The Philosophy of Aristotle; The Flat Earth History of Science Chapter 8


The Soul and Sensation 

Aristotle defines soul as the form of a natural body that has the potential to possess life. This body then must be furnished with organs: lungs, stomach etc. Life then is the process of growth and nutrition. The organs of perception, i.e. the eyes, the ear etc, exist in potentiality and sensation is defined as the change from potential to actual.  He explains sensation as the reception of the form without the matter.  An analogy of this would be like a king pressing his signet ring into the wax on a letter to prove the authenticity of the letter.  The objects of knowledge are concepts whereas the objects of sensation are individual things.  Aristotle would say that the sense object is not the object of knowledge, however, the sense objects contains the object of knowledge and that object is intellectual and not material. The task of the person sensing then, is to abstract the form from the sense object. Abstraction occurs even after the sensation as an image in the mind. Out of a complex of these images the active intellect produces concepts in the passive intellect.  When these concepts are combined thinking occurs. These combinations are chosen and not given and they can be either true or false.

Sensation requires an external stimulus, to move the potentiality to an actuality. In this case, the perceptive organ, i.e. the eye, is potentially what the object is actually. When having a sensation, the eye, which is only logically distinct from the “seeing” of the eye, is one in quality with the object of sight. So when looking at a green wall, the eye becomes qualitatively green.  With respect to the number of senses Aristotle suggests that the sense of touch relates to several pairs of opposites, namely, hot-cold, moist-dry, hard-soft. In essence he posits touch as a summary for several sensations.  True, there are variations of sensations even in sound such as timbre, volume and pitch, but these all relate to one common substratum, namely, sound.  The key to touch is that hot-cold, moist-dry, hard-soft, do not relate to a common substratum.

Respecting perception, Aristotle posits two types of perception: per accidens and per se.  By per se he refers to the necessary properties of a thing. By per accidens he refers to the accidental properties of a thing. A doctor is a human per se, but a doctor is a musician accidentally. That is, according to definition a doctor to be a doctor must be a human first, but he does not have to be a musician to be a doctor. His love of music is merely accidental to him being a doctor.   If you were walking down the street and saw a jet black Camaro, Aristotle would say that you perceived the Camaro per accidens.  You saw a black object per se. However, it is not necessary that all black objects be Camaros so, the Camaro-ness of this black object is accidental. Aristotle admits that sensation per accidens may be mistaken as it is an intellectual construction and not pure sensation.  Aristotle goes even further. Within the realm of perception per se, there are two categories: proper sensibles and common sensibles. Proper sensibles are those sensibles which only one sense can perceive. The ears cannot perceive color, etc. A common sensible would be something that more than one sense can perceive. Shapes can be perceived by the eye or by touch, i.e. Braille. Moreover, Aristotle posits the idea of a sixth sense called “common sense.” This sense is required to conjoin two sense experiences into one in the consciousness. An example may be a certain dessert that was so memorable that every time you see the beige color of New York Cheesecake, other sensations of sweet and soft textures are conjoined with it by the common sense.

Aristotle denies that men come into existence with apriori structures. Aristotle asserted that the mind is nothing before it thinks. If the mind was preprogrammed with apriori structures it would have a form of its own. If it had a Form of its own the Form would distort all experiences and remove the possibility of objective experience. Therefore, the mind is a blank before experience. Plato said that this destroys any possibility of learning.

Physics and Metaphysics

Aristotelian philosophy begins with the axiom of sensation. Being so he then only admits individual sense objects to be the true realties. Being then the true realities individuals are individuated from each other by their matter. One shoe is not another because one shoe is one substance and the other another blob of substance. However, language operates on classes of things. To admit only individuals is to make communication impossible. If it cannot be talked about it is unknowable.

Aristotle did not accept Plato’s theory if Ideas. Aristotle posited the Forms as substitutes for the Ideas.  To obtain an object of knowledge, there must be something that does not change in the midst of change.  All existing objects are either natural (Stones, water) or artificial(Beds, coats, statues). The distinguishing property is that natural objects have nature, and artificial objects do not. Nature is defined by, “a principle and cause of motion and rest in that body in which it is immanent per se and not per accidens”(Physics).[1] Therefore, when the cause of a body’s action/motion is necessarily in it (per se) that body is a natural body. Therefore, he who has nature per se has free will. Therefore, when a man who has the nature of health within himself, and he is a doctor, he is a doctor, per se. Yet when a man who does not have this nature is a doctor, he is a doctor accidentally (per accidens).   In Aristotle’s philosophy natural objects are the primary realities, the real essences. One would think the Forms would be the real essences, seeing they are the substitute for Plato’s Ideas, but they are not.

Nature then is the form of constituted objects.  Constituted objects are a combination of matter and form. The matter is not the nature; neither is the combination of matter and form the nature. The form is the nature. The form is the end and the purpose of something lower than form. Natural forms are also the means of something higher. Aristotle’s matter and form is understood as being potentiality, actuality, agent and patient. The patient is the “unqualified matter”[2]  The agent is the form or the “informing reason inherent in the matter…the divine being or God”[3] .  Two books or two stones could have precisely the same color, shape, odor, and so on; they would be two things because there were two substances. Aristotle says, “I define matter as that which is in itself neither a thing, nor a quantity, nor any other of the categories of being.” Aristotle (Metaphysics, VII, 3, 1029a 20-21)  This potential matter can be known by neither sensation nor reason but only by analogy (Which, by the way, requires information; It does not furnish information).

What is the difference between artificial objects and natural objects?  What is the property common to both and on the contrary what is the principle of individuation? In Aristotle a stone may be understood as a natural object while a small statue that has had human hands chisel out its form may be understood as an artificial object.  If a stone falls off a cliff into a lake it first falls through the air and sinks in the water and finally rests in the mud at the bottom of the lake. This is understood as natural motion; that is to say nature caused this motion.  Now a stone statue if it is thrown out of a window into a lake it also falls through the air, and sinks in the water and finally rests in the mud.  Here the distinction seems to fail but Aristotle replies that the statue sinks because it is a stone not because it is a statue. Its statue-ness is simply accidental. That is to say, a statue can be made out of something other than a stone, so the stone-ness is arbitrary or accidental to statue-ness. But how does one explain why things move in general? Democritus could explain why things in the present move but he could not explain motion in general because his explanation produced an infinite regress. One thing moves because another moved it and on to infinity.  Aristotle, to avoid an explanation based on an infinite regress posits nature as the original principle. But he must argue for this principle. An assertion proves nothing.


The primary laws of logic laid down by Aristotle are primarily two. The Law of Contradiction and the Law of Excluded Middle.  1.) Law of Contradiction: A is never non-A;  2.) Law of Excluded Middle: A is something or it is not. A cannot be true and false at the same time.  A is itself or nothing else.  Speaking of logic and the law of contradiction in an exposition of Aristotle, Clark says, “This principle, be it noted again, is stated not merely as a law of thought, but primarily as a law of being.  The ontological form is basic; the purely logical is derivative: It becomes a law of thought because it is first a law of being.”[4]


First Cause-Material Cause: Is that out of which something is made. The material cause is that which exists before the constitution of a thing and remains inherent in it, i.e. the stone of a statue, the wood of a chair, etc.

Second Cause-Formal Cause: the formal cause is the pattern or certain definition of a thing. The formal cause of a statue is the form of it: the shape of the head, arms, torso, etc.

Third Cause-Efficient Cause: The beginning of either motion or rest; the agent. The efficient cause of a statue is the sculptor.

Fourth Cause-Final Cause: This is the purpose of a thing. Scissors are made for cutting things.

Aristotle was not a mechanist, and admitted exceptions to these laws. In Aristotle’s construction, the start of a thing was its matter/substance. To this attaches the form/nature and then accidental qualities attach to the form/nature. This has application to causation. If indeed accidental properties are subsequent to essential qualities.  The issue is that an accidental cause cannot precede a real cause. If so, luck and chance are subsequent to and dependent on real thought. This is the exact opposite of the atheist mechanists who say that chance is the cause of the universe. Aristotle along with Plato posited a teleological interpretation of nature.  On Aristotle’s construction natural things that move according to an internal principle arrive at an end (the form). The end is determined and is not arbitrary. So the end is the cause of the matter and not the matter the cause of the end. On the atheist evolutionary theory, there are no natural objects. The end of objects must be arbitrary for this theory to work and therefore no evolutionist can be an Aristotelian.

Motion/Potentiality and Actuality


“Potency’ means (1) a source of movement or change, which is in another thing than the thing moved or in the same thing qua other; e.g. the art of building is a potency which is not in the thing built, while the art of healing, which is a potency, may be in the man healed, but not in him qua healed. ‘Potency’ then means the source, in general, of change or movement in another thing or in the same thing qua other, and also (2) the source of a thing’s being moved by another thing or by itself qua other. For in virtue of that principle, in virtue of which a patient suffers anything, we call it ‘capable’ of suffering; and this we do sometimes if it suffers anything at all, sometimes not in respect of everything it suffers, but only if it suffers a change for the better–(3) The capacity of performing this well or according to intention; for sometimes we say of those who merely can walk or speak but not well or not as they intend, that they cannot speak or walk. So too (4) in the case of passivity–(5) The states in virtue of which things are absolutely impassive or unchangeable, or not easily changed for the worse, are called potencies; for things are broken and crushed and bent and in general destroyed not by having a potency but by not having one and by lacking something, and things are impassive with respect to such processes if they are scarcely and slightly affected by them, because of a ‘potency’ and because they ‘can’ do something and are in some positive state.”[5]


“Actuality, then, is the existence of a thing not in the way which we express by ‘potentially’; we say that potentially, for instance, a statue of Hermes is in the block of wood and the half-line is in the whole, because it might be separated out, and we call even the man who is not studying a man of science, if he is capable of studying; the thing that stands in contrast to each of these exists actually. Our meaning can be seen in the particular cases by induction, and we must not seek a definition of everything but be content to grasp the analogy, that it is as that which is building is to that which is capable of building, and the waking to the sleeping, and that which is seeing to that which has its eyes shut but has sight, and that which has been shaped out of the matter to the matter, and that which has been wrought up to the unwrought. Let actuality be defined by one member of this antithesis, and the potential by the other. But all things are not said in the same sense to exist actually, but only by analogy-as A is in B or to B, C is in D or to D; for some are as movement to potency, and the others as substance to some sort of matter.”[6]

Aristotle’s definition that is posited for motion in Physics Book 3 part 1 is

“the actualization of the potential as such is motion”.

But he gives no definition of potential and actual aside from analogies. Here is his explanation from Physics Book 3 part 1:

“It is the fulfilment of what is potential when it is already fully real and operates not as itself but as movable, that is motion. What I mean by ‘as’ is this: Bronze is potentially a statue. But it is not the fulfilment of bronze as bronze which is motion. For ‘to be bronze’ and ‘to be a certain potentiality’ are not the same.

If they were identical without qualification, i.e. in definition, the fulfilment of bronze as bronze would have been motion. But they are not the same, as has been said. (This is obvious in contraries. ‘To be capable of health’ and ‘to be capable of illness’ are not the same, for if they were there would be no difference between being ill and being well. Yet the subject both of health and of sickness-whether it is humour or blood-is one and the same.)”[7]

Dr Clark summarizes the problem:

“But to explain why bronze can become a statue, the statement that bronze has such a potentiality does not increase our knowledge. To assert that a certain matter is potentially a certain form means only that similar matter in the past has become that form. This is a statement of fact; it is not an explanation of the fact.”[8]

Asserting that something has happened in the past therefore it is a potentiality does not explain how the potential became actual. Democritus was right and motion cannot be explained and must be merely used as an axiom.

Regarding the initial definitions of potentiality and actuality, the difficult point surfaces that motion cannot be defined as either pure potentiality or pure actuality. To assert that a certain thing is capable of becoming a certain size does not mean that it is in motion, but merely capable of motion. Moreover, if a certain thing actually is a certain size it is not in motion either, for it is not becoming something, it is something.  For example, the actualization of the buildable house is not a house, because a house is not buildable, the house is built. Therefore, the actualization of something must be a combination of the two in a process. Therefore, motion is an attribute of a thing when in this process. Again, this cannot be defined but only described by induction and analogy.

Aristotle objects that.

“all motion, therefore requires a subject that remains unchanged during the motion.”[9]

Yet, how does he know that reality is not like a cartoon film, where motion is an illusion of many still images being presented and taken away very quickly? Dr. Clark says,

“Motion no doubt, presupposes an unchanged substratum, but how do we know there is such a substratum and how do we know there is motion?”[10]

 Essence and Energies Distinction 

In Aristotle, the growth of a tree is as real as the tree itself. The sight of the eye is as real as the eye itself. However, as Dr Clark says,

“Aristotle opposed doubling the number of existing things in the universe, fearing perhaps the wild consequences of unrestrained hypostatization…The action of a tree growing is neither a thing, nor a reality in the strict sense. Such actions are not nature; neither do they have a nature; but, rather, they are by nature or conformed to nature.”[11]

See Prof. Dr. David Bradshaw’s Aristotle East and West.

Space-The Void

Contrary to Democritus, Aristotle rejects his notion of empty space or the void.   To cater to the idea of change and motion Democritus and others had posited an empty space wherein this change was to occur. Aristotle rejected this notion, pointing out that not all change requires empty space. An example would be qualitative change and he even said that a change of place does not require a void.  Aristotle asserted that a void makes motion impossible. If the void is infinite there can be no reason to travel one direction rather than another, if even “direction” has meaning in such a construction. This removes the idea of purpose in Aristotle’s Forms. Moreover, the speed of a body’s motion is determined by the density of whatever medium it moves through. If bodies did move through a void they would move through them at an infinite speed and require no time to travel from point A to point B.  Yet motion requires time, therefore there is no void. How then does Aristotle explain motion? Aristotle posits his eternal first mover; and thus the Cosmological Argument for God.

The Cosmological Argument

This is the first empirical proof of God’s existence.  The argument can be found in Aristotle’s Physics Book VIII.4-6,

“5 “From what has been said, then, it is evident that that which primarily imparts motion is unmoved: for, whether the series is closed at once by that which is in motion but moved by something else deriving its motion directly from the first unmoved, or whether the motion is derived from what is in motion but moves itself and stops its own motion, on both suppositions we have the result that in all cases of things being in motion that which primarily imparts motion is unmoved.”

6  “The eternity and continuity of the process cannot be caused either by any one of them singly or by the sum of them, because this causal relation must be eternal and necessary, whereas the sum of these movements is infinite and they do not all exist together.” [12]

Here then is Aristotle’s argument: 1. A mover is needed to explain motion; 2. This mover is eternal and one; 3. This mover is the first mover; 4. The mover has no finite size and is therefore infinite; 5. The mover is in the center or on the circumference of the universe.

This argument was used by Aquinas in his Cosmological argument:

“It is certain and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion.  Now whatever is moved is moved by another…But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover…Therefore it is necessary to  arrive at a first mover, moved by no other, and this everyone understands to be God.”[13]

First, the reader will see clearly that he bases his argument on sensation and motion. Certainly, when Aquinas says that “Now whatever is moved is moved by another” this cannot go on infinitely because then there would be no first mover”: he asserts that there must be a first mover.  The problem is, this assertion functions as the reason to reject the infinite regress and the conclusion.  This is a fallacy.  I have also been struck by Hume’s rejection of the cosmological argument. He saw that observations of the effect would be the only basis for understanding the cause.  Hume gave an example, that if we heard the symphonies of Beethoven, we would understand his logical, structured and mathematical genius as well as his artistry and creativity, but this would tell us nothing of the fact that he loved sports and was the quarterback of Bonn University.  Therefore, our knowledge of the symphony would leave us with spurious conclusions about Beethoven.

Now, is the motion of the Prime Mover accidental or essential? If accidental, there is no necessity for it to always move and could, in theory, stop moving. Yet Aristotle proved that the motion was eternal.  If the motion is essential, a question must be answered: is the motion of the mover of the same species as that which it causes to move?  An eye on a stovetop heats a pan and at the same time is getting hot. In this case the essence of motion is the same in both.  Yet this is the problem with empiricism. One particular does not prove a law or a universal truth. Does the Geometry teacher who teaches a Geometry lesson learn the Geometry lesson? No, the teacher already knows the lesson. Therefore, the motion of the Prime Mover can neither be proven accidental or essential.  Therefore, a self moving mover does not explain motion.

[1] Gordon Clark, Ancient Philosophy (The Trinity Foundation, 1997), 148

[2] Gordon H. Clark, Thales to Dewey (Unicoi, Tennesse.: The Trinity Foundation, 1957,  Fourth edition 2000), 132

[3] Ibid., 132

[4] Gordon H. Clark, Thales to Dewey (Unicoi, Tennesse: The Trinity Foundation, 1957,  Fourth edition 2000), 88

[5] Aristotle, Metaphysics 5.12, Translated by W. D. Ross, The Internet Classics Archive Site; accessed June 2010; available at:

[6] Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book 9.6, Translated by W. D. Ross, The Internet Classics Archive Site; accessed June 2010; available at:

[7] Aristotle, Physics 3.1, Translated by R.P. Hardie and R.K. Gaye, The Internet Classics Archive Site; accessed June 2010; available at:

[8] Thales to Dewey, 117

[9] Gordon H. Clark, The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God (Jefferson, Maryland.: The Trinity Foundation, 1964, Second  edition 1987), 10

[10] Ibid

[11] Ancient Philosophy, 149

[12] Aristotle, Physics Book 8.4-6 Translated by R. P. Hardie and R. K. Gaye, The Internet Classics Archive Site; accessed June 2010; available at:

[13] Gordon H. Clark, Three Types of Religious Philosophy, (Jefferson, Maryland: The Trinity Foundation, 1989), 60


Aristotle and the Beginning of Western Logic, Mastering Logical Fallacies; The Flat Earth History of Science Chapter 7


Aside from the Pre-Socratic attempt to understand the world through physical substances, and aside from the Platonic concept of the divine mind and the upper world of Ideas, Aristotle constructed his nature of the physical world through his doctrine of the Forms and human language structures, which are developed through a complex of memory images.  His doctrine of the Forms is a replacement for Plato’s Ideas.

Aristotle defines soul as the Form of a natural body that has the potential to possess life. This body then must be furnished with organs: lungs, stomach etc. Life then is the process of growth and nutrition. The organs of perception, i.e. the eyes, the ears, etc, exist in potentiality and sensation is defined as the change from potential to actual.  He explains sensation as the reception of the Form without the matter.  An analogy of this would be like a king pressing his signet ring into the wax on a letter to prove the authenticity of the letter.  The objects of knowledge are concepts whereas the objects of sensation are individual things.  Aristotle would say that the sense object is not the object of knowledge, however, the sense objects contains the object of knowledge and that object is intellectual and not material. The task of the person sensing then, is to abstract the Form from the sense object. Abstraction occurs even after the sensation as an image in the mind. Out of a complex of these images the active intellect produces concepts in the passive intellect.  When these concepts are combined thinking occurs. These combinations are chosen and not given and they can be either true or false.

Thus Dr. Clark,

“Nature, depending on one’s point of view, may mean either of two things. What may be called the Ionian viewpoint would regard matter as nature. When the early physicists wrote ‘on nature,’ they were probing to find the constant substratum of all change, the element or elements out of which all things came and into which all can be resolved. Whether it be found to be water, air, or fire, it is the fundamental stuff of the universe. This is one sense of nature. But we may look at it differently. For example, when we speak of the nature of the flesh, we do not refer to the elements out of which it is composed, for such elements are not natural flesh and do not have the nature of flesh. Nature, then, will mean the Form of the constituted object. The object is a combination of matter and Form; the matter is not the nature; the composite  is not the nature because it is an object which has a nature; hence the only remaining possibility is that the Form is the nature…For Aristotle , then, all forms are ends, purposes of something lower; and all natural Forms are means to something higher. The highest Form, while an end, indeed the end and purpose of the universe, is of necessity a means to nothing higher…Natural Forms are always connected with matter and are separable from it only in thought. It is these latter which constitute the sphere of science;”. (Ancient Philosophy, 149-151)


What is logic? Logic Is the Science of necessary inference. (Dr. Gordon Clark, Logic) There are fundamental laws of logic  that were, in a formal way, first introduced by Aristotle(Metaphysics, Book 4, Parts 3-6).  The fundamental laws of logic are: 1.) Law of Contradiction: A is never non-A  2.) Law of Identity: A is A  3.) Law of Excluded Middle: A is something or it is not;  A cannot be true and false at the same time.  A is itself or nothing else.

Dr. Clark said that the law of contradiction was the most fundamental and that the law of excluded middle and the law of identity could be deduced from it. Therefore, the major burden of proof is only on the first law, though I seek to prove all three from the scripture. The nature of these laws overlaps onto each other and so the reader may sense some overlap between the verses used and their application. These are the best verses I am aware of and I am deliberately leaving out some other attempts that I am not satisfied with.

The first law of logic, the law of contradiction, is deduced from:

1Co 14:6  But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching? 1Co 14:7  Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp? 

Law of Excluded Middle

1 Jo 2:21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.

Law of Identity

Rom 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.(kjv)

In the Bible, Elohim holds man accountable for heresy even if what they said directly is not heresy but the logical consequence is. Gal. 5:2, 1 Cor.  15, Mat. 22:30-33, Jer. 9:13-14, Deut. 32:18. Good and necessary consequences are valid ground for establishing true doctrine, therefore, logical consequences are valid to establish the accusation of heresy. Samuel Rutherford says,

“When Stephen Acts 7. and Paul Acts 26. were accused of heresy and speaking against Moses and the temple, they made a confession of their faith not in words of Scripture, but in deductions and necessary consequences drawn from Scripture and applied to themselves, and those in Nehemiah’s time who wrote and sealed or subscribed a Covenant, did not write and seal the express Decalogue and ten Commandments, nor the words of the Covenant of Grace”. Free Disputation, Chapter 2

Let us consider some fundamental categories of human thought:


The Genus and Species categories summarize the Abstractness and Concreteness of what we are talking about. Species is closer to the concrete; as we ascend into Genus we ascend higher into Abstraction.

In the making of a Genus or category we must:

  1. Make sure the categories are mutually exclusive from other categories and jointly exhaustive within themselves. Mutually exclusive means the attributes of one thing do not overlap at all with the attributes of another. Jointly exhaustive means, the attributes of one thing completely and utterly overlap with the attributes of another thing.
  2. Group things according to their essential attributes. For example birds have feathers. No other animal in the world has feathers and thus its essential attribute differentiates itself from all others into its own category.


There are two ways to define things:

Connotation: Defining a thing with propositional logic, explaining the essential nature of the thing and differentiating it as much as possible from any related species.

Denotation: Simply pointing at something as an example. Ex: Instead of defining what a dog is, one simply points to a Doberman Pinscher, or a poodle, etc.


A proposition is the meaning of a declarative statement. A proposition can be true or false. If I simply said blue, blue is neither true or false. However, when I use this term in a proposition, such as, The car is blue, this statement can be either true or false. Another characteristic of a proposition is that it contains a subject and a predicate. The predicate is what differentiates the subject from other subjects. For instance, if I said, everything is black: the chair is black, the car is black, the grass is black, etc., by doing this I have made the word black mean nothing. A predicate that attaches to every subject is necessarily meaningless. It is only when a differentia is introduced that real meaning is brought forth.

A proposition has four components.

  1. A Subject. (S)
  2. A Predicate. (P)
  3. A Copula, which is the affirmation or negation between the subject and predicate. i.e. is or is not. (quality)
  4. A Quantity, such as All or Some denoting universal or particular predication. i.e. My statement: The car is blue, refers to only one car not to all cars.

Identifying these components in any argument gives you the ability to put the argument in standard form.

Thus, there are only four forms for categorical propositions:



An argument is a set of propositions with a conclusion. A proposition that comes before the conclusion is called a premise.

In order for the conclusion to be proved, the premises must be true and relevant to the conclusion. It must also be emphasized that many times an argument contains implicit premises that are not always directly stated. Consider the argument,

Sally has a broken leg, therefore she cannot go hiking.

The implied premise of course is that a broken leg prohibits people from going hiking.

An argument that has only two propositions, a premise and a conclusion is called an immediate inference.


The syllogism is an argument that deduces the conclusion necessarily from the premises. Every syllogism has three propositions.

Take for example this syllogism:

  1. All men are mortals.
  2. Socrates is a man.
  3. Socrates is a mortal.

The term that occurs in the predicate of the conclusion is the major term. (“Mortal”)

The premise where the major term is used is called the major premise. (“1. All men are mortals.”)

The term used in the subject of the conclusion is called the minor term.  (“Socrates”)

The premise where the minor term is used is called the minor premise. (“2. Socrates is a man.”)

The term used in both premises but not in the conclusion is called the middle term. (“Men/Man”)

Valid Inference

An argument is valid if the form of the conclusion is true every time the form of the premises are true.

Four Rules of Validity

First, make sure to put the argument in standard form before continuing.

I. The middle term must be distributed/universal in at least one of the premises. (The undistributed middle)


1. All modern American conservatives believe in private property.

2. All people who defend Capitalism believe in private property.

3. All people who defend Capitalism are conservatives.

Major term: Conservatives.

Minor term: People who defend Capitalism.

Middle Term: Private property.

No premise makes a universal statement about the middle term. The fact that all Conservatives believe in private property does not imply all who believe in Private Property are Conservatives. The Church of Satan believes in private property.

II. If either of the terms in the conclusion is distributed/universal it must be distributed/universal in the prior premise.


1. All vertebrates reproduce sexually.

2. All vertebrates are animals.

3. All animals reproduce sexually.

Major term: Reproduction through sex.

Minor term: All animals. 

Middle Term: Vertebrates.

Here the minor term is universal in the conclusion, but not in either premise. The conclusion is alleging things the premises do not justify.

III. Two negative premises do not justify a valid conclusion.

IV. If either premise is negative then so must the conclusion be negative. And vice versa: If the conclusion is negative one of the premises must be negative.


1. All crows are birds.

2. Some wolves are not crows.

3. Some wolves are birds.

Major term: Birds.

Minor term: Wolves.

Middle Term: Crows.

In this example, simply asserting correctly that some wolves are not crows does not imply that some are. And thus, the conclusion does not follow from the premises.

Fallacious Arguments

Aristotle identified 13 primary fallacies in his Sophistical Refutations:


[Aristotelian Logic by William T. Parry, Edward A. Hacker, pg. 435]

  1. Equivocation is the use of a single word that has different meanings in the argument. For example, Heliocentrists will argue:

Premise 1: All images are composite.

Premise 2: NASA uses composite images to represent the Earth.

Conclusion. NASA is completely honest in representing the Earth with composite images.

The fallacy here is that the word composite means two different things in the argument. In premise 1, the meaning of composite is the objective composition of the image by a camera device. In premise 2 the meaning of composite is the manipulation of the original device composition image to conform to theoretical beliefs of the one manipulating the image.

  1. Whereas Equivocation focuses on ambiguity in the words used, Amphiboly focuses on grammar and sentence structure. For example, one may argue,

Premise: Steve saw Polaris on the mountain with a telescope.

Conclusion: Steve used the State’s telescope and doesn’t own one himself.

The fallacy of the conclusion is that the grammar of the statement makes it unclear whether Steve owns his own telescope that he used to see Polaris with on the mountain; or that Steve saw Polaris on a Mountain that is known to contain its own Telescope.

  1. Composition implies that what is true of the whole is true of the parts. For example, Heliocentrists will argue:

Premise: Flat Earthers say NASA is lying to us about the nature of the Earth.

Conclusion: Flat Earthers must then believe that every employee of NASA is involved with a Global Conspiracy.

  1. The fallacy of Division is the opposite of Composition. Division is the fallacy of attributing what is true of the parts to the whole. For example Heliocentrists will argue that since some Flat Earth believers are ignorant of Science that this is true of the entire Movement or the model in essence.
  2. The fallacy of accent is the fallacy of introducing ambiguity in a statement by the emphasis in tone on a certain word or part of a statement. For example, if I said, I didn’t take the test yesterday, the implication is generally, I didn’t take the test at all. However, if I said I didn’t take the test yesterday and emphasized the word yesterday, the implication would be that I did take the test, but on another day.
  3. The fallacy of figure of speech is conflating a literal with a metaphorical meaning. For instance, Heliocentrists use the expression “what goes up must come down” to defend their ideas of Gravity whereas literally they don’t believe in up and down.
  4. A fallacy of accident is the act of making a generalization by ignoring an exception to a generally accepted rule of thumb. Thus, making the general true of every particular. For example, we accept as generally true that we can trust our senses. However, when the sun sets we must take into consideration the accident that when the Sun is behind hundreds of miles of atmosphere the refraction deceives our senses into thinking the Sun is dipping below the horizon.
  5. Secundum quid/Hasty generalization argues from the particular to the general. What is true of the particular must be of the general. For instance, Heliocentrists argue that gravity must be true because, though the stars in general appear to carousel the Earth as satellites in the flat Earth model, the moons of Jupiter show retrograde motion. Their mistake is not acknowledging the celestial liquid.
  6. Ignoratio elenchi simply means missing the point or missing the refutation. This is general enough to apply to every fallacy so I won’t belabor the point.
  7. The petitio principi or begging the question fallacy is a fallacy of assuming what must first be proved. It is the fallacy of making the conclusion one of the premises. This is the favorite fallacy of the Heliocentrists. They will argue that the Earth must be a sphere because if we first assume the Earth is a sphere we can explain Sunsets. They will argue that the Earth is a sphere because if we first assume it is a sphere we can explain Lunar Eclipses. etc.
  8. The non causa pro causa fallacy or Post hoc ergo propter hoc: after which therefore because of which, is a fallacy that asserts the cause of a thing simply because it proceeds it. For example, Heliocentrists say that ships sink in our perspective as they pass the horizon, therefore the sinking is caused by curvature of the Earth.
  9. The affirming the consequent fallacy is another favorite of the Heliocentrists. The argument basically proceeds by the hypothetical syllogism. If x is true I should expect to see y. I do see y. Therefore x is true.

Aristotle states in On Sophistical Refutations , Section 1 Part 5,

“The refutation which depends upon the consequent arises because people suppose that the relation of consequence is convertible. For whenever, suppose A is, B necessarily is, they then suppose also that if B is, A necessarily is. This is also the source of the deceptions that attend opinions based on sense-perception. For people often suppose bile to be honey because honey is attended by a yellow colour: also, since after rain the ground is wet in consequence, we suppose that if the ground is wet, it has been raining; whereas that does not necessarily follow. In rhetoric proofs from signs are based on consequences. For when rhetoricians wish to show that a man is an adulterer, they take hold of some consequence of an adulterous life, viz. that the man is smartly dressed, or that he is observed to wander about at night. There are, however, many people of whom these things are true, while the charge in question is untrue. It happens like this also in real reasoning; e.g. Melissus’ argument, that the universe is eternal, assumes that the universe has not come to be (for from what is not nothing could possibly come to be) and that what has come to be has done so from a first beginning. If, therefore, the universe has not come to be, it has no first beginning, and is therefore eternal. But this does not necessarily follow: for even if what has come to be always has a first beginning, it does not also follow that what has a first beginning has come to be; any more than it follows that if a man in a fever be hot, a man who is hot must be in a fever. ”

All scientific theories are affirming the consequent fallacies.  I have debated this issue literally hundreds of times with Heliocentrists. Many Atheists and Heliocentrists are shocked to discover that Atheist Heliocentric scholars have also admitted the problem with the Scientific method. Bertrand Russell states,

 “All inductive arguments in the last resort reduce themselves to the following form: ‘If this is true, that is true: now that is true, therefore this is true.” This argument is of course, formally fallacious. Suppose I were to say: “If bread is a stone and stones are nourishing, then this bread will nourish me; now this bread does nourish me; therefore it  is a stone, and stones are nourishing.’ If I were to advance such an argument, I should certainly be thought foolish, yet it would not be fundamentally different from the argument upon which all scientific laws are based.”

The Scientific Outlook (First Published 1931 by George Allen and Unwin LTD, London, this edition published in 2009 by Taylor and Francis e-Library), 51

Faced with the reality of these admissions Heliocentrists will try a multitude of word games and mental gymnastics. They will try to change the meaning of my argument as well as their own understanding of a Scientific Hypothesis to avoid facing their error.

Induction is a method to determine the formal cause of something which is only known to Elohim.

To clarify and dispel all the shade these petulant children wish to hide in, my argument, I think  Russell’s as well, is that the nature of the Scientific Hypothesis, is by definition, in esse and simpliciter an affirming the consequent fallacy. Dr. Carrier states,

“The seed from which the success of science was born is a simple three step process: adduction, deduction, induction. In general, we identify a problem, gather relevant data, formulate a hypothesis (usually an explanatory model of what is really going on), and test the predictions entailed by that hypothesis—looking for whatever would have to be the case, and whatever could not be the case, if our model were correct. In other words, we creatively “adduce” an hypothesis from some collection of data and questions about that data, then we logically “deduce” what new facts that hypothesis must entail if it is true, and then employ any of a variety of empirical (“inductive”) methods to test that hypothesis by seeing if these new predictions hold up.”

R. Carrier, Sense and Goodness Without G-d, 214

If P, then Q Q Therefore, P (Affirming the consequent)

This was the exact argument I was taught in the public school system about Evolution:

If evolution is true we should expect to observe homology. 

We do observe homology.  

Therefore evolution is true (Affirming the consequent)

My opponents will try a word game and switch around the premises to change the very nature of a hypothesis in order to psychologically confuse their opponent. Notice above, Dr. Carrier states that the hypothesis comes before the predicted observation stating “formulate a hypothesis (usually an explanatory model of what is really going on), and test the predictions entailed by that hypothesis”. What these men will do is formulate the following syllogism:

If we observe homology evolution is true.  

We do observe homology.  

Therefore evolution is true. 

The syllogism is a valid form but not a hypothesis and the first premise begs the question.

The YouTuber Flat Earth Math replied to my example of a syllogism guilty of the affirming the consequent fallacy,

If it’s raining outside the streets will be wet

The streets are wet

Therefore it is raining outside


 “A much better approach would be to change the conclusion above: “Therefore it may have rained.” which simply adds “rain” to the list of possibilities on why the ground is wet.”

This would again change the nature of a hypothesis. The syllogism would then not begin with:

 If Evolution is true…


If Heliocentrism is true…

…it would be

If evolution is a possibility then X


Therefore evolution is possible.

That is not how Evolution and the globe were presented to me in school. They were presented as absolute truths. This is absolutely disgusting manipulation. Secondly, affirming something is a possibility proves nothing. No one has omniscience of all the possibilities and thus no one can prove which possibility is necessarily true! Evolution, Heliocentrism, the Moon Landing and Dinosaurs were not presented as mere possibilities to me. They were presented as absolute truths in pursuit of a total destruction of the Bible and the cause of the White Anglo Saxon Protestant people in the modern world.

And here is the problem for the Heliocentrist, the only way to demonstrate that anything is true is a syllogism. It is the only object that can be true or false, by definition.

Aristotle states in his Posterior Analytics, Book I, Part 2

“There may be another manner of knowing as well-that will be discussed later. What I now assert is that at all events we do know by demonstration. By demonstration I mean a syllogism productive of scientific knowledge, a syllogism, that is, the grasp of which is eo ipso such knowledge. Assuming then that my thesis as to the nature of scientific knowing is correct, the premisses of demonstrated knowledge must be true, primary, immediate, better known than and prior to the conclusion, which is further related to them as effect to cause. Unless these conditions are satisfied, the basic truths will not be ‘appropriate’ to the conclusion. Syllogism there may indeed be without these conditions, but such syllogism, not being productive of scientific knowledge, will not be demonstration. ”

Yet Francis Bacon admits in his Novum Organum, Book I,

“XIII. The syllogism is not applied to the principles of the sciences, and is of no avail in intermediate axioms, as being very unequal to the subtilty of nature. It forces assent, therefore, and not things…

FN [5] “It would appear from this and the two preceding aphorisms, that Bacon fell into the error of denying the utility of the syllogism in the very part of inductive science where it is essentially required. ”

LIV. Some men become attached to particular sciences and contemplations, either from supposing themselves the authors and inventors of them, or from having bestowed the greatest pains upon such subjects, and thus become most habituated to them.[22] If men of this description apply themselves to philosophy and contemplations of a universal[29] nature, they wrest and corrupt them by their preconceived fancies, of which Aristotle affords us a single instance, who made his natural philosophy completely subservient to his logic, and thus rendered it little more than useless and disputatious.”

  1. The complex question fallacy, or loaded question is a question that assumes upon the truth of a proposition yet to be demonstrated. For example, when a Heliocentrist tries to transfer the burden of proof from himself to his opponent he will ask, “What evidence proves the Earth is Flat?” The word evidence is loaded. It could mean direct observation, syllogism, inductive hypothesis, or mathematical equation. The famous example is the loaded question, have you stopped beating your wife yet?

Ever since Aristotle we have added a number of other fallacies:

The Ad hoc  fallacy asserts something baselessly.  Ex. The Heliocentrists assert baselessly that Polaris is perfectly mirroring the Earth’s tilting, wobbling and orbit around the Sun requiring a navigation system so complex it baffles the mind. Heliocentrists cannot simply assert that the Earth’s axis is aligned with Polaris. That is just a theory. Theories are baseless without evidence. By what means is the Earth’s axis aligned with Polaris?

The Appeal to Consequences fallacy is a fallacy that states that a thesis is wrong because of the results of accepting a thesis being true. Ex. Heliocentrists  demand that Science is true, because even if there are logical fallacies at the root of all Science, people still need it.

The Appeal to Motive Fallacy is a fallacy that states that a thesis is wrong because of a presumed motive of the proponent.  Ex.  Heliocentrism is true because it appeals to our motive of humility being an insignificant organism in an infinite universe.

They will commit the Straw Man fallacy and argue that my view of Science is a Nirvana fallacy because I demand that Science be perfect when in fact that is not my argument. My argument is that it is completely impotent.

The Tu Quoque fallacy is a fallacy that states that a thesis is wrong  because the proponent is hypocritical. Ex. Heliocentrists argue that since I say that all Scientific Laws are based on logical fallacies, but I use science, I’m a hypocrite, therefore, all Scientific Laws are not based on logical fallacies.

The Genetic Fallacy is a fallacy that states that a thesis is wrong because of its origin. Ex. Heliocentrists assert that Heliocentrism is true because it came out of the Enlightenment while the Flat Earth came from the desert dwelling sheep herders of the bronze age.

The Moving the Goal Posts Fallacy changes the criteria or goal of a competition in the process in order to gain an advantage. Ex. Heliocentrists use this fallacy when we show them buildings that we can see 60 miles away. They will commit this fallacy and assert that the Earth is now bigger than we first presumed. They will also use the same fallacy when we show them there is no annual parallax. They will commit this fallacy and assert that the stars are farther away than we first presumed.

The No True Scotsman Fallacy attempts to protect a group identity  by changing the definition of the group identity in an ad hoc fashion to exclude criticism. Ex. The Atheists in the Communist regimes that were responsible for the murders of millions of people weren’t true Atheists.

The Special Pleading Fallacy applies criteria to others but excludes oneself from that criteria. Ex. The Heliocentric view of tides is special pleading and the overwhelming exception fallacy where the Gravity of the Moon, exponentially smaller than the earth, overpowers the Gravity of the Earth. Ex. The Flat Earth model cannot explain everything so it is incorrect. The Heliocentrist model cannot explain everything either but it is correct.

The Argument from Incredulity fallacy affirms that an argument is false simply because one cannot grasp how it could be.  Ex. Heliocentrists argue that they cannot grasp how thousands of people could work together in this conspiracy, therefore there is no NASA conspiracy despite the evidence.

The Onus Probandi fallacy switches the burden of proof from oneself to the opponent without justification. Ex. Heliocentrists argue that even though they have had control of the American space program and Billions of Dollars in funding for six decades Flat Earth advocates on YouTube with no government funding have all the burden of proof.

The Ad Hominem Fallacy is personally attacking someone as a justification for dismissing their arguments.  Ex. Heliocentrists often dismiss arguments from Flat Earthers calling them idiots and uneducated for making arguments Heliocentrists cannot answer.

The Appeal to Authority fallacy asserts that something is true because an educator believes it even though his colleagues may disagree with him or the issue may be completely outside of his expertise. Ex. Creationism is wrong because the professional Scientists reject it.

The Appeal to Novelty fallacy affirms that something is true because it is modern. Ex.  Heliocentrism is true because it is the modern view.

The Appeal to Popularity fallacy asserts that an argument is true if the mass of the population believes it and false if they don’t. Ex. Heliocentrists argue that Flat Earthers don’t have enough subscribers on their YouTube channels. Miley Cyrus has 10 million subscribers. So subscriptions and intellectual content are not correlated.

The Appeal to Wealth fallacy asserts that the arguments made by rich people are true by virtue of their correlated wealth while arguments made by poor people are untrue by virtue of their poverty. Ex. Heliocentrists argue that Flat Earthers are a bunch of poor redneck religious nutcases. Nicolai Tesla was poor.

The Argument from Fallacy affirms that an argument is wrong because one part is a fallacy in order to hide from the fact that one part is true. Ex. Heliocentrists argue that Creationists use arguments that contradict the laws of physics while adhering to the laws of physics, therefore there was no Creation.

The Argument from Ignorance fallacy affirms that since an argument has not been proven false that it is true. Ex.  Heliocentrists argue that since Flat Earthers have not proven every aspect of their model  they have failed to disprove Heliocentrism proving Heliocentrism is true.

The Cherry Picking fallacy selects parts of available evidence while ignoring the rest arbitrarily. Ex. Heliocentrists try to prove the Globe by pointing to video from a camera with a fish eye lens and not from the video footage from a camera without a fish eye lens. Heliocentrists also try to prove the Globe by pointing to military manuals that say Ballistics is done by taking the Coriolis Effect into consideration while ignoring the manuals that say they don’t.

The Confirmation Bias fallacy affirms that one need not search for evidence that contradicts one’s position but only to search for evidence that supports it. Ex. Heliocentrists ignore the many works by reputable academicians such as Hawking and Einstein and Bertrand Russell who admitted that Heliocentrism was never proven.

The Circular Reasoning fallacy is an argument where the conclusion is used as a premise. Ex. Heliocentrists tell us the way to identify a numeric substance is to determine its spatio temporal location, and the way to identify a spatio temporal location is to determine its numeric substance.

The Distinction Without a Difference fallacy makes a distinction between two identical things without making known the difference. Ex. Flat Earthers accuse Heliocentrists of appealing to occult powers with their Gravity doctrine. Heliocentrists respond by admitting the cause of Gravity is unkown but not occult.

The False Analogy fallacy tries to make a point by drawing an analogy that is not analogous to the point. Ex. Heliocentrists argue that twirling an object on a string in a circle is analogous to a centrifugal force and the doctrine of Gravity. Whereas one is action at a distance, and the other is not.

The False Authority fallacy attributes authority credit to a man or group that does not specialize in the area of consideration. Ex. Heliocentrists make much of the nature of mass when determining their Gravity equations yet know absolutely nothing of the centuries of disputation on the meaning of a numeric substance.

The Furtive fallacy blames the outcomes of an event on the misconduct of leaders. Ex.

The Moral High Ground fallacy seeks to escape defending one’s position due to Moral superiority. Ex. I don’t have to listen or validly respond to the arguments of the Southern Israelite, because he worships an immoral violent god. Virtue!

The Moralistic Fallacy seeks to dismiss the position of an opponent due to a presumption that the opponent’s position would morally stain the population.  Ex. Heliocentrists may say that the Flat Earth model is oppressive to the human psyche due to its view of an authoritarian God. Therefore it is wrong.

The Proof by Intimidation fallacy seeks to prove a point by using educated sounding language or statistics that exhaust an opponent’s educational abilities so the opponent is obliged to accept the proponent’s position. Ex.  Heliocentrism is true no matter how confusing my explanation is why East-West plane flights take the same time. It doesn’t matter that I cannot explain to you what I mean by saying clouds are attached to the Earth. You are too uneducated to ever understand.

The Proving Too Much fallacy affirms a point that defeats one;s own position. Ex.  If Gravity is how million of tons of water are stuck to the earth then flight should be impossible. Well the gravity chooses between the different objects it wants to act differently upon. Now you’re attributing intelligence and will to gravity? So gravity is a person?

The Red Herring is a diversive argument. Ex. So what proof do you have that the Earth is a spinning ball? Ans. The Southern Stars? How does Flat Earth work with the Southern Stars?

The Reification fallacy makes abstractions concrete realities. Ex. The axis of the Earth is  honed in on Polaris.

The Wishful Thinking fallacy is an affirmation of a baseless hope. Ex.  Yeah we don’t have proof the Earth is a spinning ball but it’s coming!


The Art of Reasoning by Prof. Dr. David Kelley

Logic by Prof. Dr. Gordon Clark

Ancient Philosophy Part 1.3 on Aristotle, by Prof. Dr. Gordon Clark

The Apostolic Fathers, Part 2: The Apocalypse of Peter

Following from our discussion of Letter to Diognetus the Apocalypse of Peter is a natural sequel. It is widely thought among scholars that this apocryphal document was written in the early 2nd century (James, 1924, p. 504) and is connected to the fraudulent letters of Second Peter and Jude. In the Bible there are many references to the fate of the unsaved which state that they will be obliterated from all of history, however in passages about the Lake of Fire, fires and bodies in Hell, and especially the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), should one so desire, they can read into the text a narrative of a torture chamber awaiting the damned. This error is pervasive even among the most committed believers because of a shallow reading of relevant passages and having a prejudice in favour of the eternal torture theory which has its first detailed presentation not in the New Testament (or New Covenant) writings, but with this ‘Apocalypse’ attributed to Peter. The author shows a knowledge of the Book of Revelation and the Transfiguration, supposing then that he read at least one of the Synoptic Gospels (James, 1924, p.512), and the work presents itself as a vision of when the dead will be raised and cast into Hell (ibid.) implying that early Christian heretics did not believe that the soul leaves its body at the point of death and goes straight to Heaven or Hell. At this time already the Pharisees held a view of Hell as “an ever-lasting prison” (Josephus, quoted in Stern, 2016, p.1403), but the Apocalypse of Peter shows strong Hellenic leanings in referring to Heaven as “Elysium” (James, 1924, p.518), a Greek name and concept which Jews would have refrained from using.

Aside from these thoughts the text is to be found only in pieces with differences between the Greek and Ethiopian versions (possibly embellished?) Its content is actually not at all interesting except in illustrating what the doctrine of eternal torture can do to a man’s mind; most it is a dreary succession of imaginative scenes of torture and violence which would unsettle even modern readers. Peter the Apostle is certainly not its author, aside from the clear discrepancy in time – Revelation was written about 70 AD when Peter would have been very old if not already martyred around 65 AD (Staniforth & Louth, 1987, p.20), so the Apocalypse must have been written after his death. Stylistic differences prove our case also, the Biblical Peter is shown in the Gospels and his work, 1st Peter, to be a warm, gentle, though volatile man who could not have possibly relished describing violence and torment as this author clearly did. What it does parallel is the violent and polemical tone of 2nd Peter and Jude and many scholars believe all three to be of the same hand or from associated authors.


James. M R, The New Testament Apocrypha (Apocryphile Press: California, 1924)

Staniforth. Maxwell & Louth. Andrew (ed.) The Apostolic Fathers: Early Christian Writings (2nd ed.) (Penguin Books: London, 1986)

Stern. David, The Complete Jewish Study Bible (Hendrikson Publishers Marketing, LL.C: Massachusetts, 2016)