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Alexander Lamprakis: Abū Naṣr al-Fārābī and “How (not) to use Examples and Comparisons in Dialectic and the Sciences: Topics VIII 1, 157a13-17 and its Aftermath”
April 19, 2021 @ 14:00 - 16:00 CEST
In Topics VIII 1, 157a13-17, Aristotle discusses the correct method of employing examples and comparisons in the framework of a dialectical debate. This article argues that this passage, often neglected in contemporary research on Aristotle’s Topics, led to a remarkable debate in its late ancient, medieval and early modern reception. This article introduces Alexander of Aphrodisias’ interpretation of the passage and reactions to it in the medieval Arabic and renaissance Latin tradition of commentary. As will be shown, the debate surrounding the correct interpretation of Topics VIII 1, 157a13-17 amounts to the more general question of how to delimit Aristotle’s theory of dialectical argumentation and how to evaluate its relation to rhetoric and the demonstrative sciences.