Aristotle on Necessary Principles and on Explaining X through X’s essence

Studia Philosophica Estonica 7 (2):88-112 (2014)
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I discuss what Aristotle means when he say that scientific demonstration must proceed from necessary principles. I argue that, for Aristotle, scientific demonstration should not be reduced to sound deduction with necessary premises. Scientific demonstration ultimately depends on the fully appropriate explanatory factor for a given explanandum. This explanatory factor is what makes the explanandum what it is. Consequently, this factor is also unique. When Aristotle says that demonstration must proceed from necessary principles, he means that each demonstration requires the principle that is the necessary one for the fully appropriate explanation of its explanandum. This picture also provides a key to understand Aristotle's thesis that scientific explanation depends on essences: it is the essence of the attribute to be explained that should be stated as the fully appropriate explanatory factor

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Lucas Angioni
University of Campinas


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