Inquiry and Dialectic

Terence Irwin

in Aristotle's First Principles

Published in print April 1990 | ISBN: 9780198242901
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597770 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

 Inquiry and Dialectic

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Aristotle describes two methods of inquiry that begin from our initial beliefs and the things we intuitively recognise, the ‘things known to us’, and claim to reach principles ‘known by nature’. Empirical inquiry begins from perception, proceeds by induction and generalisation, and tests theories by appeal to experience. Dialectic inquiry begins from common beliefs, proceeds by raising and solving puzzles, and tests theories against common beliefs. Distinguishing these two methods is useful since they suggest two ways of passing the metaphysical realist test for genuine first principles.

Keywords: inquiry; belief; perception; dialectic; metaphysics

Chapter.  11292 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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