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Life’s Ultimate Questions “Aristotle”

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  1. Life’s Ultimate Questions “Aristotle” Christopher Ullman, Professor Christian Life College

  2. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) • Born not in Athens but in Macedonia • Connected to the court of King Philip • Studied in Plato’s Academy • Tutored Alexander the Great when Alexander was a teenager • Founded a rival school in Athens, the Lyceum • During his life, he left Athens three times • After Plato’s death • After Philip II’s assassination • After Alexander’s death

  3. Why Aristotle is Important • He’s one of the 4 or 5 greatest thinkers of all time • Plato helped influence Augustine, and Aristotle helped influence Thomas Aquinas • His teaching on properties can help us to understand the Incarnation

  4. Aristotle vs. Plato • He rejected Metaphysical Dualism • The Forms were not separate from particular things • They were in the particular things • Reality was in the world of particular things • Things have substance • There is only one world • The one we inhabit through our bodies FORMS THINGS THINGS, WITH FORMS INTHEM

  5. Aristotle vs. Plato, continued • By rejecting Plato’s Two Worlds theory, he could reject Plato’s Two Kinds of Knowledge theory • Human knowledge can be grounded on • The Senses • Reason RATIONAL EMPIRICAL

  6. Aristotle vs. Plato, concluded • By rejecting Plato’s Two Worlds theory, he could also reject Plato’s Body and Soul theory • Body and Soul are not two radically separate substances • Humans exist as a unified whole, a body-soul complex • The soul is something about the body

  7. Aristotle and Ultimate Reality • Reality consists of Substances • Things that exist or have being • Crayons • Cars • Students • Every substance has two kinds of properties • Accidental (hule): nonessential attributes such as color or size • A knife could have a wooden handle or a metal handle, and still be a knife • Essential (morphe): attributes which are necessary conditions • A knife that has lost its ability to cut is no longer a knife • Essence and Form are synonymous The Highly Morphic (Hule-Morphic) Composition of Substances

  8. Four Causes (or Explanations) • The Material Cause: what a thing is made of • Baseball Bat: wood • The Formal Cause: the essential properties of a thing • Baseball Bat: tapered, round, knobbed, length of 27 – 36” • The Efficient Cause: the activity that brings a thing into existence • Baseball Bat: the sweat, skill and desire of the batmaker • The Final Cause: the purpose for which a thing exists • Baseball Bat: a tool to swing at and occasionally hit baseballs

  9. Categories • A category is a predicate (a way of describing and classifying things) • S is P (Subject and Predicate) • “The student is a person:” • Person is the predicate or category that describes the student • A dog is a mammal. • Socrates was a philosopher. • Harry Schmidt is an Iowan. • The box is cardboard. • Think of categories as headings under which all things can be listed • Aristotle’s Categories are the ultimate headings

  10. There are 10 kinds of categories “Socrates is _______” Human (substance) A human (quantity) Balding (quality) In prison (place) Plato’s teacher (relation) Alive in 400 B.C. (time) Sitting (posture) Dressed (state) Drinking hemlock (action) Being poisoned (passion) Kinds of Categories (Several of A’s categories are notoriouslyambiguous)

  11. The Most Important Category • Which category is essential? • SUBSTANCE • After Socrates died, was he still human? • If the bat is cut lengthwise four ways, it’s no longer a bat • If an eye can’t see, it is an eye in name only

  12. You actually exist You potentially Are a graduate of CLC This would be an alteration Could move to Hawaii This would be a locomotion Could grow an inch This would be an augmentation Could get hit by a bus This would be a corruption Could be born again This would be a generation 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 Your entelechy (final form) is Ephesians 4:13 Romans 8:29 Romans 12:2 God is Pure Form All actuality No potentiality Only God Never Changes POTENTIALITY ACTUALITY

  13. You Change Because You’re Matter • You are a substance made of matter • A particular object • You can change • You cannot be in other objects • You have causal power (Note: I am really not much of an Elton John fan)

  14. You Remain the Same Because You’re Matter & Form • You are a substance made of matter & form • You have properties you share with other like substances. These are • Universal • Cannot change • In other objects, too • Not able to cause anything … they just are true

  15. Passive intellect Receives info from the senses Of particular objects Fulfills the function of the mind’s matter Provides a viewing screen for an image (phantasm) Active Intellect Processes the info from the senses or from the reason Fulfills the function of the mind’s form Provides the caption Provides the narrative Links the particular to the universal Intellect: Passiveand Active “A RED BALL!” It won’t survive the death of the body It will survive the death of the body

  16. God, according to Aristotle • Necessary to reality • Unmoved Mover of the Universe • Pure Actuality • Can only think • About himself! • Radically transcendent & wholly “other” • And therefore, unknowable • “Falls short of being philosophically, morally or religiously satisfying” -Nash

  17. Observe humans, and ask, “What do they want?” Wealth Fame Power Health Family Love Pleasure Are any of these the final goal? No, because you can have each one, and still not be happy We seek each one of these in order to be happy Only happiness is sought for itself Happiness is the final, supreme goal Ethics, according to Aristotle (Part 1)

  18. Happiness is Having lived a truly good life Impossible for one to have happiness as a young person Only possible by reflecting back on the life one has lived Did I live well? Did I live rightly? If happiness is the destination, virtue is the road How to be, not how to act Character, not rules, is to be Taught through the family and through the state Formed by habit The Golden Mean Somewhere in between the extremes of excess and deficiency The Paradox of Hedonism Ethics, according to Aristotle (Part 2)

  19. According to the Bible, What are God’s essential properties? Omnipotence Omnipresence Omniscience Eternality Sinlessness __ If God lost even one of these, God wouldn’t be God Do humans have these essential properties? NO Then, how could Jesus Christ be both man and God? Let’s think about this Properties and the Incarnation, Part 1

  20. What are a human’s essential properties? Having a capacity to reason Having a capacity to experience emotions Having a capacity to choose ________ If a human lost even one of these, he wouldn’t be human What are some common properties of humans? Born on Earth Having two legs Lacking omniscience Lacking omnipresence Sinful These aren’t essential, however They are accidental and non-essential Properties and the Incarnation, Part 2

  21. A person can be fully human only if he possesses all the essential properties A person is merely human only if he possesses all the essential properties … PLUS some additional limiting properties __________ is merely human. Jesus is FULLY human … Without being merely human If we understand that a human’s essential properties exclude those which are limiting properties … The Incarnation makes a lot more sense Properties and the Incarnation, Part 3

  22. P: The Ideal is Reality The Ideal exists apart from particular things In a separate place: the Realm of the Forms A: The Ideal is Reality The Ideal exists in particular things Hence, no need for a separate Realm of the Forms PLATO and ARISTOTLE - I TRANSCENDENCE IMMANENCE

  23. A: Senses tell us something of the Ideal Use them, along with Reason & Intuition P: Senses tell us only of particular things Don’t rely on them Rely solely on Reason & Intuition PLATO and ARISTOTLE - II

  24. P & A: Reality is Fully Knowable Fully Good P: Emphasizes Being, to explain Reality A: Emphasizes Becoming, to explain Reality Future philosophers will attempt to combine the best of Plato’s worldview with the best of Aristotle’s worldview None of them will reject Plato for Aristotle Aristotle for Plato PLATO and ARISTOTLE - III