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Pros Hen And The Foundations Of Aristotelian Metaphysics

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Chapter Summary

Pros hen-usually translated as 'focal meaning'-is the device by which Aristotle shows that a universal science of being qua being is possible: his metaphysics project. This chapter argues for an interpretation of 'pros hen' that differs significantly from the currently dominant one. Specifically, it takes issue with Owen's claim that 'pros hen' amounts to reductive translation, assimilating the notion to synonymy, and it emphasizes the aspect of content-neutral referentiality that is operative in Aristotle's notion, but not adequately represented in Owen's reconstruction. A close reading of Aristotle's characterization of pros hen in Metaphysics Γ 2 is offered, and some implications of pros hen in this re-interpretation for Aristotle's metaphysics project are sketched. The main emphasis of the chapter is on the clarification of what Aristotle means by pros hen.

Keywords: Aristotle's metaphysics; Owen's focal meaning; Pros hen; reductive translation



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