Summer 2024 - PHIL 451W E100

Advanced Topics in the History of Philosophy (4)

Aristotle's Logical Works

Class Number: 3653

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Tue, 4:30–8:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Two 300-level PHIL courses.



May be repeated for credit. Writing.


Topic: Aristotle’s Logical Works

[Note: this course is to be taught concurrently with PHIL 852.]

Among his many remarkable philosophical accomplishments, Aristotle is the father of logic. His works on logic are among the very most impactful philosophical treatises ever written. Perhaps more than any other philosophical works, the interpretation and misinterpretation of his logical works have shaped the philosophical landscape. In this seminar, we will do a close reading, discussion, and reconstruction of the six treatises that have traditionally been referred to collectively as The Organon: the short but extremely dense and intricate Categories, the more voluminous dialectical treatises Topics and the Sophistical Refutations, the consolidating grammatico-philosophical On Interpretation, the revered Prior Analytics in which Aristotle developed the famous theory of syllogistic figures and moods, among other things, and the sometimes clear and sometimes baffling Posterior Analytics, in which Aristotle articulates the demonstrative method that would become a cornerstone of mathematical and scientific methodology for millennia. Students taking this seminar should be prepared to read those texts very closely and understand that, while it will sometimes lead to exciting insights, it will also occasionally lead to frustration. In addition, students taking this seminar should be prepared to use contemporary formal tools to examine interpretive theses concerning Aristotle’s logical doctrines.


PHIL 451W may be applied towards the Writing Requirement (and the upper division Writing Requirement for Philosophy Majors). This course may be repeated for credit if the topic is different.

The educational goal of this course is to develop a deeper understanding of the core concepts of logical methodology, including:

- To appreciate the complexity of the core concepts of logical methodology.

- To reflect an understanding of the way in which logicians have both disagreed with each other and built upon each other’s work across the traditions.

- To establish connections between various writers’ views about logic and their views about philosophy and science broadly construed.

- To improve one’s assessment of the way in which some works in traditional logic can inform our understanding of logical methodology.

- To become familiar with the logical doctrines that philosophers have reflected upon for millennia.


  • Weekly written participation to our discussion board, in terms of raising questions for discussion, and contributing to discussions arising from other students’ questions 20%
  • Participation to in-person seminars 5%
  • Assignments—logic problem sets (5 x 3pts) 15%
  • Presentation (with slides) of the draft of your term paper 10%
  • A term paper (approximately 12 pages) on one of Aristotle’s key ideas about logic, including both exegesis and formal reconstruction 50%


Due to the nature of the assignments, and the fact that it’s a seminar, attendance will be essential.



Readings will be distributed in PDF on Canvas or links will be provided to free text repositories.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.