Download Aristotle's First Principles by Terence Irwin PDF

By Terence Irwin

Exploring Aristotle's philosophical technique and the advantages of his conclusions, Irwin the following exhibits how Aristotle defended dialectic opposed to the objection that it can't justify a metaphysical realist's claims. He focuses rather on Aristotle's metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of brain, and ethics, stressing the connections among doctrines which are frequently mentioned individually.

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Sample text

For presumably the principles of perceptible things should be perceptible, of eternal things eternal, or perishable things perishable, and in general the principles should be of the same kind as the subjectmatter. Because of their love of these 〈beliefs〉 they would seem to do something similar to those who maintain their 〈paradoxical〉 theses; for they are unmoved by any consequences; on the assumption that they have the true principles. They behave as though it were not right to judge some things by their consequences, and especially by their end; and whereas the end of productive science is the product, the end of natural 〈science〉 is what in each case appears authoritatively (kuriôs) in accordance with perception.

3) We want the universal science to discuss substance, but we cannot make up our minds about the appropriate criteria for assessing the claims of different alleged substances. (4) Since we cannot decide on the right criteria, we cannot decide on the claims of form and matter, which sometimes seem to be rival candidates for substance. I intend to follow Aristotle's advice, and to examine the puzzles before attempting to solve them. Aristotle does not bring up these four puzzles simply as an expository device, or as a list of other people's puzzles and difficulties.

Commentators freely illustrate remarks in one work by appeal to another work, on the assumption that the second work will always express the general view that Aristotle had in mind in writing the first. In the particular case that concerns us, commentators readily expound Aristotle's remarks about dialectic, science, and first principles in the light of his doctrines about universal science in the Metaphysics. 18 In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, by contrast, the study of Aristotle has been heavily influenced by questions about Aristotle's development; students normally regard it as a possibility to be taken seriously, even though they disagree about how much difference it makes.

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