By Terence Irwin

Exploring Aristotle's philosophical strategy and the advantages of his conclusions, Irwin right here exhibits how Aristotle defended dialectic opposed to the objection that it can't justify a metaphysical realist's claims. He focuses quite on Aristotle's metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of brain, and ethics, stressing the connections among doctrines which are usually mentioned separately.

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For a theory may be consistent with the actual appearances simply because it says very little about appearances at all (GA 748a7–11, GC 316a6–10), and so does not evidently conflict with them (DC 309a21–7). 28 A good theory should remove puzzles, by finding an explanation that makes the appearances seem more reasonable than others would be in these conditions. 29 We do the best we can with the appearances we have available, but it is corrigible in the light of further appearances (GA 767b28–30; cf.

I agree that these warnings against premature appeals to development are salutary correctives to some tendencies in Aristotelian studies; and for these reasons I think the static view is prima facie plausible. Still, in some cases the presumption in its favour can be overcome; and I would like to show that Aristotle's views on some issues suggest a hypothesis about development. I discuss two major issues where I think Aristotle changes his mind: (1) As I suggested above, Aristotle's earlier works seem to reject the possibility of a universal science, and the Metaphysics accepts such a science.

For these reasons, the chapters on the Ethics and Politics are intended to draw together the methodological and the substantive issues in the previous chapters. I hope to show that it makes a difference to our view of Aristotle's moral and political argument if we take it to be strong dialectic, not pure dialectic, and that an appeal to first philosophy makes his moral and political theory more plausible than it would be otherwise. In this case our discovery of the unity in Aristotle's philosophy should encourage us to take his particular theories more seriously.

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