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Is Aristotelian Science Possible?

A Commentary on MacIntyre and McMullin Author(s): Jean De Groot Reviewed work(s): Source: The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Mar., 2007), pp. 463-477 Published by: Philosophy Education Society Inc. Stable URL: . Accessed: 29/01/2013 18:07
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in 1990 Lectures, University given at Marquette and Ernan McMullin offer a and 1992 respectively, Alasdair Maclntyre in and a critique defense of Aristotle's of science the Posterior theory Aquinas informed of ac interpretation, by a lifetime in is of complishment contemporary science, philosophy negative as either an adequate about the treatise of science natural description McMullin's or a normative say deals argue, tation account es of it. Maclntyre's and penetrating engaging in the treatise. the picture of science I shall with interpre and per



generously that the two philosophers share an incorrect however, as deductivist of the science of the Posterior Analytics Both miss the true focus of Aristotle's treatise

fectionist. namely, selves.

the necessary and accidental distinguishing about the prop presuppositions They share twentieth-century osition that obscure the import of the theory of demonstration, espe to the role of vo?j? in an Aristotelian science. respect cially with sets as his aim to render plausible the classical belief Maclntyre

on science, in things them

in first principles, but an underlying aim seems to and more important to lay out a strategy which Aristotelian/Thomistic by philosophy enter contemporary in a way discussion that con may philosophical cannot refuse. he the temporary philosophers Accordingly, highlights of philosophical about knowledge, implications teleological language be arguing that thinkers like Rorty have failed to banish from their own

to: The Catholic University of America, Department of Correspondence 620 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20064. Philosophy, 1 Alasdair Maclntyre, First Principles, Final Ends and Contemporary Issues Philosophical (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1990) hereaf ter cited as Principles, and Ernan McMullin, The Inference That Makes Sci ence (Milwaukee: Marquette University cited as Infer Press, 1992), hereafter ence. to Aristotle's are References Posterior from Analytics Analytica et Posteriora, Priora ed. W. D. Ross (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), cited with book and chapter numbers within hereafter the paper as AP. from the Greek text are my own. Translations
The Review Metaphysics of Metaphysics 60 (December 2006): 463-477. Copyright ? 2006 by The Review of

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discourse plains a claim Aristotle's of truth that presupposes of science

principles. in terms of Maclntyre science's ex own

conception as the requirement in a for first principles x??-o? placing knowledge, as guided context of the growth of knowledge its final The end. by end of knowledge includes unmiddled first principles that ground cannot conclusions about what be otherwise. demonstrated Never theless, subject while science One grows, task of scientific toward candidates of Thomistic remain principles of is to science philosophy written from a perspective of for first

to change.

provide genealogies the growth of knowledge Maclntyre makes place constant is

change its x?Xo?.2

to a charge that McMullin responding that Aristotle's of science has no very explicit, namely picture as we have for the fallibilism, in modernity, learned is a which, implicitly feature of AP

in of the practice of science.3 This charge originates 1.2-3. In these Aristotle what presents interpretations chapters, seem to be logical requirements for the structure of science. He pre sents an axiomatic as prior and system in which there are principles what is first by the in nature.4 He taken

knower says:



is as we hold it to be, demonstrative knowl If, then, scientific knowing more be from [premises that are] true, first, unmiddled, edge must known, prior to, and causes of the conclusion (?^ a^nGoov x'eivai xai jtqcdxoov xai ?u:?oa)v xai yvcoqlu,cox8Q(ov xai jtQOX?Qcov xai aixuov xoD ouujC?Q?a?iaxoc).5 all of generating by deduction capable From the modem of course, truths standpoint, of structure of an axiomatic the logical any proof system precludes and hence first principles, convic any unchangeable (a^iexajteioxov6) These first must principles on causes. dependent be tion ture any in the knower of first deduction, them. Following upon this logical fea concerning is persistent there indeterminacy accompanying are never because results in science, empirical competing and Burnyeat,7 theories? most interpreters of the Poste


principles to decide between Kosman


rior Analytics

parry the fallibilist objection by saying that Aristotle's

2 48-9. Maclntyre, Principles, 3 Inference, Ibid., 25; McMullin, 4 AP 1.2.71b34-72a4. 5 AP 1.2.71bl9-21. 6 AP 1.2.72b4


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treatment but of the structure of science in an account is never of what is always embedded

purely logical anyway a good ex constitutes term, and theory of sci

is a normative Science planation. (emoxr|?iri), ence brings out implicit criteria for knowing of causes. The by means on causes criticism in ba of McMullin's the is the role knowledge. key His point is into account, however. takes this parry as as cannot first. Two Aristotle's that, principles qualify explanatory, are crucial of the ne in McMullin's One is the problem critique. points sis of fallibilism For of causes hit upon in investigation. uniqueness, in his account of why the planets do not twinkle, Aristotle example, to the nearness cannot is essential of objects claim that non-twinkling cessity, and hence and means never to nearness alone.8 The causes. theory of demonstration of ruling out other the bi-conditional no provides causes through


Hence, knowledge which Aristotle necessity point relies is related on

The major premise.9 contends that fruitful

second science

for his requires to the first. McMullin

in Aristotle's cious little theory of it.10 Specifically, he charges to perception, tied too closely sences conceived holistically Real structures We see in nature in the

and that there is pre theory, or his practice of science conception are that Aristotle's scientific universals and that his based on causes the look are linked to es


Maclntyre ated causes, opment however, Analytics did not tific

that, and McMullin, and

are simply inaccessible accounts of Aristotelian both the status

of something.11 on this basis.12 science offered or unmedi of the devel by

the fallibilism are central.

of first principles, characteristic of any stage Answers

of a science

can be pursued by considering at the time available recently take into account. in biology, For instance, as regarded

to the problems they raise, on the Posterior scholarship of both their writing, which that Aristotle's say in method they scien and a



7L. A. and Insight in the Poste Kosman, Explanation, "Understanding, rior Analytics," and Argument: in Greek Philosophy Studies pre Exegesis sented to Gregory in Phronesis, Vlastos, suppl. vol. 1 (1973): 374-92, and on Sci Miles Burnyeat, "Aristotle on Understanding Aristotle Knowledge," ence: The Posterior ed. Enrico Berti (Padua: Editrice Antenore, Analytics, 1981), 97-139, hereafter cited as "Understanding Knowledge." 8 12-14. Aristotle treats this case in AP 1.13. McMullin, Inference, 9 Ibid., 18. 10 Ibid., 14-16.

12 Ibid,




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is in stark posteriori, This of science.13 ory nes, contrast contention

to the a priori deductivism of his the was made familiar by Jonathan Bar been already lodged by Lennox structure the of science described research in biology and and in that

but a strong dissent Bolton.14 They maintained the Posterior this structure

to it had that

Analytics guided Aristotle's is not strictly deductivist.

a strong counterargument In addition, tation of the treatise (based on AP 1.2-3) of definition New interest and demonstration presented

to the deductivist can be found

interpre in the relation


in the issue of signification in the the scholarly microscope It was and Devereux15). Irwin, Demoss to a subject telian science, the property the predi belonging (namely, or the major cate of the conclusion, term) has certain implications, of its both the definition and being demonstrated, existing in the minor This discovery, premise. for the status Iwill show,

in AP 2.7-10. by Aristotle had brought these chapters 1970s and 80s (Bolton, Ackrill, clear that, in Aristo becoming




on both the meaning

of reasoning Aristotle a view cannot begins of definition be proven.

of holding definitions by vofi? and the direction

his account of definition to a modern and demonstration with

in demonstration.

recognizable a definition While

philosopher: says what something

definitions is, it can

21-3. 24; McMullin, Principles, Inference, in Articles "Aristotle's Theory of Demonstration," Barnes, on Aristotle and Richard I: Science, ed. Jonathan Barnes, Malcolm Schofield, "Divide and Ex Sorabji (London: Duckworth, 1975), 65-87; James Lennox, as "Divide and in hereafter cited The Posterior Practice," Analytics plain: in Aristotle's "Definition and Scientific Method Explain," and Robert Bolton, in Is both and Posterior Generation Philosophical of Animals," Analytics sues in Aristotle's ed. James Lennox and Allan Gotthelf (Cam Biology, Press, 1987), 90-166. bridge: Cambridge University 15 and Semantic Theory in Aristotle: Poste Robert Bolton, "Essentialism Review 85 (1976): 514-44, hereafter rior Analytics II.7-10," Philosophical Some J. L. Ackrill, "Aristotle's Theory of Definition: cited as "Essentialism"; on Science: on Posterior The Pos Questions II.8-10," in Aristotle Analytics ed. Enrico Berti (Padua: Editrice Antenore, terior Analytics, 1981), 359-84; in Language and of Signification," Terence H. Irwin, "Aristotle's Concept Schofield and Malcolm (Cambridge: Cambridge Logos, ed. Martha Nussbaum "Es and Daniel Devereux, University Press, 1982), 241-66; David Demoss in Aristotle's Posterior and Nominal Definition sence, Existence, Analytics cited as "Nominal Defini 33.2 (1988): 133-54, hereafter II.8-10," Phronesis tion." Other treatments of the same issue include Blake Landor, "Aristotle on 19 (1985): 116-32, and Greg Bayer, "Defi Essence," Apeiron Demonstrating inPosterior An The Two Types of Syllogisms nition through Demonstration: 241-64. 40.3 Phronesis (1995): alytics,"

13 Maclntyre, 14Jonathan

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not establish



In is defined. the existence of what concerning anything so to he adds this that Aristotle view, by chapter 10, 2.8, however, names all related by him three (and possibly four) kinds of definition, in some way to demonstration. Besides the indemonstrable formula of whatness xl ?oxiv ?vajto?eixxo?), one type of definition (Xoyo? xov a in of whatness, from demonstration only differing of what of a demonstration Another type is the conclusion Besides these three types of definition, named explicitly ofthat the so-called chapter in AP

is a deduction form. ness.16

at the beginning nomi 2.10, he mentions nal definition gets scientific investigation (Xoyo? vo?iaxQ)or]c), which a cause is sought. started by being that for which that definition On his way to chapter shows and dem 10, Aristotle onstration itself. overlap Where the in the case cause of defining what has a cause other than is a middle is a kind of term, the definition must he makes as thunder include between versus the cause definitions goatstag. (AP 2.9). of real No one

demonstration, Also important versus knows that nonexistent



is the distinction such things, of something

the whatness exist have

stag) we have This distinction structure

he says.17 Only things nonexistent, or essence. xl ?oxi, whatness Of XQay??a^o? (goat or name or what the the formula says only signifies. leads to an important insight on the role of deductive of that knowledge or other) grounds

in scientific

the existence the entire

for Aristotle, namely knowing as some cause a cause of (understood deduction. contends,

some in chapter 8, that we do not know what that it exists. He is thinking of things that thing is without knowing can be demonstrated, same for he says it is the the xl thing to know Aristotle and ?oXL of something scientific investigation the whatness to know the cause he says: of its existing.18 calls this having Applied something to a of

underway, xl xoij (xi 8?xl).19 He

To seek the 'what it is' without having 'that it is' is to seek nothing. But, for as many of those things for which we have something [of what they are], it is easier. So that insofar as we have 'that it is,' in this way we also have [something] toward the 'what it is.'20

16 AP 17 AP 18 AP 19 AP 20 AP

2.8.94al 1-14. 2.7.92b5. 2.8.93a4. 2.8.93a29. 2.8. 93a26-9.

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The belong tween

or suspected trait known (xl) is an observed "something" to a subject in a nonincidental Such a trait is a bridge way. and a demonstration, because it is just the sort term in a demonstration, to appear and hence whose middle term is the cause to be of in of

a definition

thing to be a major the conclusion of a demonstration the trait. An

as it is a certain is an eclipse, insofar kind of example moon. an from the of deprivation light eclipse Knowing simply by the not being cast at full moon fact of shadows would be incidental For an eclipse is not just the moon's knowledge. failing to cast shad on a cloudy night. an eclipse is the sort ows; that may happen Rather, of deprivation of light that is the failure to cast shadows at full moon on a clear an unusual The in sight. The point is that such night with no obstructions on some cause. trait does not stand alone but depends search for an explanation of the trait implicates its unmiddled of xl 8oxl of the the thing): (the cause outside earth between the moon and of an observed in this sun. case, the in For sort


terposition then, a nominal the existence

definition of the

trait of this

Aristotle, does show

as the nominal xl insofar definition thing, gives xo? xl 8?XL, something of what the thing is. The nominal definition ap a an to To cite proper predication. propriately however, gives way, in the clouds," other of Aristotle's "Thunder is a noise examples, (the nominal belongs onstration definition, definition) to clouds," of whatness. he tells is reformulated as, "Thunder a predication serving sorts Once Aristotle that the and treats a cause indemonstrable the nominal the entire outside (that is, loud noise) as the conclusion in a dem out the different types of is the minor


definition definition

premise giving the conclusion. tion of something The picture considerations ence count That ence offered in AP

the cause, Aristotle having of science

to corresponds as a defini demonstration itself. that emerges from these

as demonstration

is quite different from the picture of Aristotelian sci on ac note McMullin. First of Aristotle's by all, that, as explanation, is a sort of fabric. 2.10, a demonstration, of whatness (minor and claims of exist premises) One supplies what the other more the issue than either of nominal carry a

is, statements

are interdependent. (conclusions) their combination lacks, producing something to by itself. in amounts 1975 on Bolton, writing said that nominal definitions and signification, claim of existence to give for their definitions the essence


while subjects, relying upon unmiddled is named in the of what exists. What

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predicate would not exist which


We could hope that without that cause.21 as in of share the definitions, premises demonstration, figure of sig claim of the conclusion, existence because they give the causes see not in ten next Scholars the did definitions. years nifying writing such a strong inal definition connection and between the existence of the subject however. Ferejohn across of nom sees the unmiddled

unmiddled ject matter scientific thinks existence

definitions already

definition, in demonstrations being to exist, Demoss


investigation. nominal definitions, in the sense

simply and Devereux

a sub deployed it is the subject because of say that Aristotle

or thunder of eclipse ment is that, by the time he makes in chapter his summary 10, Aristo tle means and this xl 8?xl property," by xl 8?xl "cause plus observable to In the whole demonstration be shown. this of requires analysis starts not with science first principles but with demonstration, signifi cant observable are traits rendered of things or states of affairs. by their to be such persistent whether part of essence thus with the Moreover, involvement with features or not. first these as to Rea

to demonstration, in relation taken show us able to discern of making instances genuine assess with when confronted them.22 A cautious

principles observables, be necessary soning something evidence, Let


convincing23 are understood subjects, science

to their

in Aristotelian

begins an observed at the end of a deduction, feature constantly a cause to be determined. in the middle, and something consider how the view of definition and in this sketch first


between in



affects made and assumptions by McMullin are that unmiddled definitions the Maclntyre. among types of premises held by the cognitive calls voi?. McMul faculty Aristotle as yield lin defines to interpretation vo?c in the way most susceptible a direct grasp of the univer ing only unprovable hypotheses: "No?j? is Note sal already implicit in perception, and is brought about by


533-8. "Essentialism," The Origins Science Ferejohn, of Aristotelian (New Haven: Yale University Demoss and Defini "Nominal Press, 50; Devereux, 1991), and Devereux do not give say that nominal definitions tion," 145-6. Demoss but rather statements in which fully convertible predications subject and are for convertible the observable instances under consideration. predicate 23It is to speak of proof in relation to Aristotle's anachronistic theory of science. two notions: showing or Proof for Aristotle would have to combine forth (??]^oi3v, ?m?eLxvuvai) and conviction showing (moxL?). He does not
have a modern conception of proof.

21 Bolton, 22 Michael

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on is just the result of induction. In his footnote Noi? 8Jtaya)yr|."24 this statement, McMullin of that vou? interpretations acknowledges no argument make it a separate from ejcaycoyfi but provides faculty to ignore the doctrine them. He seems of intellectual capaci against in Nicomachean 6 and developed in AP Ethics further in that for different for attitudes the knower epistemic provides 2.19, to the content relation of his thought. McMullin thus interprets vou? as a in a very modern of from the holding derived way generalization ties immediate and unrefined perception. from hypotheses abide Guided within of by the requirements an axiomatic system, of verification and falsi laid out

deductively reasoning these generalizations fication.


by the rules

In the picture of AP 2.7-10 sketched above, of a science may not be first in the order principles

the first however, some of knowing,

even in himself tells us.25 Nou?, is involved however, thing Aristotle xl xoi xl ?oxL?because as Aristotle the initial grasp of whatness?the one a cause to not of a thing does know seek says, explicitly enough without of the whatness of the thing. Nou? grasped something having in terms started grasp of whatness by its partial gets an investigation ac or a proper turn out to be either part of essence of a trait that may terms of packing in AP 1.23, Aristotle cident. In his account middle says that we find causes unmiddled connections that the middle, by thickening structure. within the deductive is vou?.26 process. from AP is, by adding In this con vou? that is

text, he says the unit in demonstration the investigative involved throughout we have examined The chapters

Accordingly, also

2 show

the re

First of all, virtue of the form of the de is necessary, the conclusion just by in the of subject and predicate of the relation but because duction, in conclusions that observable traits figuring This means premises. not are not ness more sifted and a particular of the planets general in a context of necessary analyzed that is assumed?for connection and non-twinkling. of necessary connections their What connections. It is the near example, is a is assumed based on the rela

works lation of premises and conclusion differently than in a hypothetico-deductive demonstration system.

in an Aristotelian


24 7. McMullin, Inference, 25 AP 1.2.71b34-72a4 and 1.3.72b27-32. 26AP 1.23.85al.

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to attributes tion of subjects that a trait is situated within includes the upon a proximate cause. set connections of relevant a demonstrative


to them. that always It is assumed belong some set of necessary connections that of investigation The purpose is to narrow that the trait, support This is accomplished so as to settle


by eliminating or else causal but too broad or too nar incidental, on row.27 There will be a back and forth process of reasoning pivoting an assessment to command the trait special of its being neces enough means or essences are too not being read off This that universals sary. that are immediate trix


in a ma but that perceptual traits are figuring perception, of necessary Within connections. this context, for candidates cause will be weighed in relation to empirical and theoreti proximate cal considerations.28 rates two and We could of proximate aspects renders this separation while consider say that, in AP 2.7-10, Aristotle sepa cause na exact existence and its (its demonstrative for what response structure constitutes consistent knowl

ture), with fallibility Let us edge. able

criteria still providing then an Aristotelian knowing McMullin

to the unreason



AP 1.2-3, Using "strict demonstration" requires mentioned unmiddled, a deduction

first principles. sets up a standard As strict the

of what



(coto?eL^L?).29 meets which all

in chapter 2. Premises more prior, knowable,

requirements of genuine science and causes of

demonstration, for premises are true, first, their conclusions


27 Of eclipse, what always holds might include models that predict recur include other sources of occlusion of the rence, and the incidental would seems to have in mind this process moon's light, like dust storms. Aristotle in addressing the moon to when, eclipse, he shifts from the earth as screening even when there is nothing between the moon as failing to cast shadows us and the moon (AP 2.8.93bl). 28 If we consider outside the actual natural context of the explanations and heavens, it might be possible to claim there could be other planets causes than nearness for the planets not twinkling. Maybe the angels do it by are thinking about the planets all the time. Knowing which explanations on background of various kinds. If we con plausible depends knowledge sider reasonable from the natural setting of the planets, for ex possibilities con like the sun, gaining reasoned ample, an internal source of illumination viction follows the path delineated here. William A. Wallace discusses types of foreknowledge inModeling of Nature (Washington, D.C: Catholic Univer sity of America Press, 1996), 297-300. 29 What McMullin calls strict demonstration is not Aristotle's 8JTLOxf||iT] had addressed in earlier authors the mistake McMullin ajt?-co?. Burnyeat makes here. See Burnyeat, in particular 99-102. "Understanding Knowledge,"

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of what this picture constitutes scientific Maclntyre accepts to He tries its for Aristotle. effect, mitigate however, by knowledge a process of dialectical conducted with the delineating reasoning norm of strict demonstration in mind.30 As McMullin with the problem out, this leaves Maclntyre status to scientific at some point their alectical premises change the difference between constitute dialectical saying what would scientific premises by the modern in actual practice.31 This is where both is quick to point of accounting for how di and and are


hamstrung sary or not, the relation

cally potent. the time within and an

as neces of the proposition understanding a as whole. relies taken upon Demonstration, however, a proposition to make of subject and predicate scientifi one is working thinks that in doing science, all Aristotle the realm of necessary connections between a subject The subject.

to that trait belonging necessarily not to does from dialectical of epistemic propositions change some critical is reached. when level of certainty necessary Proposi can do. One be mis tions do not have epistemic people dispositions; observable status taken this about whether one has necessary scientist Aristotle's connections, is working to considering the proximate but within apart from a set of


embarrassment, connections

all the time. impediment the kind involving is no other cause sorts as mid of

Accordingly, demonstration dle term. This

there besides


quid, (f| anx? level cause

Many form, but will

in discussing is a point Aristotle makes "of the fact" will have demonstrations

?xl demonstra

of 1.4). of proximate with precision,

?loxl, or propter of commensurate lack the component universality are also demonstrations of ?loxl form at the There cause that have in AP not yet 2.13-17. defined the proximate "im these

as he says

we is how we when sorts of demonstrations perfect" causes in an investigation.33 have come to rest with genuine has focused in the ?xl demonstration, interest Modern however, reasoner on the where contrasts with kind that ?loxl the form, mainly con moves to the cause, to conclude of the effect from knowledge the terms of the major verting Both Maclntyre of the effect. such a form of reasoning, so that the cause is predicated premise and McMullin deny that there could be one which but scientific.34 is not dialectical

Comparing learn to judge

30 24, 34-40. Principles, Maclntyre, 31 43-6. McMullin, Inference, 32AP1.13.78a23,bl3-15. 33See Lennox's treatment of History 104-6. Explain,"

of Animals

in Lennox,

"Divide and

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This AP form 2.7-10. more in the context makes of reasoning sense, however, connections of the sort Aristotle If there are necessary traits?and and observable subjects and signifying predicates?then a ladder of traversable and observable

of en

visions between are, can


subject as long as we have reasonable that the ob expectation conditional, contem is a property. This is the form of reasoning of many servable The aim is to convince the reader that the in articles. scientific porary is correct of cause or dependency by tracing a ascription vestigators' in accordance with the necessity newly path of a posteriori reasoning to into The it is relief the path by conviction, investigators. brought route. is an a posteriori assumed, one interpret AP then, should 1.2-3, How, an to make ments axiomatic that seem 8moxf|?iT] the certainty rigor and ajtX ? (scientific knowledge ?jtLOxrijiT] is defined by Aristotle, edge simpliciter) logical perfection Scientific or of error, of its first including system those defined In AP sense, ele by

subjects for the investigator, treat a connection

in propositions, these connections direction. trait as We a bi

in either

premises? in terms of

in the proper not in terms

1.2, or knowl

impossibility cannot is of what knowledge the connection of 8JiLaxr|?ir| outAxo? and in later chapters.36 Demonstration wise" upon this connection, the necessary premises a syllogism The (ejuoxr^ovLXOv).37 being comes


of its degree of its proper object. be otherwise.35 He reiterates "not capable other of holding as following is understood of of productive knowledge treatment in this of the character of scientific of account

of demonstration


knowledge. The connection key to understanding


and knowledge necessity list of requirements Aristotle's

simpliciter for premises

is of

34 17-18. See also Mc Maclntyre, Principles, 35; McMullin, Inference, in Aristotle "Truth and Explanatory and Contemporary Mullin, Success," Science Sfendoni-Mentzou I, ed. Demetra (New York: Peter Lang, 2000), 60

35AP1.2.71bl5. 36AP 1.4.73a21 and 1.6.74b6, 74bl5. 37 on the part of AP 1.2.71bl8. Demonstration also involves awareness the knower that the premises connections. InAP 1.33, Aristo give necessary tle says that one may deduce using observables and causes that are necessary without In that case, one is not connections. being aware of their necessary one as a Indeed, two people may hold the same syllogism, demonstrating. matter of fact, the other as a demonstrated case This necessity. contrasting of Aristotle's statement about ?moxf|[iri ajt?xo? at speaks to the significance the beginning of AP 1.2 (71bll), that one knows not only the cause but also knows that the cause is the cause of the very thing under consideration.

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more in chapter 2?true, primary, unmiddled, and cause of the conclusion.38 These requirements in a preliminary the types requires The essential sketch of demonstration. of xaO'a?x? know are like

able, prior, the first lines drawn

A more

complete picture ter 4, because there Aristotle necessity presented cerns: in things. in terms


in chap predication the subject/attribute structure of in the preliminary is element sketch to his wider philosophical con

of a point


For that because of which [to a subject] has the (?l'o) a trait belongs of which we love is trait to a greater degree?for that because example, more dear. So, if we know and hold conviction through primary of to a greater de [things], these also we both know and are convinced gree, because through those also the consequents (x? ??oxsQa) hold.39 The of which we love and that by which we of that on account priority in knowl is causal but it is inevitably also a priority know priority, An example of this dual priority would be knowing that the edge. on the moon it is a sphere. because Of shadow earth casts a circular the two statements, is a circle when projected on a surface, and

1) a sphere

the earth is casting that circular 2) in the present case of lunar eclipse, shadow on the moon as part of its being a spherically shaped body, we con fundamental way and with a clearer 1) in a more more of and circle is known viction than 2). The connection sphere cause in the way outlined it is the because by his ref (yv(OQL^o)X8Qov) understand erence middled tions is the to xo c|)lXov. Causal connections and the most further to are taken and known causal as un connec in demonstration, remain unmiddled criterion closest fundamental

even with in meaning

investigation. "first" in Aristotle's

"Unmiddled" list of re

of premises. quirements of demonstration that premises It is sometimes thought reference of Aristotle's be absolutely ways first, because having in his belief scientific conviction or not knowledge (x?v 8JUGx??i8vov ?jtXca?) being



to the one steadfast

in literally, unchangeable (a?i8x?jteLOXov)40?more I to however, by persuasion.41 suggest, subject change

38 AP 39 AP 40 AP

1.2.71b20-2. 1.2.72a30-32. 1.2.72b4.

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that unchangeability for premises. As of conviction as AP


has to do with the priority criterion to Aristotle has build the case early 1.1, begun at all, involves if it is a coherent notion that demonstration, priority. no sense He resumes this point at the end of chapter it makes 2, saying that vinced one could be more convinced of conclusions than one is con is most is prior im of the premises from which conclusions follow.42 What is to be clear about what for one to be demonstrating required is consequent and what among necessary predications. Aristotle's mediately of those who after reference this comment to unchangeability and just before of conviction his


rebuttal, for demonstration. There present problems are no so no who and there first demonstration because say premises set of the infinite backward and those who make all regress afoot, 2) so ev about necessary connections that propositions demonstrable, ery premise ity is crucial tors,43 but is also always a conclusion of some demonstration. Prior to seeing it is also For the flaw involved in the claim in his of the circular of the demonstra regress

in chapter 3, are 1) those



argument. gress stop

admit, to the backward

are prior, as those who if premises then for demonstration to be possible, reach for premises. readily priority without causal follow This means accepts he makes mediation Aristotle

re infinite deny there must be a there is inde


knowledge.44 of priority, because of the account. Some effect will effects are mediated


consequence central from to his a cause.



Certainly, axiomatic

that Aristotle nomical

or circumstances. conditions by additional at this point, demonstration to take the shape of begins deductive structure. There is no indication, however, to reduce seeks of first principles the number to an eco for every number science. Euclidean, is not sharpened pre by redesigning follow from them (the route toward system). Instead, Aristotle that will the capture seeks cause

or even Newtonian, demonstration Furthermore, mises so that more conclusions in a modern of commensurate

perfection the level



41 Aristotle may have in mind that the belief of the scientific is knower not the type to be subject to persuasion just (jt8?68LV or oU?iJt8L68LV [71a9]), since it is about what cannot be otherwise. See also Nicomachean Ethics

42 AP 43 AP 44 AP

1.2.72a33. 1.3.73a4-6 1.3.72bl9.

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without remainder Most in a demonstrative importantly, being unmiddled syllogism demonstration

within does not the deductive en depend from premises


but can proceed tirely on premises as long as those premises are prior and related that are deducible, to cause of the thing. He reiterates the proximate that demonstration is from necessary and what is otherwise cannot demonstrated premises and he presses one cannot necessary, hold,46 even salient more than features home the point by saying that, but demonstrate.47 Necessity or commensurate are if premises and priority, are the

help firstness


of emoxf|?iT] out?xo?. of premises of different be said, by drawing kinds upon examples to substantiate to the place of ?xl demonstrations, this approach of More could in Aristotle's account of demonstration. These pas principles at least the frame 1 provide of AP from the first six chapters sages con work for understanding how one might have a grasp of necessary as still be demonstrating, but nections imperfectly long as the first is on the trail of genuine Nominal connections. investigator the empirical data tions of things that have a xl soxl provide tain this process. within I have tablished It is by seeking the demonstrative the xl 8?xl that causal structure. defini that sus is es


of Posterior that the deductivist Analytics, argued reading common to the interpretations is handi of McMullin and Maclntyre, a a narrow of and modern voD? conception preoccupation capped by focus of of axiomatic The with the structure systems. interpretation of Aristotelian dental. science should 1.2-3 be the contrast should I suggest that AP treatment both Aristotle's count upon of necessary and acci to be read in relation and his ac

of thickening a network of necessary

always traits in AP 2.7-10 of signifying in AP 1.20-3. Demonstration the middle connections in things


depends This

and the f| am? (the per se and says that the xaO'atk? are the same (AP 1.4.73b29), there is an im the commensurately universal) of any thing, namely, to take for of knowledge plicit aim to the development cause. Macln an effect predicated an unmiddled of its proximate premise of a science as in his insightful interpretation this directionality tyre discerns He characterizes with its own x?Xo? as knowledge. in accordance developing in terms of "perfected science" this directionality (Principles, 27-8). His in helpful in introducing a notion of the ethics of investi sight is, nevertheless, gation 33, 42). (Principles, 46 AP 1.6.74M4-15. 47 AP 1.6.74M7.

45Since Aristotle

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or a poste that proceeds either a priori supports reasoning can causes or riori and that discern either proximate distant. Reason can a be and and still be messy, posteriori, incomplete, ing following in the Posterior the criteria for demonstration Analytics.48 The Catholic of America


481 am grateful to Prof. Kurt Pritzl, O.P., for comments on an earlier ver sion of this paper. Part of this paper was presented at the meeting of the American Maritain Association in November, 2006.

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