Dissertation, University of Campinas (2015
Our aim is to argue for a deflationary interpretation of Aristotelian dialectic in the Topics, showing that dialectic is, for Aristotle, a specific sort of regulated debate, in contrast to a widely spread kind of interpretation which conceives dialectic as a method of philosophical investigation. Our claim is that an analysis carefully conducted of certain key texts does provide us with sufficient evidences for defending that the Topics is a handbook which codifies an existent art. This codification has a descriptive character and reveals the rules of the debate, what is the specific kind of argument used in it, how premises are obtained and the predicative relation of the propositions used by the debaters. The mastery of the techniques required by the debate is not grounded in any sort of particular knowledge, rather in linguistic competence. It is by doing a technical usage of this competence that the Topics can be useful for philosophy.