Aristotle’s Theory of the Unity of Science [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 55 (2):426-427 (2001)


Nothing has so plagued twentieth-century philosophers of science as the demarcation problem—the effort to determine what constitutes science and marks it off from other human pursuits. We have come to the end of the century with, to say the least, no consensus among philosophers on this issue. This has led some, such as Larry Laudan, to announce the abandonment of the demarcation project, urging philosophers to turn their attention elsewhere. One wonders, however, whether all the options have been explored. In particular, has the problem been sufficiently investigated in light of its historical origins? This question takes on some urgency, not only with the failure of modern philosophy of science to develop a viable definition of science, but also in light of recent developments in Aristotle studies. After all, Aristotle was the first philosopher to attempt a systematic account of the nature of science and the details of this account have been a major focus of the scholarship of the past two decades, especially in the work of such scholars as Pierre Pellegrin, James Lennox, and David Balme, to mention only a very few.

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Michael W. Tkacz
Gonzaga University

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