Aristotle_Handout - Lecture #7: Aristotle "Plato is...

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Lecture #7: Aristotle “Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth” - Aristotle (384-322 BCE) Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and his Theory of the Forms : Plato's Myth of the Cave is an allegory, a story that is supposed to symbolize the relationship between the world of our senses and the world of the Forms. When we only rely on what our senses tell us about the world, we miss out on an entirely different realm—one we can only access with our mind (aided by reason). Plato thinks this other realm of the Forms is the truly "real world" because it is permanent and unchanging. So if we are only using our senses to experience the world, we are being deceived like the prisoners in the cave. When we use our reason and intellect, we have exited the cave and entered the real world of the Forms. Aristotle’s problems with Plato : The differences between Plato and Aristotle lie in the fact that they took diametrically opposed positions on metaphysics and epistemology: Plato was an idealist and a rationalist Aristotle was a naturalist ( materialist ) and an empiricist . naturalism : the view that reality consists of the natural world; denial of the existence of a separate supernatural order of reality; the view that nature follows orderly, discoverable laws; the view that all phenomena can be explained with reference to natural phenomena To begin, let’s look at one reason why Aristotle was suspicious of Plato’s Theory of the Forms. Then we can cache out some of the more pointed concerns Aristotle had and the way he proposed to answer them. Aristotle’s Third Man Argument : Circular coins have the Form circularity in common; but an additional Form is needed, it would seem, to express what one of the coins and the Form circularity have in common. And then there would need to be yet another Form to express what the additional Form and the Form of circularity have in common. This could go on infinitely, without any way for the Theory of the Forms to adequately deal with the infinite regress. Problem # 1: Two worlds, one transcendent and one everyday? That sounds crazy! Q: If Forms are the essences of things, how can they exist separately from things? Q: How can the Forms causally interact with the physical world if they exist in a separate A: Aristotle answers these worries by asserting that there is only one world and that’s the one we exist in, the empirical world.
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Problem #2: How can we really explain change?
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course PHIL 10 at San Jose State University .

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Aristotle_Handout - Lecture #7: Aristotle "Plato is...

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