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Pre-Modernism
'The Philosopher,' Aristotle


'All human beings, by nature, desire to know.'

 

  • Aristotle was Macedonian, not Greek.

    • Born in 384 in Stagira (on NE coast of Thrace, well N of Athens)

    • at 17, Aristotle went to Athens

      • & studied (and taught) w/ Plato for 20 years,

        • during the period of Plato's 'Later Dialogues'

          • when he was interested in Math and the Natural Sciences

      • until Plato died in 348.

      • Aristotle was rejected to succeed Plato as head of the Academy.

        • [instead Plato's nephew took over,

        • the Academy moved away from Science, more towards Math-

          • opposite of Aristotle's interests]
             

    • Aristotle left Athens and travelled,

      • taught, wrote, did research in marine biology.

      • became politically prominent as an advocate of a united Greece

      • he also had a daughter, and a son named Nicomachus

        • after whom Nicomachean Ethics is named
           

  • In 348, the Greek city states were conquered by Philip of Macedon.

    • In 342, Aristotle returned to Macedonia

      • to tutor Philip's son Alexander,

        • then 13 years old.
           

  • A few years later, Alexander succeeded his father and expanded the Macedonian empire to the ends of the known world-

    • carrying with him Hellenic culture and thought
       

  • In 335, Aristotle returned to Athens

    • and est. his own school, the Lyceum.

    • named after a grove where Socrates went to think w/in the sacred precincts of Apollo Lyceus.

    • a peripatetic school- Aristotle would walk along the tree-covered Peripatos discussing philosophy.

  • Aristotle left Athens in 323, after the death of Alexander.

    • A victim of anti-Macedonian sentiments that rose in Athens, like Socrates he was charged w/ impiety he decided not to Athens 'sin against philosophy twice.'

    • He died about a year later.

       

  • The 'problem' with Aristotle:

    • we will never know fully the extent to which Aristotle agreed with or differed from Plato-

      • w/ Plato, we know he wrote technical works for lectures he delivered @ the Academy,

        • but none survive- only his dialogues.
           

      • w/ Aristotle, we know he wrote dialogues for popular audiences,

        famous for their eloquence,

        • but none survive- only copies of notes from his lectures.
           

    • Only 2 of his works survived continuously in the West from antiquity:

      • Categories & On Interpretation (both now part of the Organon)

      • Not until the 12th Cent. AD did the rest of his works become available in the West.
         

    • No doubt Plato influenced Aristotle...but vice-versa?

      • Some of Plato's later dialogues may have been written in response to Aristotle.
         

      • Aristotle criticized Plato's harsh dualism-

      • Did Plato write Timaeus in response?

        • In allegorical (?) language, he describes a divine craftsman

          • (the 'demiurge')

        • who uses the Forms as 'blueprints' to create the material world,

          • a 'cosmos' (lit. 'ordered thing')
             

        • embodiment (incarnation?) is seen as a good thing-

          • & the sensible world is seen as living,

          • animated by a world-soul.
             

        • more important, the world is seen as having a beginning.

          • Most Greeks thought it had eternally existed.
             

    • Jewish & Christian thinkers were amazed by Timaeus,

      • claimed Plato had either 'read Moses,'

      • or been divinely inspired.
         

    • But there are differences:

      • Plato's demiurge creates using pre-existing material,

      • his actions are governed/guided by the Forms.
         

    • In Judaism/Christianity:

      • God creates ex nihilo,

      • and the Forms are eternal ideas within the mind of God,

        • not external paradigms.

           

    • Plato saw the 'world soul' as the ultimate source of all motion-

      • ancients believed that the heavens were a series of moving concentric spheres,

        • each containing planets & stars,

        • w/ earth at the center

          • (a 'geocentric universe').

        • each moving orderly, predictably, eternally.
           

    • What moved them?

      • Plato: as the soul animates the body,

        • the 'World Soul' animates the cosmos.

        • The cosmos is, in essence, alive.

      • Aristotle: Each is moved by the one outside it.

        • But does this go on infinitely?

          • no, an infinite regression is not possible.

        • there must be an 'Unmoved or First Mover'

          • existing outside the universe or spheres.
             

      • This is (Aristotle's) God,

        • He causes motion not by force or 'pushing,'

          • but by being 'desired' (ερος, a type of love) by the outer sphere.

            • ultimately, each sphere 'desires' the first mover.

            • so...'love makes the world go 'round!'
              sort of...

        • NOTE: Aristotle's 'Unmoved Mover' is the NOT the first in a series of sequential cause-effect relationships...

          • [see below].
             

      • Ridiculous?

        • What proof do you have for an alternative theory?

        • we trust the accepted opinion of contemporary science

        • Aristotle trusted contemporary opinion as well.


      • How to begin w/Aristotle?

        • considered the philosopher of 'common sense' and moderation,

          • but 'common sense' does NOT mean merely 'popular opinion,'

          • rather, it means those intuitively self-evident first principles that most of the human race has accepted as true

          • and that have stood the test of time.

        • ALL PHILOSOPHIES MUST PRESUPPOSE SOME FIRST PRINCIPLES THOUGHT TO BE SELF-EVIDENTLY TRUE.

          • So, all philosophers must 'do metaphysics.'

          • Aristotle simply thinks that what most humans have believed for much of the course of human history to be true is likely to be so.

          • BUT: Not speculative beliefs like 'The world is flat,'

            • but the more practical beliefs by means of which we operate every day,

            • like 'other people have thoughts.'

        • So, much of his philosophy is grounded in these sorts of observations.

          • This is his guide for moderating between extreme positions.

        • Each science, he claims, must start from such first principles,

          • taken to be intuitively true w/o being proven by the scientific method,

          • but learned through the experience of repeated exposure to them (i.e. 2+2=4).

 

  • Aristotle & Logic

    • he 'discovered' the rules of reasoning, or systematized logic.

      • so thorough, no mods until late 19th cent.

    • An attempt to "formalize" what Soc and Plato were doing-

      • a "science" of how to think well.

    • The structure of all logic is reducible to the syllogism-

      • a thesis supported with evidence, or-

      • premises leading to a conclusion.

    • The Classic:

      • (1) All men are mortal.

      • (2) Socrates is a man.

      •  » Socrates is mortal.

      • 1 & 2 are premises-

        • these are the 'givens,' statements assumed to be true

      • » is the conclusion-

        • a statement thought to logically follow from the premises.

      • Evaluating an argument-

      • what kind is it? Deductive or Inductive?

        • Deductive draws a specific conclusion by showing how a specific example conforms to a general principle.

          • from the general to the specific

            • [see above example abt Soc]

          • establishes certainty, 'truth preserving'

        • Inductive draws a general principle from specific examples.

          • from the specific to the general

            • Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are men

            • Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are mortal

            • » All men are mortal.

          • establishes probability, not certainty.

            • [subst. 'philosophers' for 'mortal' in above]

      • Each type is evaluated differently-

        • Deductive for Validity and Soundness.

          • A DA is valid if the conclusion follows logically from the premises.

          • It is sound if it is valid and the premises are true.

          • Validity pertains to structure, soundness to truth content.

        • Inductive for Strength and Plausibility.

          • An IA is strong if the evidence is substantial.

          • it is plausible if the conclusion reasonably follows w/o overreaching.

        • Both types can go wrong (be fallacious) in terms of

          • structure (conclusion does not logically follow)

          • and content (containing falsehood)

        • Common Fallacies (Homework- go home tonight and watch a political talk show, evaluating their logic. fun!):

        • Contradiction
          assuming the same thing to be both true and false in essentially identical circumstances.

          • "It is wrong for you to impose your morality on others!"

          • "You should be more tolerant of other people's beliefs!"

        • Straw Man
          creating a simplistic/unfair caricature of an opposed position to make it easily refutable.

      • Democratic Fallacy
        Assuming something is true because a majority of people believe it to be so ('Appeal to the masses'), that something is false because few people believe it, or that no decision can be reached because there is no majority on an issue.

        • "We cannot agree on whether or not abortion is right or wrong, so we should leave the decision up to the individual."

      • Equivocation
        Using the same word with two different senses in the same argument.

        • Commentators say that John McCain is politically right. Therefore, his opponent must be politically wrong.

        • Famously, when G.K. Chesterton visited NY for the first time, he overheard two women screaming at each other from the windows of their apartments across an alley from each other. He commented: 'Those women will never agree because they are arguing from different premises.' 

      • Amphiboly
        Ambiguous syntax (word order or grammar) permitting different meanings.

        • Most men love football more than their wives.

        • Classified ads:

          • Pit Bull for sale. Eats anything. Loves children.

          • Wanted: Wardrobe for a woman with thick legs and large drawers.

        • Dealership ad:

          • We stand behind every car we sell.

        •  Laundromat sign:

          • Drop your pants here for service.

        • (supposedly) Real Newspaper Headlines:

          • Obama Should Act on Medical Marijuana

          • Reagan Wins on Budget, but More Lies Ahead

          • Grandmother of Eight Makes Hole in One

          • Stiff Opposition Expected to Casketless Funeral Plan

          • Two Convicts Evade Noose, Jury Hung

          • Killer Sentenced to Die for Second Time in Ten Years

          • Teacher Strikes Idle Kids

          • Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted

          • Milk Drinkers are Turning to Powder

          • Miners Refuse to Work after Death

          • NJ Judge to Rule on Nude Beach

          • British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands

          • Never Withold Herpes Infection from Loved One

          • Farmer Bill Dies in House

          • Iraqi Head Seeks Arms

          • Panda Mating Fails - Veterinarian Takes Over 

          • Child's Stool Great for Use in Garden

      • Accent:
        Changing the meaning of a statement by stressing different words.

        • I sincerely hope you get everything you deserve.

        • You've never looked better.


        • Test your logic skills!


           

           

           

           

           

    • recognized 4 types of statements relating categories:

      • 'All A are B' (All men are pigs)

      • 'No A are B' (No men are pigs)

      • 'Some A are B' (Some men are pigs)

      • 'Some A are not B' (Some men are not pigs)
         

    • can be related to form arguments:

      • one set of statements, 'Premises',

      • provides reasons for believing a 'Conclusion.'
         

    • The basic syllogism= 2 premises leading to a conclusion.

      • All men are mortal.

      • Socrates is a man.

      • Socrates is mortal.
         

    • An argument is valid if the conclusion follows logically from the premises.

    • sound if valid w/ true premises.
       

    • Aristotle realized that validity is structural, and can be represented symbolically:

      • All A are B.

      • C is A.

      • Therefore, C is B.
         

      • Insert anything for the variables; it's always valid.


 

 

 


The philosopher Martha Nussbaum on Aristotle
(be sure to watch all 5 segments)

  • Some key ideas:

  • The Categories:

    • Key to A.'s 'science' of logic is the belief that language allows meaningful communication about reality-

      • Picture a horse in your mind-

        • while we may not all be picturing the same horse,

          • we are all picturing the same sort of thing,

        • and were we asked to identify an actual horse,

          • we may not all identify the same horse,

          • but we would all identify the same sort of thing.

        • i.e. the label horse corresponds to the same kind of thing both conceptually and materially.

      • b/c we share the same perception of the same material world, we can speak meaningfully to one another about it.

        • [the problem of perception, remember?]

    • For A., what justifies this belief that thought and speech correspond faithfully to an exterior reality?

      •  The SOUL- but more on that later.

    • but- A. recognized that not everything we can say about a thing is essential to the thing

      • A. noted 2 ways to speak of a thing-

      • Consider this sentence:

        • 'Susan is a tall, quiet, female sitting in Mr. Martin's class today.'
           

      • We may speak of the thing as a particular,

      • or we may speak of it in terms of qualities it shares with other things.
         

    • A. calls this a distinction between substance and accident

      • substances are 'the entities which underlie everything else, and...everything else is either predicated of them or present in them.'
         

        • they are the subject of assertions to which predicates are applied.
           

      • 'Susan' is a primary substance.

      • 'female' is a secondary substance.

        • 'Substance' is the 1st of the Categories.

          • Answers the question 'What is it?'
             

      • the descriptors are accidents.

        • Aristotle recognized 9:

        • Quantity

          • (How large is it, how much does it weigh? 6 ft, 120lbs)

        • Quality

          • (What is it like? smart, energetic, sarcastic)

        • Relation

          • (How is it related? taller than...thinner than...)

        • Place

          • (Where is it? Room 205, Raleigh, NC, USA, North America, Earth, Milky Way, known universe...)

        • Time

          • (When did or does it exist? today)

        • Position

          • (What position is it in? sitting, slouching)

        • State

          • (What condition is it in? tired, bored, irritated, confused)

        • Action

          • (What is it doing? taking notes, complaining abt taking notes, pretending to take notes, drooling...)

        • Passivity

          • (How is it being acted upon? being lectured to)
             

      • Substances are things w/ independent existence;

        • the other categories only exist insofar as they are present in substances.

      • The Point: For A., the categories were not merely mental constructs.

        • they exist outside the mind- in the things themselves of which we speak.

        • In what way can/do we make the substance/accidents distinction?

    • Form & Matter, Act & Potency

    • [remember Heraclitus? contra Parmenides, he thought there was only change, no permanence.]

    • Aristotle synthesizes previous views:

      • w/Heraclitus, he agrees that things undergo change.

      • w/Parmenides, he thinks that what is real cannot be only change.

      • w/Plato, he agrees that Form is key to understanding the permanence that underlies change.

    • His position:

      • things we experience are composites of potentiality and actuality; they have the capacity to change, but something persists.

        • That which a thing is composed of is a combination of matter and form.

          • The matter the coffee mug is composed of is a type of clay, in the form of a mug.

          • but clay does not have to be coffee mugs,

          • and 'mug-ness,' apart from mugs made of clay, is an abstraction out of which you cannot drink coffee.


          • Therefore, things are composed of BOTH Matter AND Form; i.e. they are 'hylomorphic.'

            • Matter is the 'stuff' of which things are made,

            • Form is the recognizable shape/structure/unity that makes a thing perceivable as what it is.


        • A thing's Form has both essential and non-essential features (alternatively, a thing may be said to contain both essential and non-essential forms)

          • Ex: A coffee mug has to be cup-shaped, but it does not have to be white.

          • The essential features comprise the substantial form of a thing, or its essence- that which makes it what it is.

      • Forms exist in a hierarchy, like actualities:

        • Substantial Form or essence,

          • [coffee-mug= cup shaped, solid

          • human= rational animal]

        • Properties that necessarily derive from essence,

          • [coffee-mug= portability

          • human= language, humor]

        • accidental features that can be gained or lost w/o affecting essence.

          • [coffee-mug= whiteness, blueness, etc.

          • human= baldness, skin or hair color, etc.]

    • Form and Matter only exist apart from one another as mental abstractions-

    • In reality, they always exist in combination; they are aspects of reality.

      • Form accounts for permanence,

      • Matter accounts for change.

      • so, contra Plato, the Form of a human does not exist by itself,

      • and, contra Materialism, nothing is 'merely' matter.

    • Plato spoke of transcendent Forms, Aristotle speaks of imminent Forms-

      • Form is intrinsic to a thing, not apart from it.

        • In language, Form describes the universal properties of a thing,

        • and matter allows those properties to inhere in a particular example-

          • ['Socrates is a short, fat, and bald man.'

          • short, fat, bald are universal descriptors,

          • Socrates is the particular example manifesting them.]


    • Remember Parminides?

      • [thought change was impossible, since everything is really being, and there is only being and non-being, and something (being) cannot come from nothing (non-being)...]

      • His principle contradicted common sense.

    • Aristotle argues that non-being is not the only possible source of change:

      • Consider: A white coffee mug (see Mr. Martin's left hand).

      • It is: white, solid, cup-shaped, etc.

      • It is not: gaseous, hoop-shaped, [10 stories tall, a stack of $1000 dollar bills...]

      • But there are some things it potentially is:

        • blue, broken, a small flower pot, etc.

    • 'Actuality' and 'Potentiality':

      • The broken-ness of the coffee mug is not what makes it possible for it to be broken rather than intact [because it isn't broken yet, see? The broken-ness does not yet exist...]

      • but it could potentially be broken, if some outside force [me throwing it down] acting on it actualizes this potential.

      • [Please don't say, 'But the mug could potentially be anything. It could be a green Martian, or a rabid bunny rabbit, or an angry demon following me around]

      • A. roots potentiality in the nature of a thing as it exists.


      • what follows: whatever is changed is changed by another, [or sometimes: whatever is moved is moved by another.]

        • change is explained as an outside force acting on a thing in such a way that its potentiality is actualized.

      • Also: Actuality is ontologically superior to Potentiality,

        • b/c potentiality can only exist in an actually existing thing

          • [no point in talking about 'potential blueness' apart from actual things that can be blue,

          • and a thing cannot both exist & be purely potential.]

        • however, pure actuality w/no potentiality is conceivable.

      • As stated by Aquinas:

        • 'Potency and Act divide being in such a way that whatever is, is either pure act, or of necessity it is composed of potency and act as primary an intrinsic principles.'

      • Obviously, a thing has various actualities and potentialities, and they exist in a hierarchy:

        • Example:

          • You are human, so you are a rational animal.

          • rational animals possess the power of speech.

          • Sometimes you even use it.

          • Being a rational animal= primary actuality.

          • ability to speak is a secondary actuality relative to being a rational animal.

          • using the power is a secondary actuality relative to actually having it, and so on.

        • Also w/ Potentiality.

          • You don't speak in German, but you could potentially (if you learned it)

            • = primary potentiality

          • Suppose you do learn it. You won't always speak it, but you always could potentially speak it.

            • = secondary potentiality (and now being able to is also a type of actuality, see above)

        • [I know, you're saying, 'Duh, this is all sooo obvious.'

        • But this will turn out to be a key point.

        • Most modernist attempts to deny God's existence require rejecting this distinction,

          • and it plays a key role in debates over issues like abortion and euthanasia...]

      • Form & Matter

      • [remember Heraclitus? contra Parmenides, he thought there was only change, no permanence.]

      • Aristotle synthesizes previous views:

        • w/Heraclitus, he agrees that things undergo change.

        • w/Parmenides, he thinks that what is real cannot be only change.

        • w/Plato, he agrees that Form is key to understanding the permanence that underlies change.

      • His position:

        • things we experience are composites of potentiality and actuality; they have the capacity to change, but something persists.

          • That which a thing is composed of is a combination of matter and form.

            • The matter the coffee mug is composed of is a type of clay, in the form of a mug.

            • but clay does not have to be coffee mugs,

            • and 'mug-ness,' apart from mugs made of clay, is an abstraction out of which you cannot drink coffee.

            • Therefore, things are composed of BOTH Matter AND Form; i.e. they are 'hylomorphic.'



          • A thing's Form has both essential and non-essential features (alternatively, a thing may be said to contain both essential and non-essential forms)

            • Ex: A coffee mug has to be cup-shaped, but it does not have to be white.

            • The essential features comprise the substantial form of a thing, or its essence- that which makes it what it is.

        • Forms exist in a hierarchy, like actualities:

          • Substantial Form or essence,

            • [coffee-mug= cup shaped, solid

            • human= rational animal]

          • Properties that necessarily derive from essence,

            • [coffee-mug= portability

            • human= language, humor]

          • accidental features that can be gained or lost w/o affecting essence.

            • [coffee-mug= whiteness, blueness, etc.

            • human= baldness, skin or hair color, etc.]


      • Form and Matter only exist apart from one another as mental abstractions-

      • In reality, they always exist in combination; they are aspects of reality.

        • Form accounts for permanence,

        • Matter accounts for change.

        • so, contra Plato, the Form of a human does not exist by itself,

        • and, contra Materialism, nothing is 'merely' matter.


    • relationship between Matter/Form and Actuality/Potentiality

      • The acorn becomes an oak tree-

        • or, the acorn actualizes its potential to become an oak tree.

        • what determines its actualization? Form.

      • A. thinks that:

        • to have a form a thing must always in some way be actual [and cannot be purely/merely potential, see above].

        • But to be actual is not always to have a certain Form. Huh?

          • A. thinks there would be 'pure actuality,' a purely actual being, that would not have a particular form,

            • at least not like the forms we experience.

      • Also,

        • while material things always have potentialities,

        • for a thing to have potentiality does not necessarily require that it be material.

        • there could be immaterial things (souls? minds? thoughts?) that possess potentiality, at least insofar as they go from potential existence to actual existence.

        • what would these things be?...Forms.

        • A. sees Form as ontologically/metaphysically 'prior' to matter, as actuality is 'prior' to potentiality.

        • but these forms are NOT universals (like Plato's), rather they are immaterial particulars.

      • The 'Four Causes'

        • Some beings are 'by nature,' others are 'by other causes'

        • what is a cause?

        • for A., something broader than what we usually mean-

          • a 'cause' is a way of understanding or explaining something.
             

      • Again, consider the coffee mug- but suppose you'd never seen one. You wonder...what is this?

        • You'd note what it's made out of- ceramic; its color- white; its shape- cup-like, a cylinder closed at one end.

        • You'd note where it comes from- "Made in China," so it is not a natural object, but manufactured.

        • But you might also ask, what is it for? The answer: to drink (coffee) from.

        • A. proposed four causes for things:
           

          • 1. Material Cause

            • answers ?s like 'What is it made of?'
              ex. the material cause of the coffee mug is clay/ceramic.
               

          • 2. Formal Cause

            • 'What is it?' or 'What is the form, structure, or pattern that the matter exhibits?'
              ex. A cylindrical-shaped, white-colored, cup-like thing called a 'coffee mug.'
               

          • 3. Efficient Cause

            • 'What moved/produced it?' or 'what brought it into being?' or 'what actualized its potentiality?'
              ex. the efficient cause of the coffee mug is a factory worker in China.
               

          • 4. Final Cause

            • 'What is its goal/purpose/end?'
              'What is it for or for the sake of?'
              ex. the final cause of the coffee mug is to hold coffee so I can drink it.
               

        • Note that, for A., these apply as much to natural as to artificial things. Take the heart, for example:

          • Made of muscle tissue, (material cause)

          • organized into atria, ventricles, etc. (formal cause)

          • product of a biological process involving cell differentiation as encoded by DNA. (efficient cause)

          • pumps blood. (final cause)

        • what follows?

        • #1 determines the potentialities a thing will have or lack.

          • the coffee mug does not by its nature have the potential to be a heart, and vice-versa.

        • For A., #2 is most important.

        • One must know what something is to understand it,

          • which means one must grasp its form.

          • Formal cause is/includes substantial form or essence.

          • It is grasped 'by the intellect via abstraction from experience.'
             

        • #4 is the most controversial.

          • 'Teleology' - a rational account of a thing's end or purpose.

          • For. A., some things in nature appear to have an end or purpose,

            • & the order and purposive-ness of nature makes it beautiful.
              ex. our teeth are diff shapes for diff purposes-

              • incisors tear, molars grind
                 

          • Is this the case? Modern philosophy says no-

            • since the scientific revolution (17th cent), the teleological view of nature has been seen as an anthropomorphism-

              • a projection onto nature of the fact that humans act with an end in view.
                 

              • now nature is generally thought to proceed with no fixed goal,

                • but out of purposeless, mechanical necessity.
                   

          • A. would take no issue with such an explanation for natural occurrences like rain,

            • and related phenomena like vegetation
              i.e. rain does not fall 'in order to' cause crops to grow
               

          • the problem is in extending this view to all of nature-

            • We do not 'happen' to have incisors and molars,

            • they are characteristic of the form we inherited.
               

          • But since Darwin, such characteristics have been explained in terms of natural selection operating on (apparently) random variations-

            • nature is seen as blind, purposeless, not ordered, no designer...etc.

            • [but wouldn't the mind itself be a product of this process?

            • On what would we base our confidence in its ability to accurately know reality? Might it not deceive us for the sake of species survival?

            • But if evolution undermines the mind's ability to know reality, how can we have any confidence in the theory of evolution, itself a product of that mind?]
               

        • A. sees final and formal causes as closely related-

          • in essence, 'form is end.'

          • A thing possesses its particular form b/c that is the requisite form for what it does, what it is for.
             

          • Consider- as we mature, we 'grow into our form,'

            • we actualize the potential inherent in it.

        • Please Note:

        • A.'s concept of cause IS NOT THE SAME AS OURS.

        • We think in terms of cause/effect:

        • 'I threw the rock and the window shattered.'

          • one event causes the other, in a temporal sequence.

          • problematic- events in sequence do not always 'cause' one another,

            • so it is conceivable that throwing the rock at the window would not cause the window to shatter.

            • no matter how many times I see someone throw a rock at a window followed by the shattering of the window,

            • I must concede the possibility that the next time, it might not.

        • but suppose I ask the question: what caused the window to shatter? You'd answer?...


      • The Rock!

      • Correct...but note that this is a thing, not an event.

        • A. would agree. He might say that the rock pushed through the glass -and- the glass gave way,

          • but these events are simultaneous, NOT in a temporal sequence.

          • They are really both the same event, described differently.

          • [think more along the lines of a potter shaping clay with his hands- the movement of his hands & shaping the softened clay happen simultaneously.]

        • So, for A. whatever is in the effect must in some way be contained in the cause, and the temporal sequence problem does not occur...



  • Aristotle on the Soul

    • A.'s claim: 'All human beings by nature desire to know.'

    • we possess the capacity and ability to attain truth- but how?

      • [recall the thought-language-reality relationship:]

        • A. sees language as a matter of convention

          • diff words in diff languages refer to the same thing

          • written words are symbols of spoken words,

          • themselves symbols of 'affections in the soul '
             

    • A. believed that the soul was affected by the objects of sense perception,

      • & b/c we are members of the same species,

      • we perceive in essentially the same way,

      • and our language -logos- refers to the same reality.
         

      • puts A. in opposition to the Sophists-

        • who saw 'man as the measure,'

        • and logos as merely doxa -

        • therefore self-referential.
           

    • what soul?

      • Gk. ψυχη (as in psych -ology)

      • (1) It is a substance.

      • (2) It is a form- specifically, the form of a natural body potentially having life.

        • (i.e. an animated natural body)

        • but form is the actualization of the potentiality of matter, right?

      • (3) so, soul is the actuality of a natural body potentially having life.

        • [please, no images of ghosts or semi-transparent floating things]
           

      • 'actuality' has 2 levels-

        • imagine 2 people- 1 has knowledge of algebra but does not use it, the other is taking an algebra test.

          • diff between having/using knowledge

          • or asleep/awake

          • try again-

            • if a knife were a natural body, being able to cut would be its soul.

            • if rusted, broken, dull, it is a knife in name only.
               

        • NOTE: Soul is NOT separate from body;

          • we do not HAVE a soul- we ARE a soul.
             

      • By this understanding, plants have souls.

        • they take in nourishment & reproduce-
           

      • the 'Nutritive Soul' digests

        • it makes actually alike that which is potentially alike but actually unlike.

        • ["we are what we eat"...right?]

           

      • The Perceptive Soul

        • humans also have nutritive souls, but more...

          • we, like animals, also perceive, via the senses

          • thus, the objects of sense perception affect the perceptive soul.
             

        • imagine 3 people-

          • 1 can learn algebra; a 2nd has learned, a 3rd has learned & is using.

            • All are 'knowledgeable (knowledge-able),' b/c 1 can know, 2 possesses knowledge, 3 applies it.

              • 1= potentiality

              • 2= 1st degree actuality

              • 3= 2nd degree actuality

          • The change from 1-2 is from not knowing to knowing;

          • from 2 to 3 is different- it is a completion of the person's nature.
             

          • Now consider:

            • (1) a male seed or unfertilized egg

            • (2) a human being, able to perceive (from conception or birth?)

            • (3) a human perceiving at this moment.
               

            • from 1-2 is from not conceived/born to conceived/born

            • from 2-3 is a completion of human nature.
               

        • perceiving does not change us, it completes our nature.

        • it is like eating-

          • in perception, the perceptive soul becomes actually like the perceived object, which it is actually unlike but potentially like.
             

          • but the perceptive soul does not change like food that is digested...so how?

            • it receives form w/o matter

            • more like wax that is imprinted with a seal.

            • no middle step (like Democritus) that casts doubt on the reliability of perception by making it indirect.
               

        • The important point-

          • this is why A. thinks we can place confidence in perception-

            • again, it is the completion (or perfection?) of our nature.

            • furthermore, we ourselves are 'natural beings.'

               

        • Finally, the Rational Soul (and Virtue)

          • A. calls it 'nouj,' or mind, or intellect.

          • at some points, A. describes it as 'separable' from the body.

            • even 'immortal and eternal'

            • like perception, intellect is affected by that which it apprehends,

              • but these are universals, not external objects.

              • they are within the soul, one and the same with it.


      •  

  • Aristotle's Metaphysics:

    • Since (for Aristotle) the highest possible activity is rational thought,

      • God is 'Active Mind' or Intellect, constantly contemplating itself-

        • it does not think about what is below it-

          • or it would be dependent upon it,

        • rather, God is a mind that contemplates itself

          • 'thought thinking about itself.'

          • an uninvolved, abstract God?
             

      • not exactly...

        • Aristotle thinks that when we come to know the Form of a thing,

          • we know it separate from matter.

          • there is a 'light' that enables us to 'see' the Form...

          • we don't just see it, we identify with it

          • we 'become' it, or unite with it, temporarily.
             

      • it is active mind (God) that illuminates the Forms embodied in material things,

        • so that the mind can 'see' them.
           

      • But the Forms themselves are the mind of God,

      • so they are both

        • what He is eternally contemplating

        • and eternally identical with Him
           

      • When we contemplate the Forms in things,

        • we contemplate what is in the Divine Mind,

        • and become identical with it.
           

        • it is a type of union w/the mind of God.

          • but partial, transitory.
             

        • but when we unite w/ the Divine Mind, we experience eudaimonia, or happiness.

          • we touch eternity.
             

      • So true human happiness is not political or practical;

        • not a feeling.

      • It is to become identical with the Good,

        • or with the mind of God.
           

      • eudaimonia, in the Christian tradition, is 'beatitude,' or 'blessedness.'

        • in Christian Platonism, happiness is the 'beatific vision,'

          • glimpsing God with the 'eye' of the mind.

             

  • Other important concepts of Aristotle:
     

    • Nature

      • For A., a 'natural being' is that which contains within itself the 'principle of motion and rest.'

        • [humans, animals move toward what they desire

        • plants move towards the sun; their roots grow down

        • the 'simple bodies' move towards their 'natural place of rest' unless a countervailing force acts on them:

          • air & fire move 'up'

          • water & earth move 'down']
             

      • sounds foreign to us, b/c we base nature on modern physics. It

        • is essentially mathematical (...Platonic?)

        • assumes unlimited space

        • sees matter as essentially the same; not qualitatively different.
           

      • Is Aristotle a pre-modern 'Phenomenologist'?-

        • the starting point of his philosophy is to 'seek to explain or do justice to the phenomena,'

          • or the way things appear.

             

      • Compare A. w/

      • Democritus,

        • who thought everything was 'atoms & the void'

        • the apparent ontological integrity of things (their appearance) is an illusion,

          • only atoms are real

        • saw the senses as a form of 'illegitimate' knowledge.
           

      • A. sees sensory experience as primary,

        • philosophy must do justice to it/ is held accountable by it.
           

      • Parmenides,

        • a 'strict rationalist'

        • who rejected multiplicity & change,

        • in favor of a single, eternal logos.
           

        • Both Democritus & Parmenides are 'paradoxical' thinkers (lit. 'against opinion,' or 'contrary to the way things seem.')

        • Their systems are rational given their starting points...

          • but what are we to make of the starting points?
             

      • A. rejects them, b/c they do not do justice to appearance-

        • they rob phenomena of their apparent truth and meaning.
           

      • Passages in A.'s writings often begin with 'we say that...'

        • he believes in 'Common Sense'-

          • the phenomena of external reality are essentially consistent for all human beings,

            • and language faithfully reflects this.
               

          • [consider- nouns name things w/distinct reality;

          • adjectives describe real qualities of those things

          • we use the plural to indicate multiplicity...]

             

        • is what 'we say' faithful to what is real?

          • if yes, we side w/Aristotle

          • If no, if reality in some way 'lies behind' experience and language,

            • then what do words really mean (incl. the words with which we articulate our refutation of the idea that our words have objective meaning)?

               

        • For A., this path is meaningless nonsense and word games.

          • It is what 'we say,' -our experience & articulation of a common reality- that is the starting point of theory,

          • & a theory that does not do justice to it is to be rejected.
             

    • Matter & Form

      • For A., matter itself is 'by nature.'

      • If effect, 'nature' is the matter that underlies everything that has w/in itself the 'principle of motion and rest.'

        • [i.e. it underlies all change]
           

      • So the Presocs were right to propose a material arche,

      • but wrong to see this as a complete explanation of reality

        • [i.e. materialism]
           

      • THE KICKER:

        • Nature is not merely matter,

        • rather it is matter revealed in form.

        • In fact, 'form is the nature more than the matter is.'

          • Matter apart from form is like the pile of wood from which my desk is made:

            • until the wood takes on the form of a desk, it is only potentially a desk;

            • when a desk is made from it, that potentiality is actualized.
               

          • Similarly, matter apart from form is 'mere' potentiality,

          • only actualized (fully manifesting itself) when it takes on a form.

          • We do not see carbon atoms, we see dogs, cats, humans...
             

        • The full nature of a thing is not merely its matter;

          • not 'what it is made of,'

          • but WHAT IT IS.
             

        • A. is a 'hylomorphist' (hylo=matter, morphe=form)

          • He sees natural beings as composed of BOTH matter AND form.
             

      • A. likes to say, 'A man comes to be from a man, but not a bed from a bed.'
         

      • Obvious right? But think for a moment...

        • This clarifies his definition abt things that are 'by nature.'

        • Natural beings-

          • show themselves for what they actually are;

          • and reproduce themselves-

            • they are able to pass on their form from one generation to the next,

            • although the matter making up a particular example of a being does not.

          • So, form is nature more than matter,

          • b/c it is form that endures to the next generation.

    • Thought, Language, Reality-

      • All have the same structure.

      • Our thoughts correspond to reality

        • when we think abt nature, what reason tells us is true of nature is in fact true of nature.

        • but knowledge requires the ability to discourse intelligibly,

          • so language bridges the gap between thought and reality.

        • What can we know of the structure they share

  • 'First Things'

    • Aristotle realized that if all beliefs must be deductively proven, an infinite regress results.

    • There must be self-evidently true 'First Principles.' but from where?

      • are they innate, as Plato thought? No.
         

    • From Induction & Intuition.

      • We 'induce' universal knowledge from repeated exposure to particulars.

      • We 'intuit' the rational order that underlies reality.
         

    • Not recollection, but recognition.
       

    • 2 classes of 'First Principles':

      • laws unique to individual disciplines

        • (math, physics, medicine, etc.)

      • laws of logic,

        • fundamental to reasoning in any subject.

        • 3 Main Principles:

          • Law of Non-Contradiction:

            • 'A cannot be both B and not-B'

          • Law of Excluded Middle:

            • 'A must be either B or not-B'

          • Law of Identity:

            • 'A is A'
               

  • Aristotle's Natural Teleology-

    • each thing, when it moves, aims at a goal, end or purpose (Gk. telos) to which it is directed,

    • its 'good.'

      • Living things seek nourishment, shelter, etc.

      • Inanimate things seek their proper place in the cosmos.

  • From what we have, some differences emerge:

    • Plato's transcendent philosophy is more idealistic, using mathematics as its model.

    • Aristotle is more pragmatic, realistic; biology is his model.
       

    • For Plato, sense experience is not a reliable path to truth-

      • reality is knowable to extent it is intelligible,

      • and it is only so to the extent that one knows the Forms
         

  • Plato sought the Forms in another realm, Aristotle sought them in the natural world.

    • Aristotle is less 'spiritual' than Plato,

    • ironically, so are Judaism & Christianity

  • Saw forms as embodied in the material world- better
     

 

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