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Levels of ArgumentA Comparative Study of Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics$
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Dominic Scott

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199249640

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199249640.001.0001

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Explanation in NE I 4 and 7

Explanation in NE I 4 and 7

(p.142) 8 Explanation in NE I 4 and 7
Levels of Argument

Dominic Scott

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines some texts that bear on the nature of principles and the role of explanation in political science, especially NE I 4 and 7. The first of these will be of particular interest for the comparison between the Republic and the Nicomachean Ethics, because here Aristotle commends Plato’s way of characterizing inquiry as a circuit to and from first principles. The second is important for understanding his views on the role of explanation in political science, especially in comparison with the exact sciences. In parallel with the previous chapter, this argues that Aristotle was aware of the possibility of seeking deeper explanations for the practical conclusions of the NE, but explicitly refrains from doing so. Like Plato, he was aware of what a longer route might look like, but unlike him, thought it surplus to requirements, and indeed a distraction from the proper goals of political science.

Keywords:   philosophical method, explanation, first principles, starting points, induction, habituation, perception

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