Principles of Demonstration and the State of Nous: Knowledge of universals in Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics II,19

Document Type : Scientific-research


1 department of philosophy, Faculty of Literature and Human Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Literature and Human Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Accept: After constructing a demonstrative system, Aristotle concludes Posterior Analytics by asking question about premises of demonstration based on principles that are primitive, necessary and can’t be proved by demonstration itself. These principles are propositions about universal concepts and are necessary, since the predicate arises from subject, the universal concept. Therefore, knowing these first principle is the same as knowing the universals. Anyway how they become known and what is the developed state of knowledge of them? In other words, what is the ground that the whole demonstration system stands on it? To answer these questions, Aristotle describes the way the soul proceeds to know universals and calls the highest degree of process of knowing “Nous”, the state of knowing the first principles. But Aristotle’s phrases in this text are so ambiguous that leads to different interpretations. This paper first considers the context of the problem in Aristotle’s epistemology and then criticizes these interpretations, so it becomes clear that the validity of each interpretation is tied to the problem of “nous poietikos” or the so-called “active intellect”. But the analysis of Aristotle’s account of active intellect shows us the notable similarities of these interpretations, not their fundamental contrasts                                                                                     


Main Subjects



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