Lecture 9 - Aristotle Lecture 9 Summary Ladies and...

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Aristotle – Lecture 9 Summary Ladies and Gentlemen of the 21 st Century: Let me speak to you from ‘the other side.’ But before beginning, I invoke the gods according to my country’s and my era’s custom, for you and I need their aid if we are to understand each other. Then I want to give you thanks for letting me speak to you. You have called me the founder of your science. You want to learn from me how I feel about the development, the present condition, the triumph of your science and its worldview. As I see things you are caught in a maze, snared by habits and trapped by methods from which you cannot free yourselves. From my great distance I may perchance see things you cannot see. I do not know whether my voice, an alien voice, can find access to your ears, but also whether their sense can enter your minds, scientifically minded as you are, or your hearts as human beings. First of all I beg you not to expect me to praise your achievements. For this purpose you do not need me. Certainly, from my stammering explorations to your calculating experiments the progress has been extraordinary. You have the most ingenuous instruments, you use the most efficient methods, and you know the most astounding laws. Your ships, automobiles, airplanes and television transmissions unite the globe and connect events. Your catapults and projectiles pull
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down cities and upturn stones from the bottom of your fields. For this and still more you have my humble admiration. My wonder at your successes is not my greatest wonder, however. The first sentence in a book I wrote in my youth runs: All men by nature desire to know. The most intense of all your experiences is your desire for knowledge. But in vain do I look for the place of this experience in your scheme of the universe. There is no place for the experience of knowledge in your scheme of the universe. This, not your successes, is what astonishes me most. The experience of knowledge has not and cannot have a place in your scheme. You have shut yourselves off from nature. The further you penetrate into what you call nature the more elusive you become to yourselves. What, by Zeus, have you been doing? The nature you mean as scientists is not the nature you mean when you say ‘I am.’ Nature is one, immutable, eternally varying – the way of Being in all beings, revealed as eternal movement, formation, deformation, and transformation. You yourselves, your desire for knowledge, you are Nature . And yet you have opened between your comprehension of yourselves and your knowledge of nature a chasm that engulfs in darkness your common being. You realize it. In all the splendor of your inventions this is your secret grief and the scandal of your science."
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[Slightly modified opening of a lecture delivered by The Aristotle scholar Kurt Riezler in 1940 at an International Congress of Science. (Riezler, Kurt, Physics and Reality , New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940.) What follows here is Martin’s:] Let me try to summarize what I see as major motives and values
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course HUM CORE 1b taught by Professor Lupton during the Spring '08 term at UC Irvine.

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Lecture 9 - Aristotle Lecture 9 Summary Ladies and...

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