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There are many disputes about induction in the logic and philosophy of science. One of the problem is that we often use the term „induction― in different meanings. This is precisely the point of Aristotle, the first thinker who analyzed induction systematically. The aim of the paper is to show that we are confronted with at least four different meanings of induction (epagoge) in Aristotle’s writings, to analyze them and to show the role of induction in acquiring
scientific knowing and the consequences for the structure and characteristics\ of Aristotle’s system of scientific knowledge.
Preliminary remarks
Some years ago I attended a lecture given by Ladislav Kováč, Slovak biochemist and author of so called cognitive biology, which is an attempt to reformulate the fundamental problems of epistemology into the language of empirical (biological, chemical and physical) sciences and is very closed to evolutionary epistemology as proposed by Konrad Lorenz, Gerhard Vollmer, Donald T. Campbell, Rupert Riedl, Franz Wuketits and others. In his lecture Ladislav Kováč wondered about the disproportion of citation index of Aristotle’s and that of Konrad Lorenz’s works in philosophy and social sciences, which was, from his point of view, in the indirect proportion of the importance of their ideas for the development of contemporary philosophy and social sciences. His words were the first impuls for me to study the possible influence of Aristotle’s ideas in the development of modern science and philosophy of science.
Another impuls came from biology and philosophy of biology. There was a discussion in biology and philosophy of biology in 70-ties about the striking similarity between Aristotle’s eidos and genetic program in modern biology (Delbrück 1971, Mayr 1976), where some authors claimed Aristotle to be almost the discoverer of DNA1, and also a discussion
on teleology in evolutionary biology.