Ibn Rušd devoted a certain number of works to Aristotle's Prior Analytics. In a series of opuscules written over a period of twenty years and following upon his Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics, he faced a problem particular to the modal syllogism – that of the mood of the conclusion in mixed syllogisms.
The problem can be stated as follows: At the beginning of the Prior Analytics, Aristotle established a formal deductive principle – that of universal attribution (Pr. An. I.1.24b26–30). Applied to the modal syllogism, this principle is inadequate as stated. It is too general to be applied in a univocal manner in all modal syllogisms. To preserve a sense of coherence in Aristotle's declarations, the commentators had to interpret it. Presenting the interpretations of the commentators, primarily al-Fārābī and Alexander, on the basis of al-Fārābī's Large Commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics, Averroes criticizes them. Applied according to Alexander's interpretation, the principle of universal attribution is valid only for modal syllogisms one of whose premises is necessary and the other assertoric; according to al-Fārābī's interpretation, it is verified only when the minor premise is possible. Averroes proposes two preliminary solutions. Either this formal deductive principle must be applied differently according to the modal differences of the minor premises in mixed syllogisms (first solution) or would be used in two ways, generally or in keeping with each mood (second solution). These solutions are not satisfactory, for they call into question the unity and universality of the principle of universal attribution as established by Aristotle. What is the utility, Averroes asks, of a principle which does not hold for all modalities or does not apply to all the premises when the Pr. An. ought to furnish formal and universal principles of deduction? And why did Aristotle define the principle of universal attribution without distinguishing its application according to each of the three modal premises? Returning at the end of his career to a literal exegesis of Aristotle's propositions and without harkening back to the earlier solutions, he proposes a theory of making the terms modal (fourth solution) in order to save Aristotle's declarations with respect to the principle of universal attribution and the mood of the conclusion of mixed syllogisms (Pr. An. I. 9.30al5–20). Though formally inadequate, this solution, which had a continued history, proposes a new way of looking at the classification of modal propositions.