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Definitions And Aitia

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that Aristotle believes immediate definition to be the primary form of definition precisely because it is immediate, and that immediacy is a function of the relation between the parts of the definition, which is in turn a function of the structure of the object of immediate definition. It argues that ultimately the difference between syllogistic and immediate definitions is the difference between definitions that include only formal aitia and definitions that include efficient aitia external to the object as well as formal aitia. The chapter considers the necessity that Aristotle ascribes to immediate definition, and the difference between that necessity and the necessity of syllogisms, in order to confirm this distinction between two basic kinds of definition, and to begin to make clear why Aristotle privileges immediate definition and its objects over syllogistic definition.

Keywords: aitia; Aristotle; immediate definitions; syllogisms

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