David Bronstein sheds new light on Aristotle's Posterior Analytics--one of the most important, and difficult, works in the history of western philosophy--by arguing that it is coherently structured around two themes of enduring philosophical interest: knowledge and learning. He argues that the Posterior Analytics is a sustained examination of scientific knowledge, an elegantly organized work in which Aristotle describes the mind's ascent from sense-perception of particulars to scientific knowledge of first principles. Bronstein goes on to highlight Plato's influence on Aristotle's (...) text, and argues against current orthodoxy that Aristotle is committed to the Socratic Picture of inquiry, according to which one should seek what a thing's essence is before seeking its demonstrable attributes and their causes. (shrink)
Abstract In Posterior Analytics II.19 Aristotle raises and answers the question, how do first principles become known? The usual view is that the question asks about the process or method by which we learn principles and that his answer is induction. I argue that the question asks about the original prior knowledge from which principles become known and that his answer is perception. Hence the aim of II.19 is not to explain how we get all the way to principles but (...) to defend the claim that our knowledge of them originates in perception. Aristotle explains how we learn principles earlier in book II, in his account of definitional inquiry. In II.19 he explains how we reach by induction the preliminary accounts necessary for such inquiries. (shrink)
Plato in the Meno is standardly interpreted as committed to condition innatism: human beings are born with latent innate states of knowledge. Against this view, Gail Fine has argued for prenatalism: human souls possess knowledge in a disembodied state but lose it upon being embodied. We argue against both views and in favor of content innatism: human beings are born with innate cognitive contents that can be, but do not exist innately in the soul as, the contents of states of (...) knowledge. Content innatism has strong textual support and constitutes a philosophically interesting theory. (shrink)
In Posterior Analytics 2.19, Aristotle argues that we cannot have innate knowledge of first principles because if we did we would have the most precise items of knowledge without noticing, which is impossible. To understand Aristotle’s argument we need to understand why he thinks we cannot possess these items of knowledge without noticing. In this paper, I present three different answers to this question and three different readings of his argument corresponding to them. The first two readings focus on the (...) fact that we do not use the knowledge we allegedly possess innately. However, I argue that these readings fail to produce convincing arguments. I then offer a third reading, which focuses on the fact that we do not notice the knowledge we allegedly possess innately when we use it for the first time. I argue that this reading produces a more convincing argument than either of the first two. (shrink)
I argue against the standard interpretation of Aristotle’s account of ‘natural predication’ in Posterior Analytics 1.19 and 1.22 according to which only substances can serve as subjects in such predications. I argue that this interpretation cannot accommodate a number of demonstrations Aristotle sanctions. I propose a new interpretation that can accommodate them.
This chapter examines Plato’s account of the method of learning by paradeigma (‘model’) in the Statesman. I first explain what the method is. I then consider the two parties who are described as using it: children who are learning to read and write and the dialogue’s two interlocutors. I highlight some parallels between each party’s use of the method. These parallels illuminate important features of dialectical inquiry in general and the Visitor and Young Socrates’ inquiry in particular, including the nature (...) of the knowledge they ultimately hope to achieve and one stage in the complex process by which they aim achieve it. (shrink)
The introduction summarizes the six new papers collected in Volume 1, Tome 5: Eleatic Ontology and Aristotle. The papers take a fresh look at virtually every aspect of Aristotle’s engagement with Eleaticism. They are particularly concerned with Aristotle’s responses to Parmenidean monism, the Eleatic rejection of change, and Zeno’s paradoxes. The contributions also focus on the ways in which Aristotle developed several of his own theories in metaphysics and natural science partly in reaction to Eleatic puzzles and arguments.
Contemporary virtue epistemologists argue that cognitive acts are knowledge by issuing from capacities that constitute intellectual virtues. This chapter argues that Aristotle rejects this thesis in favour of the view that capacities constitute intellectual virtues by issuing in cognitive acts that are knowledge.
This paper discusses some issues about Aristotle’s theory of scientific investigation in Posterior Analytics II 8. Aristotle says that scientific investigation comes in three stages. My point is that Aristotle’s theory of scientific investigation cannot avoid Meno’s paradox – the paradox about the impossibility of whatsoever sort of investigation – unless its second stage, the stage in which one establishes that an object exists, is understood in terms of establishing that the object is a legitimate explanandum in the domain of (...) a given science. (shrink)
Aristoteles’ Theorie der Demonstration ist in seinen Analytica posteriora enthalten, einem Werk, das seine in den Analytica priora präsentierte Theorie des Syllogismus zur Voraussetzung hat und auf ihm aufbaut. Eine Demonstration ist ein spezieller Typ von Syllogismus, nämlich ein solcher, der beweist, dass eine Tatsache notwendig ist, indem er deren Ursache oder Erklärung aus bestimmten Prämissen aufzeigt, die ihrerseits bestimmte Bedingungen erfüllen müssen. Aristoteles’ Theorie der Demonstration ist eng mit seinem Begriff des wissenschaftlichen Wissens verknüpft, weil wissenschaftliches Wissen seiner Auffassung (...) nach durch Demonstration erlangt wird. Von daher steht die Demonstration im Mittelpunkt seiner Wissenschaftsphilosophie. Eine Wissenschaft stellt dabei eine bestimmte Abfolge von miteinander verbundenen Demonstrationen dar, die kausale Relationen unter den in ihren Bereich fallenden Tatsachen aufzeigt. (shrink)