By Terence Irwin
Exploring Aristotle's philosophical technique and the advantages of his conclusions, Irwin the following exhibits how Aristotle defended dialectic opposed to the objection that it can't justify a metaphysical realist's claims. He focuses relatively on Aristotle's metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of brain, and ethics, stressing the connections among doctrines which are usually mentioned separately.
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Extra info for Aristotle's First Principles
Hence it is a task for experience to 〈supply the principles〉 about a given area. , that it is the task of astronomical experience to supply the principles of astronomical science; for once the appearances had been adequately grasped, that was the way to ﬁnd astronomical demonstrations. And the same is true for any other craft or science. Hence, if the facts (huparchonta) about a given area are grasped, our next task will be to set out the demonstrations readily. For if our inquiry (historia) leaves out none of the facts that truly hold of things, we will be able to ﬁnd and produce a demonstration of whatever admits of demonstration, and if 30 CHAPTER 2 § 13 something does not admit of demonstration, to make this evident also.
But if Aristotle's less plausible conclusions are not to turn us against his method, or against his metaphysical principles, we ought to be able to show that the correct use of his method, and the correct interpretation of his metaphysical principles, do not justify the implausible conclusions that he claims to derive from them. To defend Aristotle's theory against his conclusions, we need to CHAPTER 1 § 9 25 show that his conclusions rest on errors that cannot be justly held against his theory.
I want to show that the major difﬁculties in Aristotle's earlier doctrine of substance result from speciﬁc features of his dialectical method; that the conception of universal science in the Metaphysics differs from dialectic on these speciﬁc features; and that this difference in method suggests revisions that remove the difﬁculties in the doctrine of substance. It is not a coincidence, in my view, that Metaphysics iv introduces a new account of universal science and Books vii–ix introduce a new account of substance; I would like to show that the two accounts are part of a fairly continuous argument.