© 1996

The Logic of Essentialism

An Interpretation of Aristotle’s Modal Syllogistic


Part of the The New Synthese Historical Library book series (SYNL, volume 43)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Paul Thom
    Pages 1-6
  3. Paul Thom
    Pages 7-30
  4. Paul Thom
    Pages 31-46
  5. Paul Thom
    Pages 47-85
  6. Paul Thom
    Pages 86-122
  7. Paul Thom
    Pages 123-138
  8. Paul Thom
    Pages 139-193
  9. Paul Thom
    Pages 194-250
  10. Paul Thom
    Pages 251-266
  11. Paul Thom
    Pages 267-313
  12. Paul Thom
    Pages 314-351
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 352-384

About this book


Aristotle's modal syllogistic has been an object of study ever since the time of Theophrastus; but these studies (apart from an intense flowering in the Middle Ages) have been somewhat desultory. Remarkably, in the 1990s several new lines of research have appeared, with series of original publications by Fred Johnson, Richard Patterson and Ulrich Nortmann. Johnson presented for the first time a formal semantics adequate to a de re reading of the apodeictic syllogistic; this was based on a simple intuition linking the modal syllogistic to Aristotelian metaphysics. Nortmann developed an ingenious de dicto analysis. Patterson articulated the links (both theoretical and genetic) between the modal syllogistic and the metaphysics, using an analysis which strictly speaking is neither de re nor de dicto. My own studies in this field date from 1976, when my colleague Peter Roeper and I jointly wrote a paper "Aristotle's apodeictic syllogisms" for the XXIInd History of Logic Conference in Krakow. This paper contained the disjunctive reading of particular affirmative apodeictic propositions, which I still favour. Nonetheless, I did not consider that paper's results decisive or comprehensive enough to publish, and my 1981 book The Syllogism contained no treatment of the modal syllogism. The paper's ideas lay dormant till 1989, when I read Johnson's and Patterson's initial articles. I began publishing on the topic in 1991. Gradually my thoughts acquired a certain comprehensiveness and systematicity, till in 1993 I was able to take a semester's sabbatical to write up a draft of this book.


Aristotle Plato logic metaphysics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Faculty of ArtsThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Logic of Essentialism
  • Book Subtitle An Interpretation of Aristotle’s Modal Syllogistic
  • Authors P. Thom
  • Series Title The New Synthese Historical Library
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1996
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-7923-3987-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-010-7244-1
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-009-1663-0
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XII, 384
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Classical Philosophy
    Medieval Philosophy
  • Buy this book on publisher's site