Aristotle and the necessity of scientific knowledge


This is a translation, made by myself, of the paper to be published in Portuguese in the journal Discurso, 2020, in honour of the late professor Oswaldo Porchat. I discuss what Aristotle was trying to encode when he said that the object of scientific knowledge is necessary, or that what we know (scientifically) cannot be otherwise etc. The paper is meant as a continuation of previous papers—orientated towards a book on the Posterior Analytics—and thus does not discuss in much detail key passages, as the very definition of scientific knowledge in APo I.2, or passages from APo I.4 and I.6 (for these, I refer to my previous papers). This paper is mainly focused on Aristotle’s references to his notion of scientific knowledge both in other passages from the APo and in other treatises. I intend to show that there is a progressive, intrinsic relation between the two requirements by which scientific knowledge is defined. It is not true that each of these requirements stems from a different source. The Causal-Explanatory requirements gives Aristotle the general heading. Then, the Necessity Requirement ranges over the explanatory relation between explanans and explanandum and thereby specifies what sort of cause is sctricly required for having scientific knowledge of a given explanandum. Now, Aristotle was also concerned with the necessary truth of the elemental predications that constitute a demonstration. My claim that the Necessity Requirement ranges over the explanatory relation does not ignore that concern, and does not deny it. My claim is that Aristotle’s main focus, and main concern, consists in stressing that the explanatory factor to be captured in scientific knowledge of a given explanandum is such that cannot be otherwise.

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Lucas Angioni
University of Campinas


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