Discussion Questions on Aristotle


1. What, intuitively, does Aristotle take an explanation to be? What do we want explantions for?

2. Aristotle maintains that there are four sorts of explanatory questions or four sorts of causes. Compare the lists that he gives in metaphysics 1,3, physics II, 3, physics II, 7 and posterior analytics II, 11. What does Aristotle mean by a "cause." Of what category or categories do causes belong? (Are they substances, properties, events, propositions, sentences or...?)

3. Of what relevance to scientific explanation is the distinction between those things that exist by nature and those things who existence is not by nature?

4. Think about what would constitute for Aristotle a paradigm scientific explanation.