Commentary on Halper
Brill Academic Publishers
Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy
Edward Halper's "The Metaphysics of the Syllogism" argues that the ontological ground of valid inference is found in the necessity of the predications that constitute the premises of the sort of syllogism central to Aristotle's theory: demonstration. I further support his conclusion on the basis of a consideration of the title and structure of Aristotle's Analytics, as well as some recent analysis of Aristotle's modal logic. Halper however suggests mat the logical form of inference is a result of how the mind sorts out the elements involved in a complex unity. I suggest that it is not primarily the mind that does this work, but language. What the mind does is primarily to be understood as a reflection of what language does, not vice versa.