Journal of the History of Philosophy 39 (2):290-292 (2001)

Malcolm Wilson begins his account of Aristotle’s philosophy of science by identifying a difficulty inherent in Aristotle’s general approach to understanding the nature of scientific thought: if we assume, with Aristotle, that the premises of a scientific demonstration must contain only terms predicable of a subject essentially (or per se) and ‘as such’ (or qua a particular kind of being), we risk being committed to a view of the sciences as a set of narrowly focused and unrelated areas of inquiry—as a ‘chaotic heap of disciplines’. Wilson contends that Aristotle succeeded in avoiding this difficulty by identifying four ways in which one science could be linked with another: either by subordination, analogy, ‘focality’, or ‘cumulation’. It seems clear that these principles figured in various aspects of Aristotle’s thought, and that each has the unifying capacity Wilson credits to it. What is less clear is how far Aristotle’s support for each principle rested on its capacity to solve the particular problem Wilson identifies.
Keywords Aristotle  philosophy of science
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2003.0104
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