Ed Feser gives a nicely articulated hermeneutic principle, stated below:

"The arguments of great philosophers of the past need to be understood, not only in the context of their times, but also in light of how later thinkers built on them. For an argument can contain, inchoately, real insights which only later thinkers were able to spell out adequately; and we will miss these insights if, overly fearful of anachronism, we insist pedantically on reading the argument in isolation from this later tradition. What ultimately matters in philosophy is not exactly who said exactly what, exactly when and exactly how. What matters is what is true, and whether an argument is likely to lead us to it. Anachronism, then, while a danger, is a less serious danger than loss of truth. To think otherwise is to abandon philosophy for mere scholarship. (Scholarship has its place, of course. But its place is to serve the ends of philosophy."

However, there must be some further principle whereby one is able to judge the strength (or defect) of the author in his original thought so as to distinguish the confused universal (or inchoately stated principle) from the determinate and distinctly stated interpretation. What is this principle? Here is one proposal. Here is mine (not necessarily in contradistinction to the prior proposal): philosophical wisdom.

I don't have time to give a full description of how the talk went, but in short I was very happy with it. Below is the paper, a response from Dr. Robert Miner of Baylor, and my (outline) reply to him-- a reply which deals mostly which his proposed alternative solution to mine as proposed in the paper. One thing which Robert empathized after the Q&A was that his comments were more "pedagogical" in the sense that he was more concerned with helping me see that some aspects of the paper need changing if I were interested in reaching a broader audience. This suggestion is fair, as I am working primary in a Thomistic framework for the paper.

Short PECE 5000 paper ACPA
Rober Miner Commentary

My Miner Response

Revised Thesis Preface

This is the revised draft of the preface to my thesis. I might not include it at all, but it was helpful pre-writing. Please let me know what you think, including whether or not I should include this, or something like this. Thank you!

The following thesis is admittedly much influenced by the thought of Aristotle. While Aristotle's influence can be seen in many ways in this thesis rather overtly, nevertheless there is an underlying principle which is at work that cannot (and should not, to my mind) be addressed during the course of the thesis properly speaking. Most generally this principle is that there is an order to the various philosophical disciplines. While there is much to be said about this order, most specifically the order with which I am concerned is the Philosophy of Nature precedes Metaphysics, or first philosophy, in the order of learning.
As contemporary commentator Glen Coughlin claims, “If there is to be any understanding of metaphysics as Aristotle conceived it, or even of Aristotle's conception of metaphysics, it will have to be preceded by a careful study of natural philosophy...” This is for the simple truth that immaterial being does not evidently exist and according to Aristotle “If there were no substances other than those formed by nature, physics (natural philosophy) would be the first science.” Further, it is through the study of mobile being that we arrive at our understanding of immaterial being, as in Aristotle's De Anima, that presupposes much of the Physics. Also at the end of the Physics Aristotle concludes to the first mover and states “Therefore it is apparent that it is indivisible and partless and a thing having no magnitude.” Our knowledge of immaterial being is largely knowledge by negation. The Physics, therefore, concludes to immaterial being, and can say no more about it since its object if mobile being. It is from here that one is must begin first philosophy, or metaphysics.
From these considerations it is clear that in the order of learning, Natural Philosophy must precede Metaphysics. This is simply how to move from the more known to the less known. This is a formative principle behind this thesis.
Throughout this thesis I will be focused on treating the methodology of Natural Philosophy as a natural philosopher, not a metaphysician. The principles I intend to resolve to in order to make my argument will belong to the disciplines of Logic and Natural Philosophy. This approach has both weaknesses and advantages, yet it is important to maintain.
The possible weaknesses that can be encountered by such an approach is that there may be metaphysical objections or problems to some arguments, that will not be sufficiently dealt with. This does not mean that the arguments should lack their proper certainty, or not conclude properly, but rather that there may be what Aristotle terms, ἀπορία, that cannot be resolved, which nevertheless does not disprove what was said.
The great advantage of this approach is that it will assure a narrow and focused discussion that will not be weighed down by digression or confusing side arguments that do not immediately pertani to the task at hand. This will mean that this thesis will likely end with more questions than it began with, but as long as the questions with which I end are different from the ones I began with, I shall consider my work successful.

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