Volume 92, 2018
Philosophy, Catholicism, and Public Life
Joshua Yanhan Lo
The Road from ἔνδοξα to ἐπιστήμη
The Place of Dialectic in Aristotelian Epistemology
The purpose of this paper is to argue for the necessity of dialectic in Aristotelian philosophy—dialectic defined as the art of arguing from probable opinions to contradictory conclusions (100a30; 101b4; 164b3–4). In particular, I will argue that dialectic is necessary for definition. In the Posterior Analytics, Aristotle identifies three principles of scientific demonstration: axioms, un-middled premises, and definitions. In showing the need for dialectic to define, I also show scientific knowledge’s dependence on dialectic.