I reconstruct Aristotle’s epistemology and scientific methodology avoiding some problems which, in my opinion, are attributed to them from inadequate interpretations in terms of foundationalism or coherentism. On the contrary, I credit Aristotle with a hybrid concept of empiricism in which our knowledge is made possible through the integration of two different but cooperative factors: observations and beliefs. By clarifying the implications of Aristotle’s concept of experience and the basis for the elaboration of scientific knowledge, I try to give an alternative account of Aristotle’s vindication of a positive use of dialectic in science, as well as to show that an integration between dialectical examination of beliefs and scientific analysis of facts is possible and it also gives a plausible methodological image of Aristotle’s theory. According to my proposal, some opinions play a conceptual role in the empirical basis of knowledge. But, for Aristotle, this does not amount to any more than a kind of knowledge of the facts, not being equivalent to a scientific knowledge of the causes. Finally, I try to show that within this complex epistemological framework Aristotle’s use of induction could also be given an adequate explanation.
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DOI 10.1515/elen-2010-310204
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