[SydPhil] HPS Research 20TH MAY 2019 - David Bronstein - The Structure of Scientific Explanation in Aristotle
debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au
Tue May 14 10:30:54 AEST 2019
SCHOOL OF HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
Held in conjunction with the
Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science
SEMESTER ONE 2019 RESEARCH SEMINAR SERIES
MONDAY 20th May 2019
Department of Philosophy
The Structure of Scientific Explanation in Aristotle
I first argue that in the Posterior Analytics Aristotle is committed to a theory of essence-based scientific explanation. On my reading, in the ‘highest’ demonstrations in a science, in which both syllogistic premises are indemonstrable first principles, some natural kind K is shown to have some property P because of some item shared by the essence of K and the essence of P. I argue that this interpretation solves a number of problems in the interpretation of Aristotle’s theory. I then argue that in the Parts of Animals Aristotle puts into practice something interestingly similar to this form of explanation in his biological explanations of animal parts. If my account is correct, then the fit between Aristotle’s theory and practice of scientific explanation is even tighter than recent commentators have recognized
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