Aristotle’s Considered View of the Path to Knowledge

In El espíritu y la letra: un homenaje a Alfonso Gomez-Lobo. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Colihue. pp. 127-145 (2012)
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Abstract

I argue that these inconsistencies in wording and practice reflect the existence of two distinct Aristotelian views of inquiry, one peculiar to the Posterior Analytics and the other put forward in the Physics and practiced in the Physics and in other treatises. Although the two views overlap to some degree (e.g. both regard a rudimentary understanding of the subject as an essential first stage), the view of the syllogism as the workhorse of scientific investigation and the related view of inquiry as a search for the ‘missing middle terms’ turn out to be ideas peculiar to the Analytics. Conversely, the techniques of analysis and differentiation highlighted in the Physics account receive only cursory attention in the Analytics. However, when we consider the character of Aristotle’s own inquiries, on both scientific and philosophical topics, it becomes clear that it is the Physics rather than the Posterior Analytics that gives us Aristotle’s considered view the path to knowledge.

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