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The Four Types Of Definition

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Chapter Summary

In the discussion of definition in the Posterior Analytics Aristotle’s primary concern seems to be to distinguish definition from demonstration. This chapter shows how a certain kind of definition, immediate definition, is causal in such a way that immediate definitions can be the first principles of demonstration, i.e. is causal in such a way that definitions of this kind have sufficient certainty to ground demonstration. It examines the connections among the three distinctions: between items which have something else as their aition and items which do not, between simple and complex items, and between definitions that answer the question, “why?” and those that answer the question “what is it?” The chapter establishes the connection between complex items and syllogistic definitions.

Keywords: Aristotle; immediate definition; Posterior Analytics; syllogistic definitions

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