Aristotle 4th CENTURY BC
Aristotle & Socrates Can you guess who is who and why?
Aristotle • Aristotle’s basic question as he put it, was • ‘The question asked a long time ago, and is being asked now and it remains a difficult one is this: ‘What is that which exists?’ • What do you think he was trying to find out with this question?
Aristotle His first and most important conclusion was that things are not simply the material from which they are made. • What do you understand this to mean?
Aristotle • Example of the house (used by Aristotle himself) • If you ask a builder to build a house in your field, and as soon as his trucks unload the bricks, the tiles, thewood etc, he turns around and tells you – here is your house- you will surely think he is making a joke. There you will have all the material from which a house is made BUT those by themselves DO NOT ever MAKE UP A HOUSE .In order for all that to become a house, somebody has to put them together in a very structured and detailed building and based on that form which he will give them, they will be the house. • Of course the house could be made by different material. What makes a house what it is , is the form and the structure the builder gives it
Aristotle • His greatest example for this idea are the people • Take for example Socrates, Aristotle says… • What do you think he said about Socrates based on the previous example he gave with the house?
Aristotle • Socrates is made up of a substance that is changing every day and every few years changes completely, however in all the duration of his life, he continues to be Socrates. • So it is impossible to suggest that Socrates is the substance from which his body is made, since that substance keeps changing • Aristotle takes this principle and stretches it to all the things that exist out there. Dogs. We do not call Dogs – Dogs because of a special substance that makes a dog. A dog is a dog based on a well organized structure and form which dogs share with other animals we eventually call dogs. This form and structure is what differentiates them from other animals also made from the same substances.
Aristotle • These arguments by Aristotle which come against a basic form of materialism could never be substantially contradicted. • Aristotle has proved that ‘a thing is what it is based on its form/structure’ • If you were a philosopher what do you think would be the next question that should follow this argument by Aristotle. What would you need to know?
Aristotle What is the ‘form/structure’ of something?
Aristotle • Aristotle attempted to answer this question by examining things deeply. He concluded that: • the real meaning of any thing that exists is not in its matter (by which it is made) but in its function – what it was made to do • Aristotle presented the opposite of what Plato was teaching. Plato was pointing to something very abstract. The real meaning of things is found in a world of ideas, outside and beyond the world we live in, beyond time and space. • Aristotle was pointing to the fact that if you are to make sense of the world then you need to think of the world we live in and only that.
Aristotle What did we learn today about Aristotle?
Aristotle’s quotes – what do you understand of these? • For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them • It is easy to fly into a passion... anybody can do that, but to be angry with the right person to the right extent and at the right time and in the right way that is not easy. • it is better to rise from life as from a banquet -- neither thirsty nor drunken. • The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.