Analysis and Science in Aristotle

By Patrick H. Byrne

Subjects: Ancient Greek Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Ancient Greek Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791433225, 303 pages, May 1997
Hardcover : 9780791433218, 303 pages, May 1997

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Table of contents




1. The Several Senses of "Analysis" in Aristotle


A. A Brief Etymology
B. Analysis in Plato
C. Simple References to the Analytics
D. Decomposition
E. Disentanglement
F. Analysis and the Formula
G. Analysis of Geometric Figures
H. Analysis of Sorites
I. To Reduce or to Elevate (Anagein)?
J. Summary
Appendix: Analysis of the Problem of Constructing a Square Equal to a Given Rectangle


2. Analysis of Syllogisms: Foundations


A. Analysis and the Definition of Syllogism
B. Meaning, Belong, and Being
C. The So-Called Immediate Inferences
D. Figures and Moods
E. Complete Potential Syllogisms
F. Completing Potential Syllogisms
G. Modal Syllogisms
H. Summary


3. Analysis of Problematic Syllogisms


A. The Problemata
B. Analyzing Problematic Arguments: Finding Intermediate Terms
C. Analyzing Problematic Arguments: Finding Obscured Premises
D. Book II and Arguments Per Impossibile
E. Analyzing Problematic Arguments: Meta-logical Analyses
F. Rules
G. Summary
Appendix: Logic, Dialectic, and Analysis in the Posterior Analytics I. 19-22


4. Analysis and Episteme


A. Aristotle's Clarification of the Word Episteme
B. Clarification Through Epistemic Questions
C. Analysis and Scientific Demonstration
D. The Criteria for Demonstrative Premises
E. Summary


5. Finding the Middle


A. "Of the Cause" versus "Immediacy"
B. Prior Knowledge


B. 1. The Angle in a Semicircle
B. 2. Corresponding Diminution (Antanairesin)


C. Hitting in the Middle
D. Thickening the Middle
E. Summary


6. Hunting for Principles


A. Some Reasoned Facts Are Indemonstrable
B. Immediate Premises and Defining
C. The Two Senses of What-it-is
D. Defining and the Preconceptual Grasp of What-it-is
E. What-it-is, Images and the Qua Locution
F. The Genus for Which There Is No Name
G. How Many Principles
H. Hunting for What-it-is
I. Summary
Appendix: Can to ti esti Be Demonstrated?


7. "The Principle of Science Is Nous"


A. Understanding as Movement
B. The Movers and the Perfections of Intellect
C. Is There Episteme of Immediate Principles? The Problem of II. 19
D. Aristotle's Several Senses of Episteme and Nous
E. Habits of the Mind
F. Nous as the Principle of Science


8. Aristotle's Sciences


A. The Analytic Character of the Non-Demonstrative Sciences
B. The Four Causes and the Analysis of Nature
C. Analysis and the Soul
D. Science and Necessity
E. The Sophistic Aberration of Thought and the Control of Meaning
F. Summary





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.

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


"It approaches an 'old' topic in a fresh and promising manner. The author asks and gives reasonable answers to important questions that have been ignored by many scholars down through many centuries. " — Thomas V. Upton, Gannon University