Aristotle’s Definition of Scientific Knowledge (APo 71b 9–12)

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Lucas Angioni
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In Posterior Analytics 71b9–12, we find Aristotle’s definition of scientific knowledge. The definiens is taken to have only two informative parts: scientific knowledge must be knowledge of the cause and its object must be necessary. However, there is also a contrast between the definiendum and a sophistic way of knowing, which is marked by the expression “kata sumbebekos”. Not much attention has been paid to this contrast. In this paper, I discuss Aristotle’s definition paying due attention to this contrast and to the way it interacts with the two conditions presented in the definiens. I claim that the “necessity” condition ammounts to explanatory appropriateness of the cause.

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