Defining topics in aristotle’s topics VI

Philósophos - Revista de Filosofia 19 (2):151-193 (2014)
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Abstract

I argue that Topics VI does not contain any serious theory about definitions, but only a collection of advices for formulating definitions in a dialectical context, namely, definitions aiming to catch what the opponent means. Topics VI is full of inconsistencies that can be explained away by this approach: the inconsistencies reflect "acceptable opinions about definitions" that distinct groups of interlocutors accept. I also argue that the "topoi" need not be pieces of serious theory Aristotle is commited to. The "topoi" must also be considered as "endoxa", namely, as accepted opinions about how it is legitimate to draw an inference

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Lucas Angioni
University of Campinas

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