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Aristotle (384-322 BC)


The art of Reasoning, while being a part of the Trivium, is one of the four basic branches of Philosophy.  It is studied in the library of works, composed by Aristotle, called the Organon.  It’s important to understand that Reasoning is an art studied as an instrument to be used for the investigation of Reasoning itself and the higher sciences.  The bottom line is that we have to analyze and internalize the system presented in these texts because, as Cardinal John Henry Newman said, “To think correctly is to think like Aristotle.”

Reasoning Courses

Classical Reasoning I

This is an extremely difficult course which requires great intellectual work.

  • Porphyry’s Introduction
    In the Confessions, Augustine boasted of his ability to read and understand Aristotle without a tutor.  For most students, a tutor is necessary and it was for this purpose that the 1st century philosophy Porphyry wrote his famous Introduction.
  • Aristotle’s Categories
    In this first study, Aristotle calls attention to the importance of accuracy in the use of words, which are the cause of much confusion and error.  He also teaches a system of ten categories into which any subject may be set, which provides us with the mental framework for all of the studies that follow.
  • Aristotle, On Interpretation
    In this second study, Aristotle moves on from simple words and ideas to complex expressions, leading to the doctrine of propositions.  CLAA students enjoy the benefit of studying true classical Grammar, which is aligned with the doctrine of Aristotle and makes understanding these studies much easier than they are for modern students.

Classical Reasoning II

  • Prior Analytics
    In this third study, which consists of two separate books, Aristotle moves from the study of propositions to the doctrine of syllogisms, which is the basic doctrine on which all true philosophy is based.

Classical Reasoning III

  • Posterior Analytics
    In this fourth study, Aristotle teaches the first of two the methods of reasoning:  Demonstrative reasoning.  This positive method of reasoning from propositions that are absolutely certain allows us to enter into philosophical investigations and draw conclusions that are equally certain.

Classical Reasoning IV

  • Topics
    In this fifth study, Aristotle teaches the second of two methods of reasoning:  Dialectical Reasoning.  This, known also as the “Socratic Method”, is a negative method of reasoning, by which we reason from propositions granted by others, to lead them into a necessary self-contradiction.

Classical Reasoning V

  • Refutations
    In the last study, Aristotle leads students in an examination of thirteen common errors in reasoning (i.e., fallacies), which are used strategically by “sophists” as a means of deceiving others in debate.

Exercise in Reasoning

All of the theoretical study described above would be useless if students were not given the opportunity to practice the use of it in academic exercises.  Students who make progress in the study of Reasoning have the opportunity for such exercise through disputations and essay writing offered through the CLAA’s Premium Support services.

If you have any questions about the CLAA’s courses in Classical Reasoning, please contact us.  God bless you all.

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