Intellect as a First Principle
The Posterior Analytics opens with the assertion that all teaching and learning stem from pre-existing acquaintance (proüparchousês gnôseôs) (71a1–2), which serves, according to Aristotle, as the first principle (archê) of demonstration and knowledge. Although this assumption is crucial for Aristotle’s theory of demonstrative knowledge, the details of the nature and the role of the first principles remain obscure. The first problem that arises from Aristotle’s discussion of the first principles concerns what the principles of knowledge are. In several passages throughout the Posterior Analytics Aristotle introduces a triple distinction of the principles found in demonstrative knowledge (I.1, 71a11–16; I.2, 72a14–24; I.7, 75a39–b2; I.10, 76a31–b10; 76b11–16). In the Posterior Analytics I.1, I.7, and I.10 Aristotle draws a distinction between common principles, which are presupposed by any branch of knowledge, and proper principles, which are divided into those that state what a thing is and those that state that a thing is. In the Posterior Analytics I.2 Aristotle introduces the technical terms axioms, definitions, and hypotheses in distinguishing, respectively, principles that ought to be assumed by any learner, principles that state what a thing is, and principles that state that a thing is.
KeywordsInductive Inference Middle Term Universal Concept Posterior Analytics Minor Term
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