Apophantic  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Apophantic (ἀποφαντικός, "declaratory", from ἀποφαίνειν apophainein, "to show, to make known") is a term Aristotle coined to mean a specific type of declaratory statement that can determine the truth or falsity of a logical proposition or phenomenon. It was adopted by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger as part of phenomenology.

In Aristotle's usage, the Greek term ἀποφαντικὸς λόγος (apophantic speech) describes a statement that, by examining a proposition in itself, can determine what is true about a statement by establishing whether or not the predicate of a sentence may logically be attributed to its subject. For example, logical propositions may be divided into ones that are semantically determinate, as in the sentence "All penguins are birds," and those that are semantically indeterminate, as in the sentence "All bachelors are unhappy." In the first proposition, the subject is penguins and the predicate is birds, and the set of all birds is a category into which the subject of penguins should necessarily be put. In the second proposition, the subject is bachelors and the predicate is unhappy. This is a subjective, contingent connection that does not necessarily follow. An apophantic conclusion would, by examining the two statements—and not any evidence supporting or denying them—make a judgment between them that identifies "All penguins are birds" as more truthful than "All bachelors are unhappy." One would reach this conclusion simply because of the propositions' nature, and not because any penguins or bachelors had been consulted.

In phenomenology, Martin Heidegger argues that apophantic judgements are the most reliable means of obtaining truth, as they do not rely upon subjective comparisons. Before Heidegger, however, his former teacher Husserl had already centralized the role of apophantic judgment in his phenomenological 'transcendental logic', during the course lectures on passive synthesis in the mid 1920s.

The concept appears in the Arabic Aristotelian tradition as jâzim, or 'truth-apt'.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Apophantic" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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