Aristotle's First Principles (Google eBook)

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Oxford University Press, Jan 12, 1989 - Philosophy - 720 pages
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Aristotle's reliance on dialectic as a method of philosophy appears to conflict with his metaphysical realist view of his conclusions. This book explores Aristotle's philosophical method and the merits of his conclusions, and shows how he defends dialectic against the objection that it cannot justify a metaphysical realist's claims. Since a proper understanding of Aristotle's method requires emphasis on the systematic character of his philosophy, Professor Irwin examines questions in several different areas - metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and ethics - and stresses the connections between doctrines and issues that are often discussed in isolation. Extensive previous acquaintance with Aristotle is not presupposed, and there are translations of Greek texts as well as transliterations of Greek words. - ;I. The emergence of the problem: The problem of first principles; Inquiry and dialectic; Constructive dialectic; Puzzles and substance; The formal cause; Conditions for science; Puzzles about science; II. Solutions to the problem: The universal science; The science of being; Substance and essence; Essence and form; Form and substance; III. Applications of the solution: The soul as substance; Soul and mind; Action; The good of rational agents; The virtues of rational agents; The good of others; The state; Justice; The consequences of virtue and vice; Reconsiderations; Notes -
  

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Contents

Particular forms as substances
250
The nature of particular forms
252
The role of particular forms
253
Particular forms and the criteria for substance
255
Particular forms as primary substances
257
Objections to universals as substances
259
The case for universal substances
261
The status of particular substances
263

Applications of the solution
21
Inquiry and Dialectic
26
The study of method
27
Ways to first principles
29
Empirical startingpoints
30
The accumulation of data
31
Induction
32
The evaluation of theories
33
Conclusions on Aristotles empirical method
35
The functions of dialectic
36
The startingpoint of dialectic
37
Dialectical puzzles
40
Dialectical puzzles and the aims of dialectic
42
The construction of a theory
43
The evaluation of dialectical theories
45
The special role of dialectic
48
Questions about dialectic
49
Constructive Dialectic
51
The nature of the categories
52
Substance and the categories
55
Inherence and strong predication
57
Substance and quality
58
Substance and change
59
Substance and essential properties
61
The anomaly of differentiae
64
The dialectical search for first principles
66
The role of dialectic
67
The defence of first principles
69
General features of change
70
Puzzles about Substance
73
Basic subjects
76
Matter
77
Universals
78
The dependent status of universals
80
The independence of first substances
82
Weaknesses of dialectic
83
Principles of change
84
Puzzles about unqualified becoming
87
Matter as substance
88
Form as substance
89
Resulting difficulties
91
The Formal Cause
94
The four causes
95
Causes and first principles
97
Form and matter as causes
99
Further difficulties about form
100
Disputes about teleology
102
The difference between final causation and coincidence
104
The arguments for teleology
105
The basis of the argument for teleology
108
Teleology and necessity
109
Teleology and substance
112
Further developments
114
Conditions for Science
117
Science and universals
118
Explanatory properties and basic subjects
120
Explanatory properties and the arguments about substance
121
Natural priority in demonstration
122
Natural priority compared with epistemic priority
124
The case for circular demonstration
125
The rejection of coherence as a source of justification
127
The rejection of an infinite regress
129
Foundationalism
130
The status of first principles
131
Puzzles about Science
134
The doctrine of intuition
135
Intuition and inquiry
136
Dialectic and justification
137
Criticisms of dialectic
139
Objections to Aristotles solution
141
Intuition and the common principles
143
Difficulties in Aristotles position
145
Consequences of Aristotles position
147
The unsolved puzzles
148
SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM
151
The Universal Science
153
Wisdom and scepticism
155
Universal science and the four causes
157
The character of universal science
159
Puzzles about universal science
161
Methodological puzzles
162
Substantive puzzles
163
Puzzles and preliminary questions
166
The possibility of a universal science
168
The object of universal science
170
The universal science contrasted with demonstrative science
172
The universal science contrasted with dialectic
174
The dialectical character of universal science
175
The task of the universal science
177
The science of Being
179
The defence of the principle of noncontradiction
181
From noncontradiction to essence and substance
183
The dialectical character of the argument
185
The status of the conclusion
187
Protagoras and the science of being
189
The reply to Protagoras
190
Scepticism and the science of being
192
The reply to scepticism
194
The knowledge of first principles
196
Substance and Essence
199
The priority of substance
200
Criteria for substance
202
Substance as subject
204
Strategy
206
Subject as matter
207
Further tests for substance
210
Essence and subject
211
A revised criterion for substance
213
A preliminary solution of the puzzles
216
Essence as particular
217
Essence as subject
219
The progress of the argument
220
Essence and Form
223
Substance and actuality
225
Potentiality
226
Potentiality and possibility
227
Degrees of potentiality
230
Proximate potentiality
231
Conditions for potentiality
233
Potentiality without change
235
Form as actuality
237
Form and matter in definitions
238
Formal and material essences
239
Types of matter
241
Types of compounds
243
The essence of natural substances
245
Form and Substance
248
The difference between universals and properties
264
Particulars and universals as substances
265
The primacy of particular substances
268
Results of the Metaphysics
270
The role of a priori and empirical argument
271
First philosophy and strong dialectic
274
APPLICATIONS OF THE SOLUTION
277
The Soul as Substance
279
Puzzles about the soul
280
The solution
282
The relation of soul to body
284
Answers to puzzles
286
The contribution of first philosophy
288
Dualism
290
Materialism
293
Empirical argument dialectic and first philosophy
296
Soul and mind
299
Soul and Mind
303
Perception as process and activity
305
The accounts of perception
307
Form and matter in perception
310
Realism about perceptible qualities
311
The rejection of realism
313
The infallibility of the senses
314
Complex perception
315
Appearance
318
Appearance and thought
319
Thought
320
Thought and inference
322
Thought content and structure
323
The cognitive faculties
325
Action
329
The unity of desire
330
Desire and apparent good
332
Reason and desire
333
Rational desires
334
The scope of deliberation
335
Rational agency and the good
336
The temporal aspects of rational agency
338
Rational agency and responsibility
340
Aspects of responsibility
342
The form of human beings
344
The Good of Rational Agents
347
The content of ethics
349
The direction of moral argument
351
Tasks for the Politics
352
The aims of the Politics
354
Difficulties in political argument
356
Strong dialectic in political theory
358
The final good
359
The completeness of the final good
360
The selfsufficiency of the final good
362
Rational agency and the human function
363
Rational agency and human capacities
366
Rational agency and happiness
368
Selfrealization
369
Selfrealization and human good
370
The Virtues of Rational Agents
373
Virtue reason and desire
374
Concern for a self
376
Self essence and character
377
Selflove and selfrealization
379
Rational control and selfregarding virtues
381
Degrees of rational control
383
The scope of rational control
385
The defence of common beliefs
387
The Good of Others
389
Friendship and altruism
390
Selflove and altruism
391
The defence of friendship
393
The friend as another self
395
Extended altruism and the moral virtues
397
The political community and the human good
399
Political activity
402
The complete community
404
The State
407
The human good and the citizen
409
The human good and leisure
411
Leisure as a condition of freedom
413
Aristotles misuse of his argument
414
Moral education as a task for the state
416
The defence of moral education
418
The apparent conflict between freedom and moral education
419
Aspects of freedom
421
The reconciliation of freedom and moral education
422
Justice
424
The problem of special justice
425
Conditions for just distribution
427
Retrospective justice
428
The relation between general and special justice
430
Errors about justice
432
Political systems and their errors about justice
433
The effects of errors about justice
435
Answers to puzzles about justice
437
The Consequences of Virtue and Vice
439
The particular virtues and nonrational desires
441
The particular virtues and external goods
442
Virtue and the loss of external goods
445
The supremacy of virtue
447
Vice in a political context
449
The variety of political systems
450
Vice and conflict
451
Vice and aggression
452
Vice and slavishness
453
Instability in political systems
456
Virtue and political stability
457
Stability and the middle class
460
The defence of private property
462
Objections to the defence of private property
464
Moral and political theory in Aristotles system
466
The evaluation of Aristotles claims
468
Reconsiderations
470
The treatment of Aristotles early works
472
The treatment of Aristotles late works
473
Strong dialectic
476
The uses of strong dialectic
477
Systematic philosophy in Aristotle
480
Metaphysics epistemology and method
482
Defences of Aristotle
483
Dialectic and historical study
485
Notes
487
Bibliography
642
Index Locorum
661
Index Nominum
684
General Index
688
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