Presentation on theme: "Aristotle – b. 384 d. 322 BCE Plato’s student at his Academy Wrote on nearly every field Was tutor to Alexander, 342 BCE Founded his own school,"— Presentation transcript:
Aristotle – b. 384 d. 322 BCE Plato’s student at his Academy Wrote on nearly every field Was tutor to Alexander, 342 BCE Founded his own school, the Lyceum in 335 BCE. His classifications and catalogs of plants and animals established principles of botany and zoology.
Aristotle’s ethics Virtue for Aristotle is found in the mean between too little and excess. Drifting too far in either direction can result in injustice. Happiness is good desired for it’s own sake. This makes people unique in their ability to be happy. Happiness is tied to virtue, which he sees as living in accordance with our highest human ability. Moral goodness is from habit. To become virtuous we must act virtuously and learn the behavior.
Aristotle’s ethics The Golden Mean – the middle way between extremes. DeficitVirtueExcess Rashness CourageCowardice HumilityPrideVanity SulkinessFriendlinessObsequiousness
Aristotle’s ethics Aristotle's ideas of virtue and how one comes to possess virtue flow from his views of human beings as natural creatures. Moral virtue comes as a result of habit, from exercising this capacity that we possess. This means that becoming a virtuous person is necessarily linked to performing virtuous acts. Ethics for him is a science as much as is physics or biology For Aristotle, the proper end of a thing is that end to which that thing naturally develops. (ex. acorn)
Plato’s forms recap For Plato the forms are what are truly real. Forms are timeless and separate from this changing and impermanent world. They are that by which we can recognize a thing. Example – Because I know the form of “car” I can recognize a car when I see one, even if I’ve never seen that particular kind before.
Aristotle’s metaphysics For Aristotle the form of an object is very important, but for Aristotle, the real object is the combination of the matter and the form. For Plato, what was real was the Form alone. Note that Aristotle uses some terms differently, he talks about form, but means something different from Plato. Form does not come into being, it is found in another object. It can come into matter, as when a sculptor has the form of the statue in mind and shapes it from the marble. For offspring, the male provides the form and the female provides the matter
Aristotle’s metaphysics For Aristotle, there are three kinds of substance Matter – underlying basis of things Form – makes a given thing what it is Combination of matter and form For Aristotle, there are three kinds of substance Substances are created destroyed as matter gains and loses form. (ex. Aquaman sculpture - bronze is the matter / Aquaman is the form)
Aristotle’s metaphysics As far as Aristotle is concerned, the matter that composes the object is accidental. For instance, if I want a log cabin, I will have one if I build it out of logs. Which logs I build it of is irrelevant in as far as I still have a log cabin. Consider any given animal. The actual matter that makes up that animal changes over time, without affecting whether or not it remains the same creature that it was. It is the form of the animal that makes the animal the same kind of animal as time passes. So for Aristotle, what is essential to an object is the form that it has. That is what makes it the case that it is THAT kind of object, and no other.
Aristotle’s metaphysics Animals and plants have souls, having a soul is what makes you alive. The different types of soul are set up in a hierarchy. The higher levels have the abilities of the lower ones. Rational soul - reason (human beings) Sensitive soul - motion, perception (all animals) Nutritive soul - growing, reproduction (plants) For Aristotle the soul is inseparable from the body, since for a person the soul is the form of the body. No more body, no more soul. Soul isn't much of an identity in the way we think customarily and as Plato would.
Aristotle’s metaphysics Aristotle runs with several different notions of cause. We consider a cause to be some sort of event (cause, thrown ball / effect, broken window) Aristotle considers the 'aition' (the greek word he used) of a thing to be ambiguous, can have multiple meanings.
Aristotle’s metaphysics Aristotle’s four causes. Material - what a thing is made out of Formal - what makes it that thing / what it is to be that sort of thing Efficient - what produces that thing (this one is closest to what we would see as a 'cause') Final - what a thing is for (purpose is not always necessary, could be simply end of developmental stages) Examples - chairs are for sitting on, an acorn's final cause is to be an oak tree
Aristotle’s metaphysics Consider how biologists talk today in terms of evolution (what something is for, developing legs to walk on land... etc.) Aristotle's notion of purpose or end is not spooky or other worldly at all. He's just trying to describe regularities in development. For instance, what sort of thing does this tiger cub wind up being? Answer - an adult tiger. The fact that the final cause of the tiger cub is 'being a male tiger' doesn't have to imply some kind of strange purpose to natural objects.
Aristotle’s metaphysics Consider what use can be made of the sort of distinctions that Aristotle applies difference between the potential and the actual. The seeming impossibility of change. How is it that an acorn changes into an oak tree? Answer - the oak tree is in a sense at least, already in the acorn from the start as the potential to be an oak tree.
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