Formal Causes: Definition, Explanation, and Primacy in Socratic and Aristotelian Thought

2014.10.16 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Michael T. Ferejohn, Formal Causes: Definition, Explanation, and Primacy in Socratic and Aristotelian Thought, Oxford University
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2014.10.16 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Michael T. Ferejohn, Formal Causes: Definition, Explanation, and Primacy in Socratic and Aristotelian Thought, Oxford University Press, 2013, 211pp., $65.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199695300. Reviewed by James G. Lennox, University of Pittsburgh Aristotle refers to Socrates by name only a few times, but a consistent picture emerges from those references. In Formal Causes, Michael Ferejohn draws on more than three decades of sustained investigation into the connection between the epistemological concerns of certain 'Socratic' dialogues and those animating Aristotle's Analytics. Aristotle's principal debt to Socrates, as Ferejohn sees it, is the idea that definitions both identify what things are and, by virtue of that identification, are also fundamental explanatory starting points -- formal causes -- and thus serve as epistemological foundations. The argument for the interpretation on offer is rigorous, clear and. . .

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