Analysis and Science in Aristotle

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Presents a new interpretation of Aristotle's Analytics (the Prior and Posterior Analytics) as a unified whole, and argues that to "loose up"or solve -- rather than to reduce or break up -- is the principle meaning which best characterizes the Analytics.

Offering a new interpretation of Aristotle's Analytics (the Prior and Posterior Analytics) as a unified whole, Patrick H. Byrne argues that a non-deductive form of ancient mathematical analysis influenced Aristotle's thinking. Reading the Analytics with this perspective in mind sheds new light on Aristotle's theories of the syllogism, demonstration, and the principles of science.

The book begins with a brief survey of ancient geometrical analysis and an investigation of Aristotle's uses of the Greek term, analuein. Byrne argues that "to loose up" or solve -- rather than to reduce or break up -- is the principal meaning which best characterizes Aristotle's Analytics. Extending this line of reasoning, he argues that for Aristotle scientific analysis commonly begins with knowledge of a "mere fact" (a conclusion) and seeks a rigorous demonstration which expresses knowledge of the "reasoned fact". Moreover, genuine analysis of a fact into a reasoned fact cannot be accomplished unless the premises of demonstrations are themselves reasoned facts. Hence the processes which yield the immediate principles (especially definitions) are next investigated through detailed examinations of key examples which Aristotle provides.

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About the author

Patrick H. Byrne is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Boston College.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
303
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ISBN
9780791498194
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Free Will & Determinism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Aristotle's modal syllogistic has been an object of study ever since the time of Theophrastus; but these studies (apart from an intense flowering in the Middle Ages) have been somewhat desultory. Remarkably, in the 1990s several new lines of research have appeared, with series of original publications by Fred Johnson, Richard Patterson and Ulrich Nortmann. Johnson presented for the first time a formal semantics adequate to a de re reading of the apodeictic syllogistic; this was based on a simple intuition linking the modal syllogistic to Aristotelian metaphysics. Nortmann developed an ingenious de dicto analysis. Patterson articulated the links (both theoretical and genetic) between the modal syllogistic and the metaphysics, using an analysis which strictly speaking is neither de re nor de dicto. My own studies in this field date from 1976, when my colleague Peter Roeper and I jointly wrote a paper "Aristotle's apodeictic syllogisms" for the XXIInd History of Logic Conference in Krakow. This paper contained the disjunctive reading of particular affirmative apodeictic propositions, which I still favour. Nonetheless, I did not consider that paper's results decisive or comprehensive enough to publish, and my 1981 book The Syllogism contained no treatment of the modal syllogism. The paper's ideas lay dormant till 1989, when I read Johnson's and Patterson's initial articles. I began publishing on the topic in 1991. Gradually my thoughts acquired a certain comprehensiveness and systematicity, till in 1993 I was able to take a semester's sabbatical to write up a draft of this book.
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