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ABSTRACT: Given the great historical distance between scientific explanation as Aristotle and Hempel saw it, I examine and appraise important similarities and differences between the two approaches, especially the inclination to take deduction itself as the very model of scientific knowledge. I argue that we have good reasons to reject this inclination.

In his recent studies showing Galileo's knowledge of and adherence to the deductive standards of explanation in science set forth by Aristotle, Wallace (1) remarks that this Aristotelean theory must not be confused with the contemporary deductive-nomological theory of Hempel and Oppenheim. (2) There are, of course, important differences between the classic works of Aristotle and Hempel, for twenty-three centuries lie between them. But the differences are not as great as might be expected, and, as current discussions of the metatheoretical issues of explanation are generally ahistorical, I believe an attempt to compare these two intellectual mileposts in our understanding of scientific method should prove useful.

The most obvious and interesting similarities between the two metatheories of science lie in their deductive character, and this is where their significant contrasts lie as well. Aristotle had developed two major deductive systems: the hypothetical and categorical syllogisms. Of these, he thought only the latter suitable to the demanding rigors of scientific knowledge, whose first characteristics he saw to be 'certainty' and 'necessity'. (3) There are some problematic elements in just what Aristotle took these concepts to mean, but I postpone discussion of that to a later stage.

The categorical syllogism, preferably in the familiar "Barbara" of the first figure of the first mood, Aristotle sees to be the ideal supplier of both the certainty and the necessity, with the scientific conclusio...

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