Reading Aristotle

Argument and Exposition


Reading Aristotle: Argument and Exposition argues that Aristotle’s treatises must be approached as progressive unfoldings of a unified position that may extend over a single book, an entire treatise, or across several works. Contributors demonstrate that Aristotle relies on both explanatory and expository principles. Explanatory principles include familiar doctrines such as the four causes, actuality’s priority over potentiality and nature’s doing nothing in vain. Expository principles are at least as important. They pertain to proper sequence, pedagogical method, the role of reputable views and the opinions of predecessors, the equivocity of key explanatory terms, and the need to scrupulously observe distinctions between the different sciences. A sensitivity to expository principles is crucial to understanding both particular arguments and entire treatises.
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Biographical Note

William Wians, Ph.D., (Professor of Philosophy at Merrimack College and adjunct professor at Boston College) writes on ancient philosophy. His edited collection Logos and Muthos: Philosophical Essays in Greek Literature was published by SUNY Press. A second volume is in preparation.

Ron Polansky, Ph.D., (Professor of Philosophy and Chair, Duquesne University) has published on Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, and medical ethics, including monographs on Plato’s Theaetetus and Aristotle’s De Anima, and edited collections on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and bioethics. He has edited the journal Ancient Philosophy (Mathesis Publications) for thirty-six years.

Table of contents

About the Contributors

William Wians and Ron Polansky

1 Ways of Proving in Aristotle
Marco Zingano

2 Aristotle’s Scientific Method
Edward C. Halper

3 Aristotle’s Problemata-Style and Aural Textuality
Diana Quarantotto

4 Natural Things and Body: The Investigations of Physics
Helen Lang

5 Surrogate Principles and the Natural Order of Exposition in Aristotle’s De Caelo II
Mariska Leunissen

6 Arrangement and Exploratory Discourse in the Parva Naturalia
Philip van der Eijk

7 The Place of De Motu in Aristotle’s Natural Philosophy
Andrea Falcon

8 Is Aristotle’s Account of Sexual Differentiation Inconsistent?
William Wians

9 The Concept of Ousia in Metaphysics Alpha, Beta and Gamma
Vasilis Politis and Jun Su

10 Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics is a Work of Practical Science
Ron Polansky

11 Aristotle on the (Alleged) Inferiority of History to Poetry
Thornton C. Lockwood

12 Aristotle on the Best Tragic Plot: Re-reading Poetics 13–14
Malcolm Heath



Students, scholars, and libraries interested in how one must approach the writings of Aristotle, including treatises on logic, natural science, metaphysics, ethics, and poetics, and the nature of his method.