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Universals distribute Subjects.

Negatives distribute Predicates.

“Any Student Earning B’s Is Not On Probation”

A distributes Subject

E distributes Both

I distributes Neither

O distributes Predicate

Review

5.5 The Traditional Square of Opposition

The Traditional Square of Opposition

Four relations in the traditional square

of opposition

Rules to remember:

1. Contradictory: opposite truth value

2. Contrary: at least one is false (not both true)

3. Subcontrary: at least one is true (not both false)

4. Subalternation: truth flows downward, falsity flows upwards

Inferences from the Traditional Square

of Opposition

A number of very useful immediate inferences may be readily drawn

from the information embedded in the traditional square of opposition.

Given the truth or falsehood of anyone of the four standard-from

categorical propositions, it will be seen that the truth or falsehood of

some or all of the others can be inferred immediately.

If A is true: E is false; I is true; O is false

If E is true: A is false; I is false; O is true

If I is true: E is false; A and O are undetermined

If O is true: A is false; E and I are undetermined

If A is false: O is true; E and I are undetermined

If E is false: I is true; A and O are undetermined

If I is false: A is false; E is true; O is true

If O is false: A is true; E is false; I is true

5.6 Immediate Inferences

Conversion

Obversion

Contraposition

5.6. Further Immediate Inferences

There are three other immediate inferences that are not

directly associated with the square of opposition that have to

be considered.

These are:

1. conversion,

2. obversion, and

3. contraposition.

Conversion

“In general, we say that the converse of a given proposition

is obtained by exchanging the S-term and the P-term” (Hall, 2012:

78).

Conversion

Conversion is valid in the case of the E proposition and the I

proposition.

An example of an E conversion: “No men are angels” is

converted to “No angels are men”

An example of an I conversion: “Some politicians are liars,”

and “Some liars are politicians” are logically equivalent.

(either can be validly inferred from the other)

Conversion

and Cohen, 2013: 199).

true, it does not follow that “Some dogs are not animals” is

true.

An O proposition and its converse are not, in general, logically

equivalent. The first proposition is true, but its converse is false.

Conversion

The converse of an A proposition is valid only by limitation.

By a combination of subalternation and conversion, we can make

the converse of the A proposition valid by limitation.

If we know that “All S is P,” then by subalternation we can conclude

that the corresponding I proposition, “Some S is P,” is true, and by

conversion that “Some P is S.”

Example: “All dogs are animals”

by subalternation “Some dogs are animals”

by conversion “Some animals are dogs”

the inference from an A proposition to its limited converse is valid,

and without this limitation, the inference is invalid

Source: Hurley (2000)

Table of Valid Conversions

Convertend Converse

A: All S is P I: Some P is S. (by limitation)

E: No S is P E: No P is S

I: Some S is P I: Some P is S

O: Some S is not P Conversion not valid

Complement

of all things that do not belong to the original class.”

For example, the complement of the class of dogs is the class of

everything that is not a dog.

the complement term is usually formed by simply attaching

the prefix ‘non-’ to the term

Thus, the complement of dog is non-dog

Complement

the circle represents the class of non-dogs (cats, fishes, trees,

and so on)

Obversion

“to obvert a proposition…change its quality…and replace

the predicate term with its complement” (Copi and Cohen, 2013: 201)

The inference from any of the four standard-form

propositions to its obverse is valid (Hall, 2012: 80)

Obversion

The obverse of an A proposition “All S is P” is the E

proposition, “No S is non-P.”

The E proposition “No S is P” obverts to “All S is non-P.”

The I proposition “Some S is P” logically implies its obverse

“Some S is not non-P.”

The O proposition “Some S is not P” logically implies its

obverse “Some S is non-P.”

Note, however, that the subject term remains the same, and

so does the quantity of the proposition being obverted.

Source: Hurley (2000)

Table of Valid Obversions

Obvertend Obverse

A: All S is P E: No S is non-P

E: No S is P A: All S is non-P

I: Some S is P O: Some S is not non-P

O: Some S is not P I: Some S is non-P

Contraposition

There are two steps in order to derive the contrapositive of a

given standard-form proposition

(1) switching the subject and predicate terms and

(2) replacing the subject and predicate terms with their term

complements

Contraposition

Contraposition is valid for both A propositions and O

propositions.

An example of an A proposition: the contrapositive of the A

proposition “All students are wisdom seekers” is “All non-

wisdom seekers are non-students.”

An example of an O proposition: from the O proposition

“Some pets are not cats” its contrapositive is “Some non-cats

are not non-pets”

Contraposition

In general, the contraposition of I propositions is invalid.

The true I proposition, “Some citizens are nonlegislators” has its

contrapositive the false proposition “Some legislators are non-

citizens.”

The reason for its invalidity becomes evident when we try to

derive the contrapositive of the I proposition by successively

obverting, converting, and obverting

The obverse of the I proposition “Some S is P,” is the O proposition

“Some S is not non-P.” The next step is to take the converse of the

obverse. However, we have discussed earlier that an O

proposition and its converse are not logically equivalent. Hence,

in general, the contraposition of an I proposition is not a valid

form of inference.

Contraposition

The immediate inference of an E proposition to its contrapositive

is not a valid form of inference without an appropriate

qualification which is by limitation.

Contraposition by limitation is done by obverting, then by

converting, and by obverting again.

If we have the E proposition “No S is P,” and obvert it, we obtain

the A proposition, “All S is non-P.” Subsequently, we get the I

proposition “Some non-P is S.” Obverting this, we attain the O

proposition “Some non-P is not non-S.”

Source: Hurley (2000)

Table of Valid Obversions

Obvertend Obverse

A: All S is P A: All non-P is non-S

E: No S is P O: Some non-P is not non-S

(by limitation)

I: Some S is P Contraposition not valid

O: Some S is not P O: Some non-P is not non-S

Memory Aid

To help remember when conversion and contraposition yield

logically equivalent results, note the second and third vowels

of the words.

C O NV E R S I O N

-conversion works for E and I

C O NT R A P O S IT I O N

-contraposition works for A and O

5.7 Existential Import and the Interpretation

of Categorical Propositions

Existential Import

Boolean Point of View

5.7 Existential Import and the Interpretation

of Categorical Propositions

A proposition is said to have existential import if it asserts the

existence of objects of some kind.

The problem with existential import presents some problems

for the relationships suggested by the traditional square of

opposition.

Particular propositions, the I and O propositions, surely do have

existential import.

The I proposition “Some flowers are roses” asserts that there exists at least one

flower which is a rose.

The O proposition “Some dogs are not companions” says that there exists at

least one dog that is not a companion.

Existential Import and the Interpretation of

Categorical Propositions

A and E propositions by subalteration. Hence, Aristotelian

logic requires A and E propositions to have existential

import.

As a rule, “…a proposition with existential import cannot be

derived validly from another that does not have such import”

(Copi and Cohen, 2013: 210).

Review

Rules to remember:

1. Contradictory: opposite truth value

2. Contrary: at least one is false (not both true)

3. Subcontrary: at least one is true (not both false)

4. Subalternation: truth flows downward, falsity flows upwards

A and E propositions in the traditional square of opposition

are contraries. We discussed earlier that contraries cannot

both be true, but can both be false. However, if both A and E

propositions have existential import, then both propositions

can be true. Take a look at the example given by Hall (2012):

Example:

A proposition: “All the money in my wallet is yours.”

E proposition: “No money in my wallet is yours.”

If we assume that the A and E propositions have existential import – that is,

that there is money in my wallet – then both the A and the E propositions are

true when there is no money in my wallet.

A and O propositions with the same subject and predicate

terms are contradictories, and so they can neither be true or

false at the same time. However, if A and O propositions do

have existential import, then both contradictories could be

false.

Example:

A proposition: “All inhabitants of Mars are blond.”

O proposition: “Some inhabitants of Mars are not blond.”

If they have existential import, we assert that there are inhabitants in Mars,

then we say that both these propositions are false if Mars has no inhabitants.

Boolean Interpretation

In the late 19th Century, mathematician and logician George Boole

proposed a resolution to this dilemma by denying that universal

propositions have existential import.

This had the following effects:

1. I and O propositions have existential import;

2. A and O propositions and E and I propositions with the same subject

and predicate terms retain their relationship as contradictories;

3. Since A and E propositions have no existential import, subalternation

is generally not valid;

4. Contraries are eliminated because A and E propositions can now both

be true when the subject class is empty. Similarly, subcontraries are

eliminated because I and O propositions can now be both false when

the subject class is empty;

5. Some immediate inferences are preserved: conversion for E

and I propositions, contraposition for A and O propositions,

and obversion for any proposition. However, conversion by

limitation and contraposition by limitation are no longer

generally valid.

6. Any argument that relies on the mistaken assumption of

existence commits the existential fallacy (Copi and

Cohen, 2013: 213).

7. The result is to undo the relations along the sides of the

traditional square of opposition but to leave the diagonal,

contradictory relations in force.

The Modern Square of Opposition

References

Cohen, I. M., & Cohen, C. (2013). Introduction to Logic (13th Edition

ed.). Philippines: Pearson Education South Asia PTE. LTD.

Hall, R. L. (2012). Logic: A Brief Introduction. DeLand, Florida:

Stetson University.

Hurley, P. (2000). A Concise Introduction To Logic (7th Edition ed.).

Boston:Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Hurley, P. (2012). A Concise Introduction to Logic (11th Edition ed.).

Boston:Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Parsons, T. (2012, August 21). The Traditional Square of Opposition.

Retrieved January 4, 2015, from Stanford Encyclopedia of

Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/square/

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