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Journal Article

Scientific Method in Meteorology IV

Tiberiu Popa
HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science
Vol. 4, No. 2 (Fall 2014), pp. 306-334
DOI: 10.1086/677566
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/677566
Page Count: 29
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Scientific Method in Meteorology IV
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Abstract

This article explores the main aspects of Aristotle’s scientific method in Meteorology IV. Dispositional properties such as solidifiability or combustibility play a dominant role in Meteor. IV (a) in virtue of their central place in the generic division of homoeomers, based on successive differentiation and multiple differentiae, and (b) in virtue of their role in revealing otherwise undetectable characteristics of uniform materials (composition and physical structure). While Aristotle often starts with accounts of ingredients and their ratio (e.g., solids that contain a significant amount of water are liquefiable), the natural direction of his investigation is from observations regarding dispositional properties and their manifestation to accounts of composition and microstructure. Such passages tend to be easily syllogizable, a feature that—along with the criteria that shape his method of division—argues, I believe, for the compatibility of Meteor. IV with Aristotle’s theory of scientific inquiry. The concluding sections of my article deal more succinctly with reputable opinions and final causation in Meteor. IV.1–11 and with the relation between this treatise and Aristotle’s biological corpus.

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