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Artistotle And Philoponus On Final Causes In Demonstrations In Posterior Analytics II 11

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Chapter Summary

This paper aims to trace back the 'traditional interpretation' of Posterior Analytics II 11 to Philoponus, and to show why it is mistaken. In his commentary on Posterior Analytics II 11, Philoponus does not criticise Aristotle on doctrinal grounds, but complains about the way Aristotle has set out the examples of syllogisms that are supposed to pick out final causes as the middle term. The example of an apparently small 'methodological' correction of Aristotle by Philoponus is discussed. Commentators on the Posterior Analytics have tried to rewrite and reinterpret the examples of APo. II 11 so as to make them fit the neo-platonic ideal of scientific demonstrations containing each of the four causes as the middle term. These attempts are based on a misconception of what Aristotle is arguing for.

Keywords: Aristotle; Philoponus; Posterior Analytics II



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