Aristotle, as a student of Plato’s’ , does not come to agree with his teacher. He was forced to give reasons as to why he disagreed with Plato, and what his views on each subject were. But, he was so attracted to the work of Plato, that he insisted on having the corrected version of his overall work, pushing Plato’s ideas further in what he thought was the right direction.
Aristotle, like Plato, was concerned with the amelioration of the soul. As both were also very tied to trying to distinguish the illusionist factor of what appears good to people, and what is really good in itself. There are many things in a life of a human that appear to be good and satisfy one’s pleasure. But, Aristotle sought out to distinguish the fact that what appears to be good, isn’t necessarily the highest good. This is what Aristotle calls the problem of appearance and reality.
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Aristotle conveys his way in a very systematic point of view. He writes as scientific as you can get, with specific steps and reasons why for various classes of things. Aristotle is very analytical and focused on the synchronization of summaries that are specifically organized in a system of steps.
Within Aristotle’s view of the forms, we see that he drastically differentiates himself from Plato. In Plato’s forms, the relationship between the forms and particulars was a central issue, that was surrounded by everything else in relation to the relationship itself. This means that any issue or disagreement within the relationship between forms and particulars has effects on all the surrounding ideas. These of which Aristotle continues to critique as he seeks a more corrected version.
In his metaphysics, Aristotle begins with the idea of knowledge. The way he begins is by distinguishing and breaking up knowledge into two different types. One type is practical knowledge and the other type is theoretical. In the side of practical knowledge, the end goal is having an action of some sort. its purpose is to lead to the cause of something else and work as a conductor. In contrast, theoretical knowledge is a type of knowledge in search of the truth. It, itself has its own value. It does not lead, or assist in leading to a point. Aristotle makes the point that one’s purpose is to know and think about this goal or truth.
One will have to examine it and speculate in order to achieve this goal. Now, in particular knowledge, Aristotle breaks that down to two different sub categories. One is experience and the other is art. When Aristotle talks about art, he means having the ideas and or knowledge of how to make something. For Aristotle, experience is the knowing of something. We can have much experience, but the value of experience may not be as high as art. The reason for this is that one may have a lot of experience, but can not do much with experience itself. On the other hand, art can come with many professions. Together, along with knowing the best and most efficient ways of getting things done, endless possibilities are able to happen. As a human, with both of these one is able to innovate and progress in life.
Aristotle differentiates between the particulars and what he calls “First wisdom”. First wisdom is the science of science. To this one is intending to and is trying to find what causes things to happen as they do. What allows them to function the way that they do. Nonetheless, all sciences lead to the study of being, as in what it means to become.
A big part of Aristotle’s metaphysics are his forms and the way he goes on to explain them. Within Aristotle’s forms are mathematical objects. These mathematical objects cannot be separated from the material objects themselves. The reason for this is because the material objects have mathematical properties within their origin. So this leads to the fact that if mathematical objects cannot be separated from physical objects, then the form or forms, in no way can be separated from the matter itself. This means that forms are imminent. Meaning the forms don’t just exist by themselves, but forms imminent within the things they inform.
If a form makes something the way it is, that means that the form has the essence or inner capacity to be the way it is. The way we describe this is that it has the potential to be something. For example, Aristotle describes an acorn that has the potential to become an oak tree. Any kind of natural process has the ability or potential to be actualized. All this together leads to the essence of a thing. The essence within something has the ability, potential, to be actualized in a natural process. “An organisms nature , its inner principle of change , gives us what it is to be that thing”. The telos being the goal, is to be actualized. One wouldn’t plant a flower seed in a garden, if the outcome would not be a flower.
In addition, Aristotle moves on to describe four different types of causes. The first is the efficient cause. The efficient cause for Aristotle is what we describe as a force with a sort of power to affect something and produce a type of consequence as a result. If one wants to account for a process, then one must take into account the material that was used. This what Aristotle calls the Material cause. This means that the nature of the substance being affected also has a cause. The material makes a difference in what one is able to do, and so does the thing or person performing the action. Adler makes this point in his writing as he states, “It is one of four indispensable factors-factors without which the production would not and could not occur”
For the third cause, Aristotle categorizes the form itself as a cause. The essential nature of the kind of thing being produced is a cause. Back to our example of the acorn, if it didn’t have the formal cause then it wouldn’t be able to become an oak tree. The fourth cause, is the final cause. This is the Telos, the goal, the final purpose. Lear explains why the final cause is so important by stating, ” We need to cite form as final cause in order to make the whole range of developmental activities – form as potentiality – intelligible”. Aristotle uses the example of reproduction, as a natural process in which we see these four causes at work. The material cause in this example is the mother’s body. The father in relation to the mother and her body is the efficient cause. In turn, the formal cause is the nature of the process and what we know happens. The final cause is to have a child in the end. That would be the telos and final goal. For Aristotle, no matter what the process is, there is and will always be a final cause. Lear confirms this point by stating, “There are at least three ways in which forms are transmitted in the natural world: by sexual reproduction, by the creation of artefacts, and by teaching.”
For Aristotle, nature is always in process. It is constantly in an effect of change, while time is at the very essence of that change. Because everything has an end or goal; in nature these things come to fulfill their ends or goals.
We know for Aristotle that being is the science of science. But, within the being Aristotle has categories of being. Not only do they include the different ways of describing what is, but the different ways things are. The first category is substance. Within the realm of a substance we deal with a substance and a predicate. Predicates describe the substance, and the substance is what is being described. The predicate itself has two different sides as well. There is an essential predicate and an accidental predicate. An essential predicate is what a thing has to have because of the type of thing it is. The accidental predicate is any other predicate. Anything else within describing a substance. This is the only substantial category out of the nine others ( ten total ).
The rest are merely accidental categories that are perceivable qualities of things.
Besides Aristotle’s epistemology there have been at least three different kinds of theories of knowledge. First, Empiricism, an Empiricist would say that knowledge is nothing but gathering sense observations of the world and making generalizations about them. Their reason is whatever can be derived is the truth. Next, Rationalism, these rationalists believe that knowledge is naturally within the being at birth. As in you are born with this type of knowledge. Furthermore, the skeptics emerge, as they doubt everything and presume circular reasoning. But, for Aristotle, the mind adds onto and contributes to knowledge. Aristotle’s mind contributes rules of thought and categories in order to perceive the world while distinguishing one’s self. Lear makes this clear in his book when stating, “Man not only has the ability to perceive the world: he distinguishes himself from all other animals by his ability to understand it.” This is true so that the thinking process in which the mind insinuates, correlates with the nature of reality in which one is surrounded by. Man has the ability to process and organize things in a way that they are structured, in order to get to the unchanging truth. To have the tools by which one can aim toward the final goal, the Telos.
As Aristotle describes the soul, he states that a person is both matter and soul together. The soul is the form or essence within a person. The soul for Aristotle is not in itself matter, but it is a form of the natural body, that has life potentially within it. It provides one with a set of abilities and capacities. Lear makes this observation in his book when stating , ” Soul is substance, Aristotle says, in the sense of the essence -or ‘what it is to be’ -of the body. This is substance according to the logos . The essence or logos of something is , as we have seen, an order-an order which is intelligible.” Aristotle continues to mention three different types of souls. He talks about the plant soul, the animal soul, and the human soul.
The plant soul is nutritive, which means they take in nutrition and grow from that nutrition. As the roots grow down and the stem rises a certain way in order to face the sun. It has an organizing principle within it that builds its own body. Behaving this way, a plant ensures its growth. “The capacity for nutrition, growth and reproduction is shared by all living things”Animal souls share the same characteristics as plant souls except for some key factors. An animal can engage in an activity that allows it to move around while a plant cannot. The soul is the activity as well as the principle that burdens the capacity to withstand this activity. During this activity, the animal does it in an orderly manner, in which there is a reason behind it.
An animal needs something to keep it alive and moving towards its intuition. This is what a plant does not have, desire and fear. An animal has a sensory of perception along with an evaluation of whether something is desirable or not. Lear comments on this in his book as he states, “animals distinguish themselves from plants by having sensation; in addition, some animals distinguish themselves from the rest by the ability to move” For a human, the soul has all that in which encompasses an animal soul, except what distinguishes a human is that one has the ability to perform reason. A human is able to perform rational decision making that an animal nor plant can do. Lear continues as his point stating, ” and man distinguishes himself from other animals by his abilities to engage in practical and theoretical reasoning.”This leads to Aristotle making his point that the desire to know in our souls comes from the pure delight that we get out of performing such activities. “Aristotle thinks that the sheer delight we take in the active exercise of our sense faculties is evidence for there being a desire to know in our souls”
Furthermore, as Aristotle presumes to describe God, he calls God the eternal unmoved mover that is unchanging. To prove this fact, Aristotle states, ” There is a mover which moves without being moved, being eternal, substance and actuality.”The unmoved mover is not an efficient cause, and does not exert a power or anything within that realm. The unmoved mover is just a pure being that has no unactualized potential capacity.
There is no change possible because the unmoved mover is pure actuality to begin with. It is the good, in which the entire cosmos is moved by. God is the one and only final cause. Lear makes this point clear in his book as he states, ” God is the final cause: the order depends on him. The order of this well-ordered world must bear some relation to God if he is to be responsible for it.” God is of no material for Aristotle as Adler mentions in his book, “To be an unmoved and eternal mover of a universe everlastingly in motion, the prime mover must be immutable. But to be immutable, in Aristotle’s view, it must also be immaterial.”
To actualize the actuality of God being an unmoved mover, Aristotle makes his claim that it does nothing but think on its own thinking. Aristotle makes this claim by stating, ” Therefore it must be itself that Mind thinks ( since it is the most excellent of things) and its thinking is a thinking of thinking.” The reason for this claim is because if the unmoved mover ponders about other influences coming in from outsiders, then he is exposed to being moved by them as well. Therefore, for Aristotle, he ponders on the thoughts of his own thoughtful excellence.
Encompassing all of Aristotle, his main ideal was finding happiness in his contemplative life.
This quote in which Lear embodies in his book really grasps the reader, “If happiness is activity in accordance with virtue, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest virtue; and this will be that of the best thing in us”. Happiness is the tip of the ladder, and the more one grows in wisdom, the higher they will climb, all in search of eternal happiness.
Student Of Plato's. (2019, Nov 27).
Retrieved May 22, 2022 , from
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