How to use Aristotle's Logic to be a better student
Today we will see a version of Aristotle's system of logic that will be pretty easy to understand, and once you do, you'll be able to apply it to your life. He believed that logic was the instrument we used to understand anything, and he developed what was known as categorical logic, widely accepted throughout even the 19th century, in which he asserted that the way we use the subject-predicate form is the primary expression of truth, and the way we use language can eventually be used to paint a picture of the world.
Using the CategoriesIn Categories, he establishes three ways that predicates can relate to each other in meaning: homonymy, synonymy, and paronymy, sometimes written as equivocal, unequivocal, and derivative. As you can predict, homonymy implies entirely different explanations, for example, "His wife cheated on him, he's pissed," and "He's had too much to drink, he's pissed." Synonymous is basically using the same predicate with the same meaning, like "Paintings are pretty," or "Statues are pretty." Paronymy is when one predicate branches out from the meaning of another, for example, "He is very well-learned," and "His knowledge of Aristotelian logic is that of a well-learned man." (That's going to be you by the end of this post).
These relationships between predicates are important when you relate them to the ten categories of things. The most important is substance, for it describes the thing in itself, and is separated into primary substance, which is the individual thing itself, and secondary substance, which is the species or genera in which the individual thing belongs. The other nine are quantity, quality, relative, where, when, being in a position, having, acting on, and being affected by, and their function is simply to describe what separates this individual substance from the others. Basically, the first step to thinking logically like the man himself is being able to actually describe the world that you're living in, and although the focus is universal, the universe is found in the particulars.
|Plato points to ideas, Aristotle is grounded in reality|
Because what you see is generally a result of your perception, and not the thing in and of itself, if through the Categories you can create various propositions about an object which combines or separates its concepts, and these actually correspond to the object itself, you can say that you've made a truthful statement. If you can correctly apply the categories, you can make logical deductions of the world around you, as all knowledge, acording to Aristotle, comes from what is already known. Say, for example:
- All humans are mortal
- All Athenians are human
- Therefore, all Athenians are mortal
- All dogs are mammals
- All mammals have fur and breastfeed
- All dogs have fur and breastfeed
How can we apply this?
It's pretty simple. If you were to summarize what Aristotle said in a sentence, it would basically be: Name things as they are and build on it. This also helps you create false assertions, for through the use of logic, you cannot simply invent a fact nor attribute characteristics to an object that it does not really have. All in all, knowing this will at least let you pay attention to the language you use to describe the universe, so you may avoid mistakes or inconsistencies, and thus, allow you to become an excellent student of the world.
Read more about Logic here: