Similarly, Algernon Sidney argued:

(i) The theoretical sciences include prominently whatAristotle calls first philosophy, or metaphysics as we nowcall it, but also mathematics, and physics, ornatural philosophy. Physics studies the natural universe as awhole, and tends in Aristotle’s hands to concentrate onconceptual puzzles pertaining to nature rather than on empirical research;but it reaches further, so that it includes also a theory of causalexplanation and finally even a proof of an unmoved mover thought to bethe first and final cause of all motion. Many of the puzzles of primaryconcern to Aristotle have proven perennially attractive tophilosophers, mathematicians, and theoretically inclined naturalscientists. They include, as a small sample, Zeno’sparadoxes of motion, puzzles about time, the nature of place, anddifficulties encountered in thought about the infinite.

Jefferson, Letter to Henry Lee, May 8, 1825.

Aristotle also drew a sharper distinction between morality and politics than Plato had done.

Harrington, Oceana, The Preliminaries.

Aristotle’s reliance on endoxa takes on a still greatersignificance given the role such opinions play in dialectic,which he regards as an important form of non-scientificreasoning. Dialectic, like science(epistêmê), trades in logical inference; butscience requires premises of a sort beyond the scope of ordinarydialectical reasoning. Whereas science relies upon premises whichare necessary and known to be so, a dialectical discussion can proceedby relying on endoxa, and so can claim only to be as secure asthe endoxa upon which it relies. This is not a problem,suggests Aristotle, since we often reason fruitfully and well incircumstances where we cannot claim to have attained scientificunderstanding. Minimally, however, allreasoning—whether scientific or dialectical—must respectthe canons of logic and inference.

Sidney, Discourses concerning Government, section 15.

Among the great achievements to which Aristotle can lay claim is thefirst systematic treatment of the principles of correct reasoning, thefirst logic. Although today we recognize many forms of logicbeyond Aristotle’s, it remains true that he not only developed atheory of deduction, now called syllogistic, but added to it a modalsyllogistic and went a long way towards proving some meta-theoremspertinent to these systems. Of course, philosophers beforeAristotle reasoned well or reasoned poorly, and the competent among themhad a secure working grasp of the principles of validity andsoundness in argumentation. No-one before Aristotle, however, developed asystematic treatment of the principles governing correct inference; andno-one before him attempted to codify the formal and syntacticprinciples at play in such inference. Aristotle somewhatuncharacteristically draws attention to this fact at the end of adiscussion of logic inference and fallacy:

As always, Aristotle defended the mean rather than run the risk of either extreme.
ARISTOTLE, NATURAL LAW, and the FOUNDERSMichael Pakaluk, Catholic University of America

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In its third guise, dialectic has a role to play in ‘scienceconducted in a philosophical manner’ (pros tas kataphilosphian epistêmas; Top. 101a27–28, 101a34),where this sort of science includes what we actually find him pursuingin his major philosophical treatises. In these contexts,dialectic helps to sort the endoxa, relegating some to adisputed status while elevating others; it submits endoxa tocross-examination in order to test their staying power; and, mostnotably, according to Aristotle, dialectic puts us on the road to firstprinciples (Top. 100a18–b4). If that is so, thendialectic plays a significant role in the order of philosophicaldiscovery: we come to establish first principles in part by determiningwhich among our initial endoxa withstand sustainedscrutiny. Here, as elsewhere in his philosophy, Aristotle evincesa noteworthy confidence in the powers of human reason andinvestigation.

Bragg, Melvyn. 2008. . In Our Time. BBC Radio 4. First aired 6 November 2008.

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Now, one may challenge Aristotle’s contentions here, first byquerying whether he has established the non-univocity of beingbefore proceeding to argue for its core-dependence. Be that as itmay, if we allow its non-univocity, then, according to Aristotle, theapparatus of the categories provides ample reason to conclude thatbeing qualifies as a philosophically significant instance ofcore-dependent homonymy.

Miller, Fred D, Jr. 2011. . In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta.

For more on the four causes in general, see the entry on .

These works may be categorized in terms of the intuitiveorganizational principles preferred by Aristotle. He refers to thebranches of learning as “sciences”(epistêmai), best regarded as organized bodies oflearning completed for presentation rather than as ongoing records ofempirical researches. Moreover, again in his terminology, naturalsciences such as physics are but one branch of theoreticalscience, which comprises both empirical and non-empiricalpursuits. He distinguishes theoretical science from more practicallyoriented studies, some of which concern human conduct and others ofwhich focus on the productive crafts. Thus, the Aristotelian sciencesdivide into three: (i) theoretical, (ii) practical, and (iii)productive. The principles of division are straightforward:theoretical science seeks knowledge for its own sake; practicalscience concerns conduct and goodness in action, both individual andsocietal; and productive science aims at the creation of beautiful oruseful objects (Top. 145a15–16;Phys. 192b8–12; DC 298a27–32,DA 403a27–b2; Met. 1025b25, 1026a18–19,1064a16–19, b1–3; EN 1139a26–28,1141b29–32).