‘Socrates is mortal’. Aristotle thought that practical reasoning could be represented in the form of a syllogism. The major premise in a practical syllogism would invoke an ‘ought to’ kind of action and the minor premise would invoke a particular instance of that action. The conclusion would respectively be the action itself that the major premise invokes.

Major premise: “Friends ought to care for one another and shouldn’t remain indifferent towards each other's mistakes.”
Minor premise: “Anita, a good friend of mine, is making a huge mistake.”
Conclusion: “The agent takes action and talks to Anita about the situation.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If individuals would make most of their important personal decisions with the assistance of Aristotle's practical syllogism (or one of the various modifications of it), then that would be very beneficial to those individuals and the various nations in which they live. Also, using such deductive, logical methods of making practical decisions would be morally good. Moreover, if one uses deductive arguments to help one make decisions, then one is more likely to base one's decisions on evidence and facts: because the premises of a deductive argument organise the most important evidence for (or against) this or that course of action. And the logical inference to a conclusion improves the logical capabilities of the individual.