Explanation pp 137-164 | Cite as

Knowledge and Explanation in Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 302)


Since the classical paper of Hempel and Oppenheim [Hempel and Oppenheim 1948], deduction and explanation have been considered to be two interrelated terms. According to Hempel, explanation is formulated as a deductive-nomological inference, in which a fact is explained by being subsumed under a universal law. It seems that in his Posterior Analytics Aristotle suggests a similar model. Like Hempel, Aristotle employs a deductive procedure, called demonstrative syllogism, as a means of answering the question “why?”. My paper aims to explore the presuppositions that underlie Aristotle’s theory of demonstration, as it is presented in the Posterior Analytics. By exposing these presuppositions, I will argue that Aristotle’s theory of demonstration cannot be understood as intending to provide a theory of explanation; therefore, afortiori it cannot be interpreted in light of Hempel’s model.


Middle Term Relative Extension Syllogistic Reasoning Posterior Analytics Syllogistic Inference 
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