Aristotle, Posterior Analytics

LCL 391: 26-27

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71 a ὅτι ἔστι προϋπολαμβάνειν ἀναγκαῖον, τὰ δὲ τί τὸ λεγόμενόν ἐστι ξυνιέναι δεῖ, τὰ δ᾿ ἄμφω, οἷον ὅτι μὲν ἅπαν ἢ φῆσαι ἢ ἀποφῆσαι ἀληθές, ὅτι ἔστι, τὸ 15δὲ τρίγωνον, ὅτι τοδὶ σημαίνει, τὴν δὲ μονάδα ἄμφω, καὶ τί σημαίνει καὶ ὅτι ἔστιν· οὐ γὰρ ὁμοίως τούτων ἕκαστον δῆλον ἡμῖν. ἔστι δὲ γνωρίζειν τὰ μὲν πρότερον γνωρίσαντα,1 τῶν δὲ καὶ ἅμα λαμβάνοντα τὴν γνῶσιν, οἷον ὅσα τυγχάνει ὄντα ὑπὸ τὸ καθόλου οὗ2 ἔχει τὴν γνῶσιν· ὅτι μὲν γὰρ πᾶν 20τρίγωνον ἔχει δυσὶν ὀρθαῖς ἴσας προῄδει, ὅτι δὲ τόδε τὸ ἐν τῷ ἡμικυκλίῳ τρίγωνόν ἐστιν ἅμα ἐπαγόμενος ἐγνώρισεν (ἐνίων γὰρ τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον ἡ μάθησίς ἐστι, καὶ οὐ διὰ τοῦ μέσου τὸ ἔσχατον γνωρίζεται, ὅσα ἤδη τῶν καθ᾿ ἕκαστα τυγχάνει ὄντα καὶ μὴ καθ᾿ ὑποκειμένου τινός). πρὶν δ᾿ 25ἐπαχθῆναι ἢ λαβεῖν συλλογισμὸν τρόπον μέν τινα ἴσως φατέον ἐπίστασθαι, τρόπον δ᾿ ἄλλον οὔ. ὃ γὰρ μὴ ᾔδει εἰ ἔστιν ἁπλῶς, τοῦτο πῶς ᾔδει ὅτι δύο ὀρθὰς ἔχει ἁπλῶς; ἀλλὰ δῆλον ὡς ὡδὶ μὲν ἐπίσταται, ὅτι καθόλου ἐπίσταται, ἁπλῶς δὲ οὐκ ἐπίσταται.

Εἰ δὲ μή, τὸ ἐν τῷ Μένωνι ἀπόρημα συμβήσεται· 30ἢ γὰρ οὐδὲν μαθήσεται ἢ ἃ οἶδεν. οὐ γὰρ δὴ ὥς γέ


Posterior Analytics, I

is necessary. Sometimes it is necessary to assume be knowledge of fact or of meaning. the fact beforehand, and sometimes one must understand the meaning of the term; sometimes both are necessary. E.g., we must assume as a fact that either the assertion or the negation of every statement is true; and we must know what the term “triangle” means; and as regards the unit, we must both know what it means and assume that it exists. This is because these truths are not all equally apparent to us. Recognition of a fact may sometimes entail both Previous knowledge distinguished from actualization of potential knowledge. previous knowledge and knowledge acquired in the act of recognition; viz., knowledge of the particulars which actually fall under the universal, which is known to us. We knew already that every triangle has the sum of its interior angles equal to two right angles; but that this figurea inscribed in the semicircle is a triangle we recognize only as we are led to relate the particular to the universal (for some things, viz., such as are ultimate particulars not predicable of anything else as subject, are only learnt in this way, i.e., the minor is not recognized by means of the middle termb). Before the process of relation is completed or the conclusion drawn, we should presumably say that in one sense the fact is understood and in another it is not. For how could we know in the full sense that the figure contains angles equal to the sum of two right angles if we did not know in the full sense whether it exists? Clearly we apprehend the fact not absolutely but in the qualified sense that we apprehend a general principle.

Unless we make this distinction, we shall be faced This is the escape from the dilemma of the Meno. with the dilemma reached in the Menoc: either one can learn nothing, or one can only learn what is already known. We certainly must not offer the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-posterior_analytics.1960