The “Square of Opposition”

The “Square of Opposition”

In On Interpretation, Aristotle spells out the relationships of contradiction for sentences with universal subjects as follows:

| | Affirmation | Denial |
| Universal | Every A is B | No A is B |
| Particular | Some A is B | Not every A is B |

Simple as it appears, this table raises important difficulties of interpretation (for a thorough discussion, see the entry on the square of opposition).

In the Prior Analytics, Aristotle adopts a somewhat artificial way of expressing predications:

instead of saying “X is predicated of Y” he says “X belongs (huparchei) to Y”.

This should really be regarded as a technical expression.

The verb huparchein usually means either “begin” or “exist, be present”, and Aristotle’s usage appears to be a development of this latter use.



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