The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

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In this paper I will try to clarify Aristotle’s conception of induction or epagoge. I will begin by critiquing a variety of contemporary accounts of Aristotelian induction with reference to how they evaluate its adequacy as a grounding for science. I will then try to establish a set of conditions that must ultimately be met for this grounding to succeed.

It will be my contention that by appreciating how the critical faculty {to krinon) can act with the common sense {koine dunamis) to hold multiple dimensions of consciousness in front of the attention in a unitary “gaze,” we can begin to sort out how induction is the determinate movement from thephantasmata of parts within a whole to the noeta of particulars under a universal. In this manner, phantasmata are not transformed into noeta so much as serve as the extensional map of the intensional conditions for thought. The Principle of Non-contradiction dictates the law under which the concept must be thought. The spatial/temporal map determines the conditions within which concepts may be applied.

In presenting my case for how Aristotle establishes an adequate model for induction, I will be focusing on two difficult passages. I will try to work out the implicit consequences of Aristotle’s description of the critical faculty in the De Anima. And I shall try to elaborate some of the problems inherent within Aristotle’s multiple representations of the concept of universal from the Posterior Analytics. Then, in attempting to bring these two presentations together, I will develop the framework within which this activity of induction might adequately bridge the apparent break between phantasia and nous.

My method in this difficult task will follow Aristotle’s lead in pursuing his very similar end in the De Anima; it will be aporetic. I will set out the seemingly irreconcilable conditions that frame the possibility of a robust model of scientific induction and then put forward the singular framework which could possibly fulfill them. I will then test said hypothesis against all of the outstanding claims typically forwarded against the induction of universals.

I will also take some liberty in moving freely between the work of Aristotle and his teacher, Plato. Since I believe that they are substantially in agreement on the nature of science, and its methods, and since each brings unique and specialized tools to bear upon this problem, I believe that such an approach will greatly illuminate the contributions of both.


Mark Faller presented “The Split Gaze of the Soul: Parts and Wholes in Aristotle’s Model of Epagoge” to the Society at its meeting with the Central Division in Chicago inl 2005.

For information about the author (his CV) see: