How do, according to Aristotle, peirastic arguments, which are employed by nonscientists to put professed scientists to the test, work, and how do they differ from genuine scientific arguments? A peirastic argument succeeds in unmasking a would-be scientist if it establishes an inconsistency among the answers given. These answers may only comprise: propositions which are proper to the field and which everybody can know; propositions which only scientists may know; “common” propositions that everybody, including various sciences, uses in all kind of arguments. On the other hand, a peirastic argument fails to do its job (and can be abused to make a scientist look stupid) if it either features or presupposes in addition propositions which would justify a fallacy (false common propositions), or if it purports to be scientific (even if the argument may be sound). The latter type of bad peirastic argument crucially depend on common propositions where scientific arguments explain by reference to combinations of the primitive items of the science in question.
History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis (HPLA) holds that the goal of systematic philosophy of uncovering and substantiating philosophical truths should also be a central tenet when investigating the history of philosophy, especially considering that historical texts were written with this goal in mind, i.e., out of an interest in truth. For this reason we should read these texts as potential conveyors of truths, and if — despite benevolent interpretation — this proves to be unfeasible, then as conveyors of falsehoods. Only in this manner can a lively dialogue with our philosophical past be initiated, and only thus can we properly pay tribute to it. On the whole, this approach promises to shed new light on classical texts, making them even more fruitful in dealing with the controversial issues of modern philosophy.
HPLA provides a forum for articles in which texts from the history of philosophy are approached with the aim of offering a systematic reconstruction of theories concerning pertinent philosophical problems (often deploying the resources of modern logical analysis in the course of reconstruction). Discovered theories or fragments of such theories can be carefully elucidated and developed further. In this way, novel questions can be put to an historical author, and profitably pursued within the framework of the established system.
The works of the history of philosophy should not only be honoured as historical documents, but first and foremost be taken seriously from a philosophical point of view.