Matter and Form: From Natural Science to Political Philosophy

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He argues further that, despite Aristotle's rejection of 'kind-crossing' in scientific explanations cf. He also notes, following Bolton, that the metaphysical principle on which these demonstrations are supposed to be based namely, that 'those which are incapable of existing without each other must unite as a pair' is 'dubious' and n. To these points I might add the following concern.

In any event, Johnson should provide a clearer explanation of the way in which his vision is to be carried out, and in particular which texts would yield the view he is propounding. In 'Varieties of definition', Sedley takes up the controversial question of whether or not Aristotle endorses definitions lacking existential import, viz. He argues that even the chapter which allegedly provides the strongest evidence for Aristotle's endorsement of such definitions, viz.

He does so by showing that, on Aristotle's list of definition types in that chapter, the item which appears to stand for 'nominal' definitions in fact coincides with the item standing for 'non-causal' definitions corresponding to the conclusions of deductions. Since Aristotle rejects the existence of void, he should presumably ascribe to it a nominal definition, but in that text he rather presents definitions of void as the conclusions of deductions viz.

And these, Sedley continues, cannot be nominal definitions since, for Aristotle, void is definable because it is in a sense something real. In particular, void is the 'matter, qua such, of the heavy and the light' ; cf. In fact, according to Sedley, any definition which Aristotle accepts turns out to correspond in some way to reality, which is why Aristotle can confidently assert that it is absurd atopon to expect there to be definitions of nonexistent things ; cf. In 'Empty words', Sean Kelsey looks into Aristotle's evaluation of some of his predecessors as propounding empty words.

Kelsey begins by surveying evidence from the ethical works EE I. In their inexperience, resembling that of children, the empty talkers can only pretend to be, or play at, philosophizing, even when they themselves are persuaded by their own pretensions. Finally, Kelsey applies his interpretation of Aristotle's criticism of 'empty talk to various criticisms found in his scientific writings. For instance, the Eleatics, Kelsey says, are criticized by Aristotle for following their arguments up to the point of abandoning the obvious facts about the very reality which these arguments are supposed to explain cf.

In particular, Aristotle appeals to what is reasonable in order to provide an approximate explanation of phenomena for which the empirical evidence is either altogether lacking or insufficient, based on already established scientific principles or on evidence of parallel or analogous cases. However, we might explain away the apparently disorderly motion of the heavens by appealing to what is reasonable to assume about these motions using an analogy with phenomena in the sublunary realm, for which we have much more evidence.

Free Thought Lives

The contributions to this volume open up new and interesting directions in the study of various issues pertaining to Aristotle's natural science e. Indeed, several contributors, including Code, Johansen and Johnson, consciously present their chapters as starting points for such future inquiry.

Readers who are interested in these issues are encouraged to become acquainted with this book. Maybe you should raise your gaze toward the distant horizon. I believe that it is more important that you publish your research than to maximize contemporary impact. Otherwise, science would still be a lot farther from reality.


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In other words — objective reality is being entangled with the system. Those not entangled will not find the objective reality, and the system will appear in superposition. If I am not entangled with the environment, then no matter how the information is spread through the environment and classizied, I am still unable to observe objective reality.

Klaus C. Well, that depends on the metaphysics.

One thing that kept jumping out to me as I read this is how closely connected your assessment of these current trends is to an assessment made a couple of decades ago by the great Bryan Magee — who died a few hours ago, unfortunately — about the inroads made by continental philosophers into English-speaking departments:. The interests of Continental philosophers appear to be parochially confined to human affairs, and even then at a highly superficial level.

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Theory of forms - Wikipedia

In most cases this runs counter to their own larger beliefs; for most of them would agree, I take it, that human beings are a tiny and local phenomenon, a recent arrival on the surface of a planet that is unimaginably small compared with the universe at large; and that even this speck of a planet existed for aeons before humans emerged on it. But they are not interested in trying very hard to understand such matters.

They take what happen to be our local, current and short-term human concerns and treat these as if they were everything. Even then they are more interested in comment than in understanding. All this gives an unmistakably journalistic character to much of their writings. For even if it should be the case, as I think it probably is, that the solutions to such cosmic enigmas as the nature of time and space, and the material objects these seem to contain, have something fundamentally to do with the nature of experiencing subjects, this involves the structural properties of human beings on a far deeper level than that on which these are engaged with by Continental philosophers, who write about humans at the level on which they visit their psychiatrist or go to the cinema, vote, read books and newspapers, or hold forth on cultural, social and political topics—in other words, at a level of ephemeral social concerns.

It has also had an impact on literature departments, and made inroads into departments of psychology, anthropology, sociology and other subjects. In some places a war is going on between counter-balanced factions of Continental and analytic thinkers. Very noticeably, many of the individuals to whom Continental philosophy appeals are among those to whom Marxism once appealed.

Its factions often possess the same sort of gang mentality, and behave in the same unlovely ways—in dead jargon rather than living language, portentously rather than simply, obscurely rather than clearly—and to abandon rational argument for rhetoric.

God, the Divine Mind of the Universe

It actively trains them not to think, and to be bogus; and in doing these things it debauches their minds. I suspect that this came about for a number of reasons. One is that analytic philosophy continued to overcome its limitations, having much more to say about the deeper questions many have always associated with philosophy, so a perennial complaint raised by the continentals lost its force.

Another is that the attractions of political Marxism continued to decline. However, continental thought had a profound influence on the development of academic feminism and Critical Race Theory, and the complaints frequently heard even about a decade ago that continental philosophy was almost devoid of rigor and was perhaps not even a proper part of the discipline were seldom, if ever, directed against those working in feminist philosophy or the philosophy of race.

Aristotle - अरस्तु कौन था ?- Western Thinkers - Philosophy & Political Science optional

I suspect the reasons for this are the obvious ones: taking a position against continental philosophy was seen in most circles as an understandable means to defend the integrity of the discipline, but it was reasonable to fear that a criticism of the methodologies of certain versions of, say, feminist philosophy would be construed as a criticism of the goals of feminism itself, and hence open one up to charges of misogyny.

Moreover, even without the threat of such accusations, feelings of white guilt and male guilt made sustained critiques of such schools of thought much less psychologically appealing. For that reason, I think, what we are seeing now is best understood primarily as the strain of continental philosophy most immune to the natural defenses of analytic philosophy.

Cicero’s Natural Law and Political Philosophy

With it, especially over the past decade, has come a view that one must never criticize a rival understanding of philosophy or call anything non-philosophical: another adaptation, I think, in the same Darwinian struggle for ideological survival and domination. If all that is a roughly correct explanation of the incursion of all this into mainstream metaphysics, epistemology, etc. I find it unfortunate that so much of this — or indeed, any — philosophy is produced without the rigor, including an ordeal through the fires of deeply searching critiques — that is essential for making something genuinely philosophical.

But I continue to hope that these trends within the discipline may be temporary. Excellent comment. One thing to add — I think that one cannot understand the phenomenon of modern feminism without also taking a class-based approach to it. Philosophers in the past certainly had political views, and they usually belonged to the elite in society, which added another layer of cognitive biases.

There were always so few of them and thus they were forced to be their own men as there was barely anyone to be grouped with. Those people are sufficiently many to form a class and a certain mentality to go with it, and that is what indeed happened though it should be noted that the class in question is bigger than just the people working in academia, it is of the salaried educated professionals whose status depends on having educational credentials; this includes much of the finance and high-tech sectors, quite a few governmental and NGO positions, etc.

From then on they align themselves politically with a certain set of positions and mechanisms develop to reinforce that alignment with each other too, at the level of the individual.

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Whose speech and behavior is it going to be policed? The people that will transgress the most are the ones not behaviorally trained into it, and that means the working classes and the poor. Who is staffing those positions? Who, coincidentally, have no good employment options other than that, because they have no useful skills whatsoever. So, naturally, it is not done. Very good insight. From robotization of almost all industry to outsourcing and run away illegal immigration, to now the woke and LBGT agenda, almost all the real changes affect the working and poor class Americans, but the professions are left untouched or probably even benefit as you note , So the professional class that could and should lead, and either resist these meta-changes to society, or at least ensure that the changes occur in a humane way, are on the sidelines silently watching the devastation take place in the larger community.

This argument is at best doubtful and at worst wrong. Political psychology including studies made by Haidt has shown that right-wing are lower than left-wing people on openess to experience, arguably the most important trait for an academician. Pushing for more conservatives in academia may even lead to poorer scholarship. Even without accounting.


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Ultimately, academia is not just about the disinterested pursuit of truth, but also its applications to human matters. The physicists who built the atomic bomb were no doubt rational men who used valid physics, this says nothing about the morality of building the atomic bomb. The psychiatrists who want to make being right-wing a pathology are no doubt rational men who use valid psychiatry in their daily work. Illness is by essence a normative concept. Ironically this is something the Left itself defended when they were not in a majority position in academia.

However this raises another issue: What is academia for?