2.3.2 Aristotle [384-322 Bce]

Aristotle's Problems: Plato's system had difficulties and inconsistencies to be overcome; it was left to Aristotle to reconstruct it in a more consistent and scientific manner. First, the problem of transcendent ideas and the degradation of the world of experience to mere appearance and, second, the concept of the secondary Platonic element matter and the gulf between form and matter provided difficulties. Other difficulties: changing forms, immortal souls in human bodies, makeshift nature of the Demiurge.

Aristotle claims the changeless eternal forms but as inherent, immanent in things: form and matter are eternally togetherBecause of his realism, Aristotle studied science sympathetically, his theories always in close touch with it and he encouraged the natural sciences.

2.3.2.1 Extant writings

  1. Logic: Organon includes: Categories, De Interpretationae, Prior and Posterior Analytics [includes induction and the syllogism], Topics, Sophistic Fallacies [Topics are largely concerned with dialectic reasoning]

  2. Natural sciences: Physics [8 books]; On the Heavens [^4]; Origin and Decay [^2]; Meteorology [^4]; Cosmology [spurious], Botany [spurious]; History of Animals [^10]; On the Parts of Animals [^4]; On the Progression of Animals; On the Origin of Animals [^5]; On the Locomotion of Animals [spurious]

  3. Psychology: On the Soul [3, treating sensation, memory, imagination, thought]; Parva Naturalia [including De Memoria et Reminiscentia, On Dreams]

  4. Metaphysics: [^14] "First Philosophy"

  5. Ethics: Nicomachean Ethics [^10] Eudaemian Ethics [revision of Nicomachean by Eudaemas]; Magna Moralia, the Greater Ethics [compilation of the two proceeding]

  6. Politics: [8, apparently incomplete]; On the Constitution of Athens [discovered 1890] [the work on economics attributed to Aristotle is not authentic]

  7. Rhetoric: Rhetoric to Theodectes [based on Aristotle's teachings]; Rhetoric to Alexander [spurious]; Rhetoric [3, the third is of doubtful authenticity], Poetics [part of 2 books extant; concerned with principle forms of literature: epic, tragic, comic]

2.3.2.2 Philosophy and the sciences

The universe is an ideal world, an organic whole of interrelated parts, a system of eternal, unchangeable ideas or forms: these are the ultimate essences and causesideas are, in contrast to Plato, immanent in the world giving it form and lifeexperience is real the basis of knowledge; starting from experience we rise to the science of ultimate principles.

Genuine knowledge is not merely factual but consists in knowing the reasons and causes of things. Philosophy or science in the broad sense is reasoned knowledge. Metaphysics is concerned with being qua being.

Aristotle's classification of sciences: [^1] Logic, the method of inquiry, [^2] theoretical sciences [mathematics, physics, biology, psychology and first philosophy or metaphysics], [^3] practical sciences in which knowledge is a means to conduct [ethics, politics], [^4] productive sciences in which knowledge is subordinate to artistic creation [poetics]

2.3.2.3 Logic

The creation of the science of logic is in a certain sense Aristotle's most amazing achievement [there is no parallel case in intellectual history where a single thinker has brought to completion a new science]. [There have been only two revolts against the Logic in recent times Francis Bacon's advocacy of inductive method and the nineteenth-twentieth century revolution in mathematical logic.]