CL36Sp08L14ArPhysAb - CLASSICS 36 LECTURE FOURTEEN P...

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C LASSICS 36: L ECTURE F OURTEEN P URPOSEFULNESS IN NATURE : ARISTOTLE , PHYSICS 2.1-3, 7-9 1. Biographical/historical background 1.1 Born. 384 Stagira (N. Greece); student of Plato; later founded own school (Lyceum) in Athens; d. 322 . 1.2 Surviving texts, unlike Plato's, not meant for publication. 1.3 Dominated Medieval philosophy, so his concepts (essence/accident, form/ matter, potentiality/actuality, scala naturae ) became the influence to shake off in birth of modern science. 2. Aristotle vs. Plato 2.1 Both Ar. and Pl. ask “what most truly is?” “what is fundamental?” (“metaphysics” or “ontology”); and both think any candidate for the role of what most truly is must be (i) something that is what it is in virtue of itself, and (ii) intelligible. But their answers differ — Pl's answer: the objects of thought (Forms; most fundamentally of all, the Form of the Good); Ar's answer: living things (most fundamentally of all, God). Ar.’s technical term for “what most truly is” is “substance” (Gk. ousia ). 2.2 For Ar., each perceptible substance has its nature or essence or form. But not that Ar. denies existence of immaterial reality that exists by itself; indeed, his paradigm substance is God, towards which all other substances are oriented, and which is pure thought, without matter.
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