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Stating The Essence In The Topics

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that the Topics does address the question that arises but is answered only incompletely in both the Metaphysics and the Posterior Analytics, namely, the question why a genus/differentiae structure in a definition reveals essence. It examines the discussion of definition as stating the essence in the Topics. The chapter raises the question whether it is justifiable to use the Topics to resolve certain questions posed by the Analytics and the Metaphysics. The view that Aristotle cannot be interested in ontology in the Topics focuses on the difference between Plato’s dialectic (in the Republic and in the Sophist) and Aristotle’s dialectic. The chapter focuses on one part of the inquiry concerned with definitions that Aristotle embarks on in Book 6 of the Topics. The topoi concerned with the genus demonstrate the privileged status of the genus in a definition in the Topics.

Keywords: Aristotle; essence; Metaphysics; Plato; Posterior Analytics; Topics



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