Causality and Coextensiveness in Aristotle's Posterior Analytics 1.13

Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 54:159-185 (2018)
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I discuss an important feature of the notion of cause in Post. An. 1. 13, 78b13–28, which has been either neglected or misunderstood. Some have treated it as if Aristotle were introducing a false principle about explanation; others have understood the point in terms of coextensiveness of cause and effect. However, none offers a full exegesis of Aristotle's tangled argument or accounts for all of the text's peculiarities. My aim is to disentangle Aristotle's steps to show that he is arguing in favour of a logical requirement for a middle term's being the appropriate cause of its explanandum. Coextensiveness between the middle term and the attribute it explains is advanced as a sine qua non condition of a middle term's being an appropriate or primary cause. This condition is not restricted either to negative causes or to middle terms in second‐figure syllogisms, but ranges over all primary causes qua primary.

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Lucas Angioni
University of Campinas


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