The Problem of Title of the «Posterior Analytics», and Thoughts from Commentators

Documenti E Studi Sulla Tradizione Filosofica Medievale 20:127-147 (2009)
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The Prior and Posterior Analytics were entitled Ta Analutika by Aristotle himself. But it is not at all clear what Aristotle had in mind in grouping these two works together and in giving them this common title. This question was discussed at length by the ancient Greek commentators on Aristotle. Two main possibilities emerged. The first is that taken by Alexander of Aphrodisias, Ammonius, and Philoponus in his commentary on APr. According to this line of thought, Aristotle has in mind the analysis that shows how a complex arises out of simple entities; both Analytics show us how to subject all lines of syllogistic reasoning (including demonstration) to such analysis. According to the second approach, found in the commentary on APo., 2 attributed to Philoponus, in giving APo., 2 the title 'Analytics' Aristotle has in mind the analysis that reasons from effects to causes. Demonstrations reveal the causes of things, and APo., 2 shows how this is the case. In this paper, the two approaches are compared, and a third approach, which builds on the second, but allows 'Analytics' to have a continuity of sense in its use as a title, is proposed.



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Owen Goldin
Marquette University

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