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Causality, scientific explanation and syllogistic in Aristotle’s posterior analytics

Grant number: 13/04519-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): October 06, 2013
Effective date (End): December 05, 2013
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Lucas Angioni
Grantee:Breno Andrade Zuppolini
Supervisor: David Charles
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Oxford, England  
Associated to the scholarship:11/14898-3 - Formal and Ontological Aspects of Aristotle's Philosophy of Science, BP.MS

Abstract

The canonical model of argumentation in Aristotelian syllogistic corresponds to a formal scheme with two premises articulating only three terms. Why does Aristotle insist in such a triadic formal scheme? In the research here proposed, I will attempt to indicate one of the possible reasons. In Posterior Analytics II 16-17, Aristotle seems to adopt a thesis according to which the apprehension of causal relations and the formulation of scientific explanations involve the consideration of three items: (i) the "cause", (ii) "that of which it is cause" or "the thing caused" and (iii) "that for which it is cause". While the first two items integrate the explanatory link itself (explanans and explanandum), the third one denotes the class of individuals we take as objects of scientific investigation and in which that causal phenomenon is verified. Since causality is better described, not as a two-place relation, but as a three-place one, we find worthwhile to explore the hypothesis that Aristotle proposed a triadic formal scheme to scientific demonstration having in mind the tripartite structure of causality to be grasped thereby. (AU)

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