The Aristotelian Method and Aristotelian Metaphysics

In Patricia Hanna (ed.), An Anthology of Philosophical Studies. ATINER (2006)
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Abstract

In this paper I examine what exactly is ‘Aristotelian metaphysics’. My inquiry into Aristotelian metaphysics should not be understood to be so much concerned with the details of Aristotle's metaphysics. I am are rather concerned with his methodology of metaphysics, although a lot of the details of his metaphysics survive in contemporary discussion as well. This warrants an investigation into the methodological aspects of Aristotle's metaphysics. The key works that we will be looking at are his Physics, Metaphysics, Categories and De Interpretatione. Perhaps the most crucial features of the Aristotelian method of philosophising are the relationship between science and metaphysics, and his defence of the principle of non-contradiction (PNC). For Aristotle, natural science is the second philosophy, but this is so only because there is something more fundamental in the world, something that natural science – a science of movement – cannot study. Furthermore, Aristotle demonstrates that metaphysics enters the picture at a fundamental level, as he argues that PNC is a metaphysical rather than a logical principle. The upshot of all this is that the Aristotelian method and his metaphysics are not threatened by modern science, quite the opposite. Moreover, we have in our hands a methodology which is very rigorous indeed and worthwhile for any metaphysician to have a closer look at.

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Tuomas E. Tahko
University of Bristol

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