Contrā Dale Jamieson, the study of the metaethical foundations of environmental ethics may well lead students to a more environmentally responsible way of life. For although metaethics is rarely decisive in decision making and action, there are two kinds of circumstances in which it can play a crucial role in our practical decisions. First, decisions that have unusual features do not summon habitual ethical reactions, and hence invite the application of ethical precepts that the study of metaethics and ethical theory isolate and clarify. Second, there are times in which the good of others (including organisms and systems in the natural world) may well be given greater weight in one's ethical deliberations if theory has made clear that the good to be promoted is ontologically independent of one's own good.
Edward Halper’s “The Metaphysics of the Syllogism” argues that the ontological ground of valid inference is found in the necessity of the predications that constitute the premises of the sort of syllogism central to Aristotle’s theory: demonstration. I further support his conclusion on the basis of a consideration of the title and structure of Aristotle’s Analytics, as well as some recent analysis of Aristotle’s modal logic. Halper however suggests that the logical form of inference is a result of how the mind sorts out the elements involved in a complex unity. I suggest that it is not primarily the mind that does this work, but language. What the mind does is primarily to be understood as a reflection of what language does, not vice versa.
Aristotle’s account of epistēmē is foundationalist. In contrast, the web of dialectical argumentation that constitutes justification for scientific principles is coherentist. Aristotle’s account of explanation is structurally parallel to the argument for a foundationalist account of justification. He accepts the first argument but his coherentist accounts of justification indicate that he would not accept the second. Where is the disanalogy? For Aristotle, the intelligibility of a demonstrative premise is the cause of the intelligibility of a demonstrated conclusion and causation is asymmetric. Within the Posterior Analytics itself, Aristotle does not account for this, but elsewhere he develops the resources for doing so: the cause is what acts on a substrate to actualize a potential in that substrate, resulting in the effect. On the other hand, it may well happen that two propositions entail each other, in which case one may as well justify the one on the basis of the other as vice versa.