Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
There is agreement neither concerning the point that is being made in Posterior analytics 96b15-25 nor the issue Aristotle intends to address. There are two major lines of interpretation of this passage. According to one, sketched by Themistius and developed by Philoponus and Eustratius, Aristotle is primarily concerned with determining the definitions of the infimae species that fall under a certain genus. They understand Aristotle as arguing that this requires collating definitional predictions, seeing which are common to which species. Pacius, on the other hand, takes Aristotle to be saying that a genus is studied scientifically through first determining the infimae species that fall under that genus. This interpretation attributes to Aristotle a distinction between primary and derivative subjects. I argue for Pacius's interpretation, defending it against Barnes's objections.