At the same time, he suggested that the we gain less pleasure from attaining our goals than from exercising the abilities through which we achieve them Lazarus, p.
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Among the distinctions Aristotle made was that between the potential and the actual. Potential refers to the possibilities open to us. Actual is what we are.
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It is only a small step from there to Jean-Paul Sartre's distinction between an attribute and an action. Aristotle also reflected on the nature of causality --the "why-because" connection. He distinguished among "material, efficient, formal, and final" causes.
Meditations Of Global First Philosophy: Quest For The Missing Grammar Of Logos
The first three explain events in terms aof antecedent and concommitant conditions variables. Aristotle's innovation was to add the fourth, or "final" cause, the end which an act is meant to serve.
In Aristotle's view, our physical nature is composed of matter, but our essence, the soul, is something which gradually comes into being through the course of our development. Unlike Plato, he was not convinced that it survived the body's death. He is said to have distinguished among the "nutritive soul," common to all living beings, the "sensitive soul," common to animals and humans, and the "rational soul," found only in human beings. Each person and each species strives to actualize its own potential.
Shades of Kurt Goldstein's and Abraham Maslow's "self-actualization"! In successive stages of evolution, which is a striving upward toward rationality, more and more potentialities become actual. Aristotle might well be called the father of biology, for he collected an immense number of specimens and drew up the basic lines of biological classifications. This project led Aristotle to develop a large number of mutually exclusive categories, and each specimen one or another of these.
A pitfall which is sometimes associated with this tendency to classify is probably as old as human thought itself. A person or thing is either this or that, edible or poisonous, friend or enemy. This is an extension of the dualistic thinking in which we conceive of two categories, and mentally put everything into either one or the other. Twentieth-Century General Semanticists christened this approach "Aristotelian Logic," which they contrasted with "non-Aristotelian Logic" or "null-A" in which a thing can occupy more than one category at once.
The pervasiveness of being several-things-at-the-same-time in the natural world is reflected in the ancient Chinese yin-yang symbol, which has a white dot in the middle of the black side and a black dot in the middle of the white side. Mathematical set theory shows this quite clearly.
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If we draw two non-overlapping circles on a page circle A and circle B , and fill them with dots, then we have mutually exclusive categories in which each dot is either an A or a B but not both. But if the circles overlap, there is an area AB which is part of both, and each of the dots in it is an AB dot. Add yet a third circle which overlaps both the others, and we have area ABC with dots which partake of the properties of all three circles.
This depicts the basis of non-Aristotelian logic, which, as it happens, includes most of the events of interest to psychologists. Emotions, for example, usually come in clusters, such as pain and anger and grief and jealousy all mixed up together. A great deal of confusion, and wasted time and effort, has resulted from trying to divide things into this or that when in fact they are both --or all-- at once.
Set Theory supplements Asian philosophy in providing a basis for a non-dualistic logic. In reality, Aristotle himself appears to have been much more openminded and pragmatic than the term "Aristotelian Logic" would suggest. He was not, of course, right about everything. He claimed that to be fully worthy of honor, a person must be well-endowed wth the conventional goods or values of fortune, such as good birth, power, wealth, and a large body too bad for midgets and many world-class gymnasts and figure-skaters , that falling rocks accelerate because they are happy to be getting home, and that snakes have no testacles because they have no legs.
Nonetheless, Artistotle enriched and systematized the knowledge of his time in almost all the sciences of nature. The volume of research carried out at the well-funded Lyceum was enormous. Perhaps Aristotle's greatest contribution was in combining detailed systematic observation with careful reasoning, both inductive and deductive. He began science as we know it.
Hellenic Greece was an era of small city states marked by a combination of a fierce individualism and an equally fierce commitment to the local polis. Like Buddha with his "Golden Mean," Aristotle held that finding a balance between extremes is an important part of wisdom. The Athenians had trouble finding that balance and it contributed to their unwillingness to make peace with Sparta and to their ultimate defeat, just as it contributed to the collective defeat of the individualistic city-states at the hands of Alexander's disciplined Macedonian army.
By the time Alexander the Great died in , Greece had entered a different era. During the Hellenistic Period, Greeks continued to fan outward from the denuded hills and exhausted soils of the Greek peninsula and islands to colonies all around the border of the Mediterranean, carrying their ideas and culture with them. The Romans In philosophy, literature, science, art, and education, Greece remained the most compelling cultural force in the ancient world.
As the Roman poet Horace noted, the Greeks, captive, took the victors captive. During the Hellenistic period, philosopy changed with the changing world. Aristotle's expansion and classification of the sciences had done much to separate science from philosophy. As a consequence, the Hellenistic schools strove "less from the passion to comprehend the world in its mystery and magnitude, and more from the need to give human beings some stable belief system and inner peace" in the face of an environment that was at once more chaotic, more cosmopolitan, and frequently more hostile Tarnas Alexander's belief that a universal humanity united everyone became more prominent, while at the same time, citizens' control over their political destiny was largely lost, first to Alexander's empire and then to Rome.
There was little opportunity in these empires for most people to be politically active, influential, and responsible, hence little room for political philosophy. But there was an increasing awareness of individuality, especially in art and literature. Philosophy took a humanistic turn as people began to scrutinize human nature for laws to guide their actions, rather than looking to custom or the gods for an objective notion of the "right.
The school which which ultimately may have contributed most to the development of modern science was that of the Skeptics. In the end, Plato and Aristotle had agreed on very little except the possibility of arriving at ultimate truth.
2. Philosophy, Philosophers, and Rhetoric
At the Lyceum under Aristotle's student Theophrastus, the Peripatetics turned more and more to specialized studies in botany, zoology, history, and biography. But Athens was growing poor, and not long after Theophrastus died, the center of scientific inquiry shifted to the thriving new Egyptian city founded by Alexander which he had named, of course, Alexandria.
Meanwhile, at Plato's Academy, as interest turned to mathematics and morals, metaphysics languished. Around B. He studied in India and then returned to Elis, his birthplace, to teach philosophy. Phyrro was the first of the Skeptics, after the Greek term skeptikos, which meant "inquirers. Skepticism promoted a suspension of all belief.www.belogorie.by/modules/suspense/dys-origin-the-konrathkilborn.php
Philo of Alexandria
A philosophical skeptic examines alleged achievements in various fields to see if those who claim to know something really know what they claim to know. Some skeptics claimed that no knowledge beyond immediate experience is possible, while others doubted that even immediate experience is a fully reliable guide to truth. Phyrro took the latter tack. He maintained that we cannot find truth through the senses because they distort the object as we perceive it. Nor can we find it through reason, because we use our reason to deceive ourselves in the service of our desires.
He was unerringly accurate on that point. I have listened to people well-trained in critical thinking bend every rule of logic in order to reach conclusions which fit their emotional biases.
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Therefore, held Phyrro, we cannot be certain about anything, and therefore the wise person will pursue peace of mind rather than truth. Thus Phyrro managed the neat trick of setting himself against the almost opposite teachings of Aristotle and Plato at the same time, and of simultaneously honoring and contradicting the heritage of Socrates. Phyrro pointed out that the same experience can be pleasant or unpleasant depending on our mood and state of mind, and that the same event can seem ugly or beautiful, or moral or immoral, depending on our point of view.
Even an object can seem large or small, depending on the context. Here he and the Sophists are on common ground. India has one set of Gods and Greece another, and who can say which are real, if either? He went on to state that "every reason has a corresponding reason opposed to it" but saw little ground to prefer one reason over another. He took on conventional logic: "Every syllogism begs the question, for its major premise assumes its conclusion.
One of its members, Arcesilaus, declared, "Nothing is certain, not even that. Since in Phyrro's view all theories are false, he found no rational grounds to prefer one course of action over another.