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Dr Naoya Iwata

Dr Naoya Iwata

Postdoctoral Research Fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and Non-Stipendiary Research Fellow at Clare Hall.

Research Interests

I am currently undertaking my own two-year research project entitled ‘A Study on the First Principles of Sciences in Western Ancient Thought’, funded by the JSPS.

My broad research interest is in the question what ancient philosophers thought about the relationship between different fields of knowledge, especially between scientific and ethical knowledge. Plato suggested that all scientific knowledge should ultimately be grounded in knowledge of what goodness is. Aristotle, on the other hand, made a sharp distinction between theoretical and practical sciences. My research mainly aims to clarify their theoretical grounds for those opposing views respectively.

An important point for this purpose is that whether or not a field of knowledge is independent of others depends fundamentally on the epistemic status of its first principles. First principles are the starting points from which a system of knowledge is deductively constructed. I am currently comparing Plato’s and Aristotle’s discussions of the first principles of mathematics in particular. For mathematics was already seen as a well-established discipline at that time as exemplified in Euclid’s Elements, and greatly influenced their different views about the independence of each field of knowledge.

Key Publications

2016, ‘Plato’s Hypothetical Inquiry in the Meno’, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24, 194–214.

2015, ‘Plato on Geometrical Hypothesis in the Meno’, Apeiron 48, 1–19.

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