From the Aristotelian point of view, the difficulties notoriously facing modern origins of life research stem, not merely from any gap in current empirical knowledge, but from the irreducibility of even the simplest organic substances to purely inorganic phenomena. The intractability of the qualia problem stems from the irreducibility of sentient forms of life to merely vegetative forms of life. The difficulties facing materialist theories of the propositional attitudes stem from the irreducibility of the rational or human form of life to the merely sentient forms of life. In other words, the difficulties in question are essentially confirmation of the traditional Aristotelian position. … (Edward Feser, Aristotle's Revenge: The Metaphysical Foundation of Physical and Biological Science, 41)
In the elemental laws of propositional logic, the logical fallacy of Affirming the Consequent states that it is invalid to assert the truth of the antecedent if the consequent is valid. Thus, in the syllogism If p, then q, if one asserts q, p is not necessarily true. This particular fallacy is pertinent here because Edward Feser just committed this fallacy in trying to argue that the problems of modern science "confirms the traditional Aristotelian position " (Emphasis added).
The syllogism can be constructed as follows:
- P1) "If Aristotelianism is true, then there is irreducibility of animal life to vegetative life, and irreducibility of rational life to animal life."
- P2) "This irreducibility seems to be true as seen in the failure of modern science to account for the origins of life and rationality
- C) Therefore, the traditional Aristotelian position is true.
As it should be evident from the syllogism, the form of this syllogism is essentially "If p, then q; q; therefore p," and thus it is the fallacy of affirming the consequent. Feser errs in his argument for the truth of Aristotle in this matter, and this is just the beginning.