Saturday, April 15, 2017

Alexander, The Roman Empire and Philosophy

(Originally written November 9, 2006)

Chapter 8 - The Late Classical Period: Political and Cultural Change

Plato and Aristotle were the zenith of classical thought; but, six centuries passed before the cultural revolution of Christianity.

Alexander united Greece and believed in racial homogeneity to create cultural homogeneity. Cultural homogeneity was to lead to political stability.

Despite Alexander's success at unifying a large portion of the world his empire collapsed at his death.

The Rise of Rome

Rome began to conquer the world and introduced a new conception of citizenship. Every conquered people was afforded citizenship of Rome (at first).

Rome moved from kingship to aristocracy to democratically elected officials.

Then the Roman public demanded a written code of laws. They copied it from the Athenians.

Greece became a part of the Roman Empire after the razing of Carthage in 146 BC.

The expansion and wealth of Rome gradually changed the empire.

The boom of slaves in Rome transformed the empire form rural to urban.

The Birth of the Empire

The rich became richer; the poor became poorer; and, the social degeneration of the lower class caused an examination of a political problem of Rome.

How could a city state government rule an empire?

Caesar emerged with ultimate power and yet retained the lover of the people.

The Hellenization of the world was first done by Alexandr; but, Rome furthered it.

The massive size of the empire caused men's values to inevitably change.

Despite all this change the influence of Plato and Aristotle remained a heavy one.

Philosophical Schools in the Empire

The Romans took up an interest in Philosophy in the second century B.C.

There were five main schools at this time

1) The Academics (Platonism)
2) The Peripatetics (Aristotelian)
3) The Epicureans
4) The Stoics
5) The Skeptics

Notes on Aristotle's Politics and Aesthetics

(Originally written November 9, 2006)

Aristotle

Political Theory

The good life can only be realized in a community because contemplation is best when it occurs between friends of virtue.

Aristotle held that the best community must be a small, city-state.

The small city-state must be ruled by an elite class and have a large slave population.

"Man is by nature a political animal" (289)

Aristotle disagreed with the Sophist notion that man is sufficient to himself, maintaining he must live in a polis (city-state) to achieve the good life.

Aristotle differed from Plato in his description of the best government. Plato focused on the ideal state; whereas, Aristotle focused on the best state in a given situation.

Classifications of States

One Ruler - True Form (Monarchy), Perverted Form (Tyranny)
Few Rulers - True Form (Aristocracy), Perverted Form (Oligarchy)
Many Rulers - True Form (Polity), Perverted Form (Democracy)

Absolute Monarchy is the true ideal state, but its perversion, absolute tyranny is the worst state possible.

Aristotle was a political realist; whereas Plato was a political idealist.

Aristotle held aristocracy to be a good government, but the risk of it being perverted into an oligarchy is too great for it to be a viable form of government.

Oligarchy's selfish nature makes it a bad government.

Democracy is the perversion of polity.

Polity is the rule by many in the interest of the state as a whole. Democracy was the rule by the many in the interest of the many, but not the whole.

Polity is a mean between oligarchy and democracy.

Aristotle studied historical Greek government to arrive at his conclusion.

1) Kingship is ideally the best
2) Aristocracy is ideally the second best
3) Polity is ideally the third best
4) Democracy is the least worst actual government
5) Oligarchy is the second worst actual government
6) Tyranny is the worst actual government

Aristotle felt that most ideal governments were impossible or unlikely to be founded, so he focused on the governments most likely to occur.

The Rule of Law

Aristotle held that the power of the government should lie in the hands of the middle class, except in extraordinary circumstances.

But, Aristotle held that a law should be written to govern the people in most situations, regardless of who held the power.

Aristotle advocated for checks and balances in government so that one group of people did not gain all the advantages.

Aristotle's view of Citizenship

Only those with the best potential should be afforded citizenship.

Women and slaves were excluded by Aristotle because they lacked talent.

Laborers and mechanics were excluded because they lacked the leisure time to obtain the good life.

The Problem of Slavery

Aristotle held that men were naturally unequal so his morals were not hurt by his advocacy of slavery.

"A slave is an instrument who makes possible the leisure without which no man can live well" (301).

Slaves can understand, but they can't reason. They lack cognitive power to achieve true happiness.

Aristotle's argument is troubled because even if it is granted that some men are born slaves and other born masters, it does not follow that who is a master and who is a slave in reality are in the right position.

Another problem is that a slave may not have been born a slave, but after a life of slavery he/she has become only suited to be a slave. It has nothing to do with nature, only the nurture.

Aristotle confused the value of intellectual or cultural excellence and the value of personality.

Kant put it well when he said that all men should be treated as an end and never as a means.

Manual for Anti-Revolutionists

Aristotle was normally guided by practical and not utopian ideals.

Aristotle laid out matter-of-fact ways for any state to avoid revolution because revolution in any state was not conducive to the good life.

Theory of Art

Aristotle held that our enjoyment of art comes from basic characteristics of human nature.

Aristotle and Plato believed art to be cognitive.

Art performed a very important function in Aristotle.

Poetry was the mean between of history and science. It provided both universals and particulars.

Aristotle held that the emotive quality of art was that it quiets the passions of men.

Evaluation of Aristotle's Philosophy

The most impressive aspect of Aristotle's philosophy is the "power of the system".

Aristotle's philosophy is unifying as a whole: physical, social world, inner moral aspects, and esthetic life are all brought under the "matter and form" concept.

Form and matter is problematic for Aristotle because it seems to be either vague or inexplicable.

Aristotle's method breaks down in physics. His method was empirical; today's method is mathematical. His philosophy of science was teleological; today's model is mechanistic.

Another place his method breaks down in religious experience. Matter-form wasn't the problem here (St. Thomas used it quite well) but Aristotle's lack of appreciation for religion was.

Plato was whimsical and ironic; Aristotle was matter-of-fact.

Plato and Aristotle can complement rather than contradict one another. They were a connected effort to solve the central problem of Greek culture. These problems have persisted throughout Western Culture, even to today.

Zazie in the Metro - First Reading

Zazie in the Metro was the fifth book I've read of Queneau. On GoodReads I gave one five stars (The Flight of Icarus); three I gave four stars, (We Always Treat Women too Well, The Blue Flowers and Exercises in Style); Zazie, I gave only three. As mentioned elsewhere, I love Queneau's rambling works as they meander through side streets of his work only to find themselves in the last paragraph to come to a tidy, if somewhat random ending. Somehow, improbably all the loose ends are tied up or at least left me to feel like they were not worth exploring any more in the stories I gave four stars or more. Exercises in Style wasn't one of them - it's four star rating was based on pure wordplay alone.

Queneau wrote in French. Je suis désole je ne parle pas français. (Thanks google). Obviously, I'm reading the translations and thus, I find it odd that the wordplay is one of the pillars as to why I love Queneau's work. But, he explores language so well (and his translators are very intent on bringing that out in the translations) that even one pace removed from him I feel his message coming through loud and clear. "Howcanaystinksotho, wondered Gabriel" is how the novel opens. The colloquialisms and text written to mirror dialect, slang and speech as written word is fascinating to read. Exercises in Style is delving directly into this process over and over and over again. Zazie wades Queneau's toes into the water while dunking us in upside down. It's that dunking that makes Zazie enjoyable. Unfortunately, I found the story lacking.

I read somewhere on GoodReads somebody who has similar books read as I do reviewed either The Blue Flowers or We Always Treat Women Too Well as something that needn't have been translated to English. He waxed poetic about Zazie, but said one of the aforementioned titles was a lackluster work not worthy of translation to English by an otherwise fantastic author. I wholeheartedly disagree - but, I titled this blog post as Zazie In The Metro - First Reading as the First Reading for a reason...

We Always Treat Women Too Well

I really enjoy Raymond Queneau and We Always Treat Women Too Well is no exception. I gave it four stars on GoodReads, noting, "Not my favorite Queneau book; but, it has all the familiar trappings of his work. I love his style and the way he plays with words. The humor and absurdity is good and his pace is astounding to behold. As I said before, it's not my favorite one of his so far (The Flight of Icarus), but it's still an enjoyable read".

It's such a farce of a pulp novel that if you had never read Queneua you might've never known that it was satirizing the genre, while celebrating it. It's basically a play on Stockholm Syndrome where the captured woman turns the tables on her captors (the IRA). Sex plays a big part in the book and there are some disturbing imagery. But, much of it is done in the shroud of absurd humor. I like the absurdity and I find it fascinating to read. I think Queneau's pace is really good to read and in this one, like in The Flight of Icarus and The Blue Flowers all the weirdness gets wrapped up rather quickly into a neat little, albeit confusing, ending. Zazie In The Metro, one of Queneau's more celebrated novels doesn't wrap up as well as the other three mentioned in this post. It's probably why I didn't rate it as highly as his others.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Aristotle's Ethics

(Originally written November 7, 2006)

"The First Entry as a Married Man"

Animal Drives and Practical Reason

Man is a shining and behaving animal. Aristotle looked for a psychological basis for human behavior.

Like Aristotle's conception of thought/soul he believes there is a gradual hierarchy of behavior.

Appetite

Animal's souls have two faculties:
1)Discrimination: thought and sense
2) Local movement

Movement in lower animals is less articulate than that of higher animals.

Motion in lower animals is reactive to a sense object. It is a forward motion toward an object of desire and a backward motion in avoidance of an object.

Lower animal's motion is instinctive and not thought through very much.

Lower animals identify the good as identical with pleasure and the bad as identical with pain.

Lower animals are solely concerned with immediate sensation.

Human behavior is much more complex than animal behavior.

Man distinguishes between a real good and an apparent good.

In humans, pleasure is good, but not synonymous with good.

Man is not solely concerned with immediate sensations.

Aristotle claimed that despite the major differences between human and animal behavior, the process was basically the same.

Animal behavior is dependent upon the existence of the sensitive soul, which perceives and remembers perceptions.

Animal behavior gradually becomes human behavior through cognitive processes. Thus, rudimentary universals of animals become the true universals of man's scientific knowledge.

Man's cognitive capabilities gives him alternatives. Animals do not have a choice, thus they face no problem with choice. Man must have a criteria to evaluate alternatives, thus they need to study ethics.

Ethics

"Ethics is the science of conduct corresponding to logic" (Jones, 259). It seeks to develop norms for evaluating judgments.

Ethics is based on anthropology, which collects empirical data of judgments.

Ethics aims to ascertain what the good really is.

Ethics is not a precise science.

Geometry was the model of precise science for Aristotle.

Ethics is based on opinions and thus its conclusions can never be definite and certain.

Plato held that opinion should always be replaced by truth. Aristotle held that ethics was based on opinion.

Aristotle held that all science was partially based on opinion. Every other scientists opinion served as a basis for scientific knowledge.

Skepticisms arises out of the idea that there is  radical schism between what the mind perceives and what exists in reality. Aristotle claimed that perception resembled reality.

Ethics is a science and differs from other sciences only because it is not precise. It also differs from tother science because it aims to change. Ethics asks "what is the good" and "how can I be good".

Ethics is tied to psychology because:
1) Ethics grows out of choice
2) The good is the good for man and can only be discovered once man has been defined and understood.
3) Psychological insights will produce knowledge of good behavior

Aristotle held that there is one ultimate end for man. The ultimate end is happiness. The problem was what exactly happiness was.

The Good

Happiness is the end for man. But people disagree what happiness is.

Most men, the vulgar type, identify happiness with pleasure.

Some men, of a higher type, identify happiness with honor. But this is too superficial.

Money-making is not happiness because money is made as a means, not an end.

"Especially as we are philosophers or lovers of wisdom; for while both are dear, piety requires us to honor truth above our friends" (Jones, 263).

Goods sought for other goods are not the Good. The Good is one which is pursued for its own sake. The Good is the ultimate end.

Happiness is the final end and thus, The Good. Honor, pleasure, reason and every virtue are pursued as a means to happiness.

"Happiness, then, is something final and self-sufficient, and is the end of action" (Jones, 264).

Aristotle's worldview was very unified and harmonious. Our worldview today is very split. Metaphysics, the unifying science is almost nonexistent today.

Happiness, function and Form

Every individual is a composite of form and matter.

Anything is happy to the extent that is what performing the function. Things are happy in so much that  they are actualizing their form, it was designed for by nature or art.

For Aristotle, finding how any thing can be happy basically boils down to discovering what that thing's function was.

Aristotle viewed ethics as cognitive, not emotive. Ethical judgments are statements about facts, not mere expressions of an individual's approval or disapproval.

Pleasure is a short range, immediate sensation. Pleasure is synonymous with the good (happiness) in things with only sensitive souls. Things with rational souls or mind have choices, thus pleasure is not happiness or the end. For man, who has a rational soul, there are choices. Thus, a short-range thing, such as pleasure, cannot be the good or happiness.

Happiness is long-range and more complete than pleasure.

Practical Reason

What is the end of man? "It is life in accordance with arational principle" (Jones, 267). What does that mean?

Aristotle distinguishes between:
1) Reason as a cognitive faculty
2) Reason as a practical faculty

There are two powers in every man:
1) one that understands the world
2) one that desires and acts in accordance with one that understands the world.

Two types of virtue:
1) Intellectual virtues
2) moral virtues

Two types of wisdom:
1) Philosophical wisdom/understanding
2) Practical wisdom/intellectual

Ethics is concerned with practical knowledge not theoretical.

Destruction in everything comes by either excess or defect, thus the mean preserves it.

Virtue is the mean in Aristotle, which is merely a restating of the Ancient Greek notion of "sophrosyne" (moderation)

Examples of the mean as virtue:
1) Courage is the mean of cowardice and foolhardiness
2) Pride is the mean of vanity and humility

Ethical ideals:

Ethics was to be relative to men's opinions. Thus Aristotle concentrates on Greek life at the time he lived and that is why it doesn't always fit with 20th century America.

The Doctrine of the Mean

Aristotle put virtues in situational contexts. The mean is the rightness between two-extremes in any given setting.

Aristotle maintained that there is a "right-relative-to-me, a good-for-me-now-in-this-set of conditions" (Jones, 273).

Virtues are variable and objective in Aristotle's theory.

The mean or virtue is stable and the psuedovirtues, which look like the virtue externally, are unstable.

A man's character is his potential that has been actualized consistently to a point that it is his nature to be "x" or to do "x". Anytime a courageous man acts in a fearful way or a fearful man acts in a courageous way they act out of their character.

Responsibility:

Aristotle distinguishes between:
1) Voluntary acts - those which are in accordance to their character
2) Involuntary acts - those which are not in accordance to their character

Acts can be voluntary (acts for which men are responsible) or involuntary (acts for which men are not responsible). Involuntary acts can be mixed (acts done from fear of great evil), compulsory and out of ignorance.

"When is a man not to be held responsible?" is asked as "when is a man not to be ashamed of his actions" because a good man will feel ashamed of bad acts.

Voluntary Acts are:
1) Those that originate in the agent
2) those that arise when the agent knows the relevant circumstances

Plato held that knowledge is virtue and that no one sins knowingly

Incontinence

Incontinence is solely a human phenomena.

Aristotle held that incontinence is not a duty breech, but a breech against one's own self because it leads to unhappiness in the long-term.

Incontinence is sinning willingly/knowingly. It is knowing what is right and acting contra to it.

Incontinent men prefer short-term gratification to any long-term happiness.

For Aristotle, morality has a natural, not a supernatural or transcendental basis. It comes from the fact that man is a rational animal.

Aristotle maintains that because man is a rational animal he must satisfy bodily needs but agrees with Plato that the activities of reason are qualitatively different and superior to acts of the body.

The intellectual virtues:

Intellect (reason in pursuit of truth) is proper to man.

Aristotle holds there are five levels at which the soul possess truth:
1) scientific knowledge
2) art
3) practical wisdom
4) intuitive reason
5) philosophical reason

Each of these is its own virtue.

Art was a state concerned with making, involving a true course of reasoning. It included architecture, technology, engineering, etc. for Aristotle.

Contemplation is perfect Happiness

Happiness is what we experience when we are living at our best and fullest.

Man's happiness will be at its best and fullest when he partakes in the best and fullest activity.

Contemplation was the best activity for man according to Aristotle.

Therefore, man is happiest in contemplation.

The life of contemplation is the supreme good for man.

Wealth, leisure time, natural ability were all parts of happiness because they are needed for the contemplative life.

Transition from Ethics to Politics

No man is sufficient to himself.

Man cannot live well outside of a community.

Aristotle distinguishes between three types of friendships:
1) Utility
2) Pleasure
3) Virtue

The best contemplation is that which is shared in virtuous friendships.


Four Causes of Aristotle and his conception of the soul

(Originally written November 2, 2006)

The Classical Mind
W.T. Jones

Chapter 6 - Aristotle: Metaphysics, Natural Science and Logic

Change

Change is a puzzle because it seems to involve a contradiction.

Aristotle's predecessors wrestled unsuccessfully with the paradox of change. Plato did not solve the puzzle and admitted that it was a mystery.

Aristotle's conception of form and matter made change possible to articulate through reason: form changes, but matter remains consistent.

Development in a systematic change. It is a succession of small changes following a pattern toward a specific end.

Development also solves the problem of the one and the many. The purpose or end of a thing unifies the many (stages of development) into a single thing.

Aristotle's Four Causes

The form is the end of anything. Like Plato, Aristotle believed that understand a form would shed light on a thing. But, for different reasons.

The function of a thing was its 'final cause'. It was a part of a thing's nature, but not the totality of it.

4 Causes:
1. Final Cause
2. Material Cause
3. Formal Cause
4. Efficient Cause

To understand anything, Aristotle claimed we must know four aspects of any individual thing:
1) The material it is composed of (material cause)
2) The motion or action that began it (efficient cause)
3) The function or purpose for which it exists (final cause)
4) The form it actualizes and by which it fulfills its purpose (the formal cause)

Today, scientists are only interested in one of the Aristotelian causes: The efficient cause

Aristotle agreed with Plato that the universe is a relational structure and that every individual thing it can be known only by transcending that thing and seeing its relation to everything else in the universe.

They both agreed that complete knowledge is impossible.

Natural Science

Aristotle called nature that which is sensible. Perceptible objects compose nature.

Nature is not identical with the sensible world.

Artifacts are man-man objects that are not "nature.

Nature - the totality of sensible objects capable of spontaneous change

From Book II of Physics
-Some things exist by nature, other by causes
-Nature consist of things with an innate impulse to change
-"Nature is a source or cause of being moved and being at rest in that to which it belongs primarily" (Jones, 227-228).

Natural science is concerned with the changes of natural objects. Every change is the fulfillment of some potentiality.

Types of changes:
1. Qualitative change (i.e. cold - hot)
2. Quantitative change - increase/decrease in amount
3. Locomotive change - chasing of place
4. Substantial change - substance comes into or passes out of being.

Motion is eternal

Aristotle effectively dealt with arguments that denied the eternality of motion.

Despite claiming the eternality of motion, Aristotle claims there must necessarily be an unmoved mover.

There is a first principle because the is neither an infinite series of motions or an infinite variety of kinds.

The Unmoved Mover

An eternal motion must have an eternal cause.

Original motion must be a change of place. Quantitative change (increase/decrease) involves change of place. Qualitative change also involves a change of place.

An eternal mover will cause an eternal locomotion. This motion must be circular.

The unmoved mover is pure actuality.

The unmoved mover is always thinking and understanding. The unmoved mover thinks of himself. His knowledge is immediate and complete self-consciousness.

The unmoved mover is called 'god' by Aristotle. This does not have any (or very few) religious implications.

There is no divine providence in Aristotle's conception of god.

God is a metaphysical necessity for Aristotle. This god is not an object of worship. It is transcendent and remote.

Astronomy and Physics

Geocentric, the earth is stationary.

The universe is made of concentric spheres.

Each element: fire, air, water and earth has its own natural place and natural motion.

The four elements are the material causes of physical things.

The formal cause of any particular thing is the structure into which its material factor is organized.

Biology - Psychology

Aristotle's Empiricism: Aristotle's empiricism was a correction of the rationalist tendency of the Ancient Greeks.

The Greek neglect of experimentation even in Aristotle is one of the key differences between Modern and Greek science.

Aristotle's psychology was based on biology.

The "psyche" was his word for soul. Psyche is the form of a living object.

Psychology: It's method and scope

What is soul? The body cannot be soul. The soul is the form of the body. Body = actuality; Soul = potentiality.

Powers of soul:
-nutritive
-appetitive
-sensory
-locomotive
-power of thinking

Plants have the nutritive soul. Animals have the nutritive and sensory soul.

Anything with sensory powers must have the appetitive soul. Appetite - desire, passion and wish.

The power of thinking is for man and any other being higher than man.

The Nutritive Psyche:

The Nutritive Psyche makes the potential actual. It is the simplest soul and that which all other psyches are built upon.

The function of the nutritive psyche is to sustain life, to keep the body alive.

The sensitive Psyche:

The sensitive soul is the type of the soul that exists at the animal level.

Sense experience is brought into actuality in perception.

Perception is a dual actualization
1) An actualization of the object as an object of perception
2) An actualization of the sense organ as the preceptor

The sensitive psyche involves something like consciousness

Aristotle distinguishes between:
1) Physiological change
2) Perception

Aristotle is a realist, so the difference between physiological change and perception is purely psychological consideration.

The Rational Psyche

Man has a combined soul of nutritive, sensitive and rational psyches.

Man's perception is different than animals because of the involvement of the rational psyche.

Memory and the nursing of it to the here-and-now experience allows man's cognition to take place. It allows men to recognize universals from particulars.

Thought is rooted in experience for Aristotle.

Thought is the form of forms, as the tool  of tools is the hand.

Thought is divided into two categories:
1. Unanalyzable wholes
2. Prior Synthesis

Logic

Aristotle invented formal logic.

Aristotle distinguished between truth and validity.

Truth is a characteristic of individual propositions.

Validity is the logical relationship between multiple propositions.

A syllogism is two premises and a logically derived conclusion.

Limitations of Aristotle's logic

Aristotle's logic covers a relatively small part of reasoning

Quick Notes before an Aristotle Test

(Originally written November 2, 2006)

OK. So, I haven't really done any reading here for this second test. It's in four hours. God please help me!

Aristotle

Ch. 6 - Aristotle: Metaphysics, Natural Science, Logic

Life

Aristotle was born in 384 BC in Stagira in Thrace.

He went to Plato's Academy in Athens at age seventeen. He was at the academy for twenty years.

His earliest works were very Platonic. He gradually reformulated Plato's theory through his life.

Aristotle's primary interest was:
1. To affirm the existence of a public and knowable reality
2. What is the good life for man?

After leaving the Academy Aristotle became a tutor for the young Alexander the Great.

Alexander's creation of the world empire and intermixing Greeks and Orientals ran directly counter to Aristotle's teachings.

But, Alexander always shipped exotic flora back to Aristotle from wherever he was so Aristotle could classify it.

Aristotle returned to Athens and established his own school, the Lyceum, around 335 BC.

Aristotle's works were most likely produced during his time at the Lyceum. The reason for their odd structure and choppy nature is unknown. One plausible explanation for this could be that they Aristotle's lecture notes.

When Alexander died, the anti-Macedonian feeling caused Aristotle to flee from Athens. He died one year later.

Aristotle's Aim

"He wanted to discover what is real" (Jones, 216).

Aristotle rejected the materialist view of reality and Plato's reality of forms.

Aristotle wanted to establish a conception of reality that allowed both values and sense objects to be real. Any satisfactory account of reality had to resolve the problem of change.

The nature of reality

Plato used the term 'form' as equated with reality. Aristotle used the term 'form' in another way.

Plato was a perfectionist, an idealist and was dominated by Utopian ideal. His practical applications wouldn't work because of his idealism and the lack of perfection in the world.

"Plato was otherworldly and idealistic, Aristotle was practical and empirical" (Jones, 218).

Plato was rooted in mathematics; Aristotle was rooted in biology.

Mathematics is perfect, but lifeless. Biology is imperfect, but has life. This caused major differences in conception of reality between Plato and Aristotle.

One's own temperamental basis will determine fi one is more Platonic or Aristotelian. "Those who are moved by Plato's 'lofty idealism' will probably feel that Aristotle by comparison is pedestrian and uninspiring" (Jones, 218). Plato and Aristotle shared some similar positions, but Aristotle was more Platonic than Plato was Aristotelian.

Aristotle's revision of Plato's Forms

Plato held forms to be separate and distinct from particulars; Aristotle held them to be embedded in the particulars.

Aristotle rejected Plato's dualism; he rejected the notion of two distinct worlds. He held there is only this, actual world.

In Aristotle, form is a characteristic of this world. It is distinguishable in the mind, like color or shape, but indistinguishable in fact.

He claimed that holding forms as separate and distinct was a problem of confusing intellectual analysis and ontological status.

Plato's forms are merely abstractions to Aristotle, not the whole of reality.

Individual substances compose reality.

Every given thing, at any given time has two aspects:
1) Whatness - common and shared properties or characteristics (ex. Socrates is what? a man, a greek, etc.)
2) Thingness - makes it a particular thing

Substances have a whiteness and a thingness, "Every individual is a member of a class, but it is also this particular member o its class.

Form and Matter

Generally, every thing has its specific form because of the purpose it is to server or the function it was made to do.

Form is teleological.

Form is the "overall plan of an object" (Jones, 221)

Function Determines Form

A thing's function gives it its unity.

It is a "whole" or  thing rather than an aggregate of characteristics because of its function.

Form - "the purpose, or use, anything serves" (Jones, 221)

Matter - "the possibility of serving a purpose, the possibility of being of use" (Jones, 221).

With these conceptions, Aristotle produces a world view that makes the reality world as "an ordered hierarchy of individuals related to one another in such a way that each individual is at the same time the fulfillment of the purpose inherent in some other individual and the basis for a further development beyond itself" (Jones, 221).

Each individual thing has matter and form. Individually, matter and form are mere abstractions and not the totality of reality.

Whatness - Properties that make it what it is

Thingness - Every individual thing is just this particular thing and not another thing

Substances develop through time. Substances change, but endure. This is the problem of change Aristotle has to deal with.

Matter and form must be looked at as potentiality and actuality.

Take an acorn/oak for example:
1. This particular acorn
2. This particular acorn is different from all other acorns because it is this particular acorn (thingness)
3. But all acorn grow into oak trees (if planted)
4. The form of this acorn is an oak tree because it is its potentiality
5. The acorn's thingness is its matter or material composition. Its form or potential is an oak tree.

For Aristotle each individual thing is itself a life. Life is process.

A form, initially, is merely potentiality. It operates on the existent matter, shaping it and molding it until form moves from potentiality to actuality.

Form is a driving force working towards fulfillment.

"Entelechy" is Aristotle's word for this process. "Growth" is merely the visible result of form at work.

This is the end of Book 10. It may be one of the quickest I have finished yet and an extremely important one.

8/30/06 - 11/02/06

Chris Linehan

(continued in Book 11)