Structure of a Categorial Syllogism
-  The Figure  -

The position of the middle term in the premises is called the figure of the syllogism. Because there are two premises, and two possible positions in each premise, there are four figures. They are identified by number as follows:

1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Major M P P M M P P M
Minor S M S M M S M S
Conclusion S P S P S P S P

Within each figure, the premises and the conclusion can have any of the standard forms for categorical propositions. That is, within each figure, a syllogism can have any mood.


Comprehension Questions

1 The figure of a categorical syllogism is determined by the position of which term?
a) the major term
b) the minor term
c) the middle term
2 In which figure of a categorical syllogism is the middle term the subject of the major and the predicate of the minor?
a) first figure
b) second figure
c) third figure
d) fourth figure
3 In which figure of a categorical syllogism is the middle term the subject of both the major and the minor premises?
a) first figure
b) second figure
c) third figure
d) fourth figure
4 In which figure of a categorical syllogism is the middle term the predicate of both the major and the minor premises?
a) first figure
b) second figure
c) third figure
d) fourth figure
5 In which figure of a categorical syllogism is the middle term the predicate of the major and the subject of the minor?
a) first figure
b) second figure
c) third figure
d) fourth figure
6 What is the figure of the following categorical syllogism?

No horned animal is a predator
All moose are horned animals


No moose is a predator
a) first figure
b) second figure
c) third figure
d) fourth figure
7 What is the figure of the following categorical syllogism?

All of Shakespeare's dramas are in blank verse
Some great plays are in blank verse


Some great plays are Shakespeare's dramas
a) first figure
b) second figure
c) third figure
d) fourth figure
8 What is the figure of the following categorical syllogism?

No Marxist advocates private property
All conservatives advocate private property


No conservative is a Marxist
a) first figure
b) second figure
c) third figure
d) fourth figure
9 What is the figure of the following categorical syllogism?

All mammals are animals that breathe by means of lungs
All whales are mammals


All whales are animals that breathe by means of lungs
a) first figure
b) second figure
c) third figure
d) fourth figure
10 What is the figure of the following categorical syllogism?

Some crimes against property are fraud
All frauds are felonies


Some felonies are crimes against property
a) first figure
b) second figure
c) third figure
d) fourth figure
11 What is the figure of the following categorical syllogism?

All cars are designed for personal transportation
All cars are motor vehicles


Some motor vehicles are designed for personal transportation
a) first figure
b) second figure
c) third figure
d) fourth figure


The Mood | The Figure
Assessment of Categorial Syllogisms by Rules

© Copyright 1998, W.W. Norton & Co.