Question about Categorical Propositions (Logic)

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by LionHearted, Aug 14, 2002.

  1. LionHearted Registered Senior Member

    I am beginning my study of logic and I don't understand something about categorical propositions. In a particular negative propostion ("Some S are not P."), I don't understand why P is distributed. Ex: In the statement: "Some animals are not big.", what can we tell about every single member of the category "things that are big"? If something is big, I don't see how this proposition helps us find out if it is an animal or not. Also, the same idea is expressed by "Some animals are not big" and "Some animals are small", but according to Aristotlean Logic, the predicate of the first one is distributed but neither the subject nor the predicate of the second one is distributed. I would be grateful if someone could clear this up for me. Thank you.

    John Stanford
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  3. Nova1021 Registered Senior Member

    I think you just killed my brain....

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    Sorry, can't help ya... Welcome to the forums though!
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  5. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    A S or P is distributed if we can determine something about every member of the class from the proposition.

    In the case of "Some S are not P" we can determine that of the class P none are "some S".

    Using your sentence: Some animals are not big. We know of the category "big" that "some animals" do not belong to every member of the category "big".

    Note that "Some S" indicates a particular or sub-set of S. That P is distributed is easier to see if we identify "Some S". For instance "Some colors of the rainbow are not yellow." Well the colors of the rainbow that are not yellow are: red, orange, green, blue, and violet. We can say of the category yellow that no yellow is red, orange, green, blue, or violet. Thus making a determination for every member of the category yellow.

    Hope this helped.

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