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Two Standards For Inquiry In Aristotle's De Caelo

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Chapter Summary

In 1.11, 105a3 ff., Aristotle contrasts two types of questions, those which may be dealt with by Xoyo; or reasoned dialectical argument and others which can and should simply be settled by perception, such as whether snow is white or not. Aristotle claims that Plato was the first to posit numbers and forms as separate from perceptible things. This, Aristotle says, resulted from Plato's mode of inquiry. Plato was the first to use this mode of inquiry, says Aristotle, since earlier thinkers were innocent of dialectic later passages. In the methodology of the De caelo, Aristotle complains about the Platonists' doctrine concerning the transformation of the elements on two counts. This chapter explores how are we to understand the nature of Aristotle's contrast between these two different sources of evidence - (1) the perceptually apparent and (2) the reasonable?.

Keywords: Aristotle; De caelo; inquiry; Plato; Platonists' doctrine



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