Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 9, Issue 1, Fall 2004

Across the Tradition of Philosophy

Jason Aleksander
Pages 79-99

Modern Paradoxes of Aristotle’s Logic

This paper intends to explain key differences between Aristotle’s understanding of the relationships between nous, epistêmê, and the art of syllogistic reasoning (both analytic and dialectical) and the corresponding modern conceptions of intuition, knowledge, and reason. By uncovering paradoxa that Aristotle’s understanding of syllogistic reasoning presents in relation to modern philosophical conceptions of logic and science, I highlight problems of a shift in modern philosophy—a shift that occurs most dramatically in the seventeenth century—toward a project of construction, a pervasive desire for rational certainty, and a general insistence on the reducibility of the sciences. The major motivation of this analysis is my intention to show that modern attempts to reduce science/epistêmê to a single science/method of inquiry occlude dialectical and ethico-political dimensions of “reason” and, hence, also impoverish philosophy’s critical capacities.