Aristotle's Prior Analytics book I : Translated with an introduction and commentary: Translated with an introduction and commentary

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OUP Oxford, May 21, 2009 - 288 pages
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Aristotle's Prior Analytics marks the beginning of formal logic. For Aristotle himself, this meant the discovery of a general theory of valid deductive argument, a project that he had described as either impossible or impracticable, probably not very long before he actually came up with syllogistic reasoning. A syllogism is the inferring of one proposition from two others of a particular form, and it is the subject of the Prior Analytics. The first book, to which this volume is devoted, offers a fairly coherent presentation of Aristotle's logic as a general theory of deductive argument.

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This is an excerpt from Corcoran's NDPR review.
This book is not suitable for use in an undergraduate course. It has too many quirks that the teacher would
want to warn against: it rarely italicizes Organon, it rarely capitalizes the first letter of De Interpretatione, it is inconsistent in use of quotation marks to name expressions, and it introduces dozens of strange and improper hyphenations used as substantives: e.g., argument-form, class-relation, de dicto-interpretation, de dicto-de re, Euler-diagram, necessity-premise, premises-pairs, reductio-argument, term-example, term-relation, and 'A belongs to B'-term. There are puzzling lapses in uniformity in style: e.g., although on the title page the work translated is called Book I, the chapters are never referred to with the Roman I: e.g., chapters 7 and 23 are called simply 'A 7 and A 23', chapters 3 and 8-22 are called 'chs. 3 and 8-22', chapter 25 is simply '25', chapter 45 is called 'chapter 45'. In the first 264 pages, the column designations in hundreds of Bekker numbers are meticulously superscripted; thereafter on pages 265-6 all are printed in line as '24a10' and '24b14'. Jenkinson and Smith both avoid all such superscripting. A copy editor should have dealt with these things and with other matters such as incorrect punctuation and improper end-of-line divisions. But perhaps the worst copy-editing flaw for a Łukasiewicz renaissance scholar is to write 'Łukasiewicz', the name of the founder of the tradition, without using the Polish el-slash. I have yet to find one proper occurrence of 'Łukasiewicz' in the book.
The prose is heavily laden with glaring clichés. The one-page preface contains "longer than I care to remember," "more than I can possibly list here," "first and foremost," and "last and by no means least" -- a sentence later is devoted to thanking the "incredibly meticulous and helpful copy-editor." A few pages later the translator reveals the need "to find a path between the Scylla . . . and the Charybdis."
Moreover, the index is far from meeting the needs of undergraduate students. There are only 7 entries beginning with the letter A, 6 with B, and 3 with C. In comparison, Smith has 18 beginning A, 11 B, and 28 C. There are no entries beginning with Q, U, or V. The following are among the words that are not listed at all: absurd, add/divide, affirm/deny, a fortiori, all, analyze, analytics, antecedent, argument, assume, axiom, axiomatized science, begging the question, Bekker, belonging, Boethius, class, conclusion, consequence, consequent, consistency, contradictory/contrary, contraries, counterexample. I stop with the Cs except to note that the physician Galen, called a philosopher in the Introduction, is not one of the three entries beginning G.
The attention to scholarly detail is not what one hoped for from Oxford University Press. Boethius is not listed in the index nor is his book listed in the Select Bibliography although it is referred to on page xiv. The item by Ebbinghaus that Barnes lists as a book in his Patzig translation is formatted as an article on page 255, except that no page numbers are given. The name of the journal containing Striker's own 1985 article has three lowercase letters that should be capitalized. In at least two places there are potentially confusing misprints. At 26b10-15, this translation reads "let swan and white be chosen as white things" for what Smith correctly translates "let swan and snow be selected from among those white things." At 41b16, "angles AB and CD" should read "angles AC and BD."
Despite this book's flaws, many of which are easily correctable in a second edition, it will be found useful if not indispensable for those currently engaged in the field of Prior Analytics studies, which is still in its infancy, as readers of this



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