Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Phronesis: 2013, Vol. 58, No. 3

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Phronesis: 2013, Vol. 58, No. 3

Article excerpt

Circular Justification and Explanation in Aristotle, OWEN GOLDIN

Aristotle's account of episteme is foundationalist. In contrast, the web of dialectical argumentation that constitutes justification for scientific principles is coherentist. Aristotle's account of explanation is structurally parallel to the argument for a foundationalist account of justification. He accepts the first argument but his coherentist accounts of justification indicate that he would not accept the second. Where is the disanalogy? For Aristotle, the intelligibility of a demonstrative premise is the cause of the intelligibility of a demonstrated conclusion, and causation is asymmetric. Within the Posterior Analytics itself, Aristotle does not account for this, but elsewhere he develops the resources for doing so: the cause is what acts on a substrate to actualize a potential in that substrate, resulting in the effect. On the other hand, it may well happen that two propositions entail each other, in which case one may as well justify the one proposition on the basis of the other as vice versa.

Aristotle on Circular Proof, MARKO MALINK

In Posterior Analytics 1.3, Aristotle advances three arguments against circular proof. The third argument relies on his discussion of circular proof in Prior Analytics 2.5. This is problematic because the two chapters seem to deal with two rather disparate conceptions of circular proof. In Posterior Analytics 1.3, Aristotle gives a purely propositional account of circular proof, whereas in Prior Analytics 2.5 he gives a more complex, syllogistic account. This paper's aim is to show that these problems can be solved, and that Aristotle's third argument in Posterior Analytics 1.3 is successful. It argues that both chapters are concerned with the same conception of circular proof, namely the propositional one. Contrary to what is often thought, the syllogistic conception provides an adequate analysis of the internal deductive structure of the propositional one. Aristotle achieves this by employing a kind of multiple-conclusion logic. …

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