[FOM] fom submission: Mill on Aristotle and Euclid

John Corcoran corcoran at buffalo.edu
Fri Mar 26 10:17:52 EST 2004

Subject: Mill on Aristotle and Euclid 

FORMALIZING EUCLID'S DEDUCTIONS: The whole of Euclid, for example, might
be thrown without difficulty into a series of syllogisms, regular in
mood and figure. MILL 1843:I,191
Q1. Who commented on this absurdity? De Morgan? Boole? Hamilton? Frege?
Q2. Who took the brilliant J.S. Mill up on this? Who tried to do it? If
your standards were low enough, you could develop the illusion of
Q3. Where did Mill get this? He could not have been the first person to
clearly understand the ultimate goal of Aristotle's syllogistic and
misunderstand how far Aristotle was from reaching it?
Q4. Which contemporary historians have quoted this? Where have you seen
it before? Q5. Did Mill conceive of this on the basis of reading
Aristotle? Or did Mill get the idea from one of his predecessors, e.g.
Descartes, or one of the Port Royalists? Q6. Who realized the absurdity
of Mill's claim, but instead of simply ridiculing Mill, went on to
propose that logic be improved and strengthened to the point where it is
capable of "reproducing" all geometric demonstrations? 

John Corcoran
University of Buffalo
Buffalo, NY  14260-4150

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