Download Aristotle's First Principles by Terence Irwin PDF

By Terence Irwin

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

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For the educated person, then, questions about first principles will be especially appropriate. A proper science must rest on first principles that are prior by nature to their conclusions. To know if this standard is met, the educated person must know what sort of judgment might meet it; he must, therefore, be convinced that the conditions for natural priority are reasonable; for if they are not, there will be no satisfactory account of genuine first principles. Plato regards the evaluation of different theories and their methods of argument as a task for dialectic.

So far, however, these efforts have not resulted in even the limited degree of fairly widespread (but by no means universal) agreement that has been reached for Plato. Most students (going back at least to Aristotle) at least distinguish Plato's early ‘Socratic’ dialogues from his middle and later dialogues; but there is no similar agreed division in Aristotle's works. 19 I will not discuss this view of Aristotle's development, since I think it has been refuted. 21 Like the first picture, this picture presents a philosopher dominated by his teacher; whereas the first picture presents a young disciple gradually bringing himself to differ with his teacher, the second portrays the fierce young critic gradually reaching a more balanced view of the views he initially criticized.

I will examine some faults in Aristotle's views on perception and thought, and try to explain how they might be avoided by closer attention to the theory that is derived from first philosophy. Aristotle does not conceal his view that some aspects of his moral and political theory are derived from his account of the essence of human beings; and he identifies the human essence with the human soul. Both the Ethics and the Politics begin with general claims about human nature, and seek to derive specific normative conclusions from these claims.

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