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Aristotle

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					                              Aristotle
• Aristotle: 384-322 BC
  – born in Stagira in northern Greece
  –   maps:
  –   http://www.plato-dialogues.org/tools/gk_wrld.htm
  –   http://iam.classics.unc.edu/map/download/area_a7_outline.pdf

• Plato’s student in the Academy
   – Leaves Athens after Plato’s death in
     347 BC
   – Teaches Alexander for 3 years
• Returns to Athens in 335BC &
  establishes the Lyceum
• Alexander dies in 323 BC, when
  Aristotle flees Athens                                             1
• Range of Aristotle’s Work
  – Virtually all areas of philosophy
     • metaphysics (note the term)
     • epistemology
     • ethics & aesthetics
     • logic
     • protoscience: physics, biology,
       astronomy
                                     2
        Plato v Aristotle
• The General Structure of Universe
  – Plato’s two realms
     • the world of forms
     • the world of sensible objects
  – Aristotle’s unified universe
     • forms exist only in individual
       objects = substances
                                        3
         Plato v Aristotle
• Knowledge
  – Plato’s nativism
  – Aristotle’s empiricism
• Self
  – Plato: individual souls are immortal
  – Aristotle: soul is immortal but not
    individualized or personalized
                                           4
 Matter, Form & Substance
• The Problem of Change
  – Plato, Parmenides & Zeno deny
    the reality of change
  – They variously hold that the
    sensible world is “illusory”
  – Aristotle accepts the reality of
    the changing, physical world &
    needs a fundamental principle
    to accommodate change
                                       5
              Matter
• Matter = Pure Potentiality
  – that which, in itself, is nothing
    but which can become anything
     • compare malleable clay
  – that which permits persistence
    through change
     • compare the enduring clay
  – that which is unintelligible but
    fundamental???                      6
                 Form
• Form = Pure Actuality
  – that which disciplines, directs,
    constrains matter
     • shape of the malleable clay
  – that which makes matter become
    what is real
  – definable & intelligible
  – exists in what is real
     • even in sensible objects        7
           Substance
• Particular objects = what really
  exists
   – e.g. Socrates, tree, electron
• Substance = that which is the
  subject of predication but not
  itself predicated
   – target of thought and language
                                      8
• Material v Immaterial Substance
  – Some substances can change
    while retaining their identity
     • they contain matter + form
        –I.e. all sensible substances
  – Some substances cannot change
     • they do not contain matter
        –I.e. Celestial Objects, God
         (the unmoved mover)
                                    9
    Identity and Essence
• How change works in material
  substance
   – matter remains (compare Soc.
     Security Number)
   – form exchanged
    • distinguish essential (substantial)
      from accidental form
                                        10
• Essential Form
  – determines genus/species
  – makes a substance be the kind of
    object it is
     • e.g. the rationality of Socrates
• Accidental Form
  – characterizes or qualifies a
    substance without affecting its
    identity
     • e.g. the snubnosedness of
       Socrates
                                          11
  What’s Really Essential?
• Contrast generic and personal
  essence
  – Socrates, the rational animal
  – Socrates, the inquisitive
    philosopher
• Two types of essential forms?

                                    12
   What’s Really Essential?
• All and only rational animals are
  featherless bipeds
  – which form is essential?
  – How do we tell?
• Socrates is both a philosopher
  and a convicted criminal
  – which form is essential?
  – How do we tell?
                                      13
     Is Essence Subjective?
• The role of language
   – Edward Sapir/Benjamin Whorf Hypothesis
      • Edward Sapir (1884-1936): American linguist and
        anthropologist
      • Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897-1941): American linguist;
        student of Sapir
      • The language you speak determines or strongly
         influences how you conceive of the world and may
         even influence how you perceive the world
   – compare
       • “red,” “white,” and “blue”
       • “red-or-white” and “blue”
• Is essence what we find or what we fabricate?


                                                             14
     Forms as Universals
• Form as that which is commonly
  and simultaneously present in
  different but similar individuals
  as the basis of similarity
• How can one thing, i.e. a form,
  simultaneously be in different
  places?
                                      15
     The Nature of Thought
•   A person = (body + soul)
•   (body + soul) = (matter + form)
•   Hence, a person = (matter + form)
•   Soul = form
     – soul is that which gives life in
       virtue of giving rational
       animality
     – soul = essential form
                                      16
          Universal Soul
• Soul = essential form
• Essential forms are Universals
  – Plato’s essential form = Socrates’
    essential form
  – So, Plato’s soul = Socrates’ soul
• This generalizes for all people
• So, there is but one soul!
• Immortality is not personal!           17
      Thought and Form
• Soul is seat of cognition/thought
• Thought = recognition of form
• Recognition of form =
  reproduction of form in the soul
• So, to think of a cat is to have
  the form of the cat in the soul

                                      18
             Objections
• Why doesn’t a thinker become what
  he/she thinks?
   – Matter is in the object
     represented by thought but not in
     the soul
• Is it possible to distinguish similar
  things in thought since thought is the
  reproduction of universal forms?

                                           19
         The Four Causes
• Aristotle is convinced in the reality
  of sensible objects & change
• Thus, he must offer a theory of how
  it is possible to understand the
  structure of sensible objects and
  change
• Aristotle proposes four basic types
  of causation or explanation aiming at
  showing why, of necessity, things are
  as they are by showing them to be
  instances of Universal Laws           20
  Causation Fourfold Universality
• Material Causation
  – based in the varieties of matter
• Efficient Causation
  – based in the (infinite) sequence of
    antecedent motion
• Formal Causation
  – based in the varieties of form
• Final Causation
  – based in intelligent or natural purpose
                                              21
     The Unmoved Mover
• The universe must be temporally
  eternal since the idea of the
  (causal) beginning/end of the
  universe is nonsense
• Still, why does the universe have
  the structure that it does in fact
  have? It could have been other
  than it actually is.             22
• There must exist something that
  is not part of the changing,
  structured universe whose
  existence serves to explain the
  universe’s structure
• This = the Unmoved Mover who
  affects the world in the manner
  of a beloved/desired object       23
           Unmoved Mover
•   Immaterial
•   Unique
•   Pure Form
•   Unchanging
•   Eternal
•   Thinks, but only of itself
•   The Final Cause of the physical
    universe                          24
       Agental Causation
• Aristotle allows that agents
  cause things to happen as a result
  of their deliberation
• Perhaps this “agental” causation
  is simply a type of final causation
  or perhaps it is “sui generis”

                                    25
              Questions
• Questions:
  – is agental causation “free” or itself
    the effect of other causes?
  – does agental causation lead to
    inexplicable or chance events
     • the unintented result of intentional
       action?

                                              26
• Jones decides to go to the
  market to purchase food
• At the market he happens to
  meet Smith & happily collects a
  debt from Smith
• The debt collection was
  – unplanned
  – not universal = not what
    normally happens
  – is it a chance event?           27
             Chance
• The debt collection is a chance
  event
• Chance events do have causes!
• Causes of chance events are
  Accidental Causes


                                    28
    Accidental Causation?
• A accidentally causes B iff
  – A (normally) causes C
  – C happens to be identical to B
• Eg: Planning to go to the market
  (normally) causes one to visit the
  store. Visiting the store happens to
  be identical to collecting the debt

                                         29
   Objection to Aristotle’s
     Notion of Chance
• Contingent Identity
A happens to be identical to B
            means that
A is contingently identical to B
• Chance presupposes contingent
  identity
                                   30
• Contingent identity is introduced
  into chance explanations as a
  matter of happenstance or
  coincidence
• This violates the condition that
  causation is universal
• So causation by chance fails to
  explain why things are as they
  are!
• Aristotle errs, then, in saying
  that chance is a kind of causation
                                   31

				
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