Unformatted text preview: Metaphysics Book I, Chapter 9 Criticism of Plato Believers in forms, like Plato, brought in things equal in number to the things being explained. The proofs of forms are not impressive. Some provide no necessary conclusions. Some imply forms of things we believe do not have them: forms of negations and of things that have passed away, and of relations. Some imply "the third man." [This is the problem we saw in Plato's Parmenides, although he introduced it as the third largeness.] If forms and the things that participate in them have the same form, there would be something common between the two types of thing. [The problem here is similar to the "third man" problem.] But if the form is not the same there would be ambiguity [in the words being used, for example "Justice" and "justice."] The Forms Explain Nothing What does the world of forms contribute to the things that can be perceived? The forms are not responsible for motion or They are not the thinghood in things, for change. Nor do they contribute to knowledge of such things. then they would be present in them. Nor are other things made out of the forms in any of the usual ways. To say they are patterns [as Socrates suggests] and that things participate them is to speak in mere poetic metaphors. Also, something can be like something without being an image of it. If forms were patterns there would be more than one pattern of the same thing: a human being would be animal, two footed, and human. The forms would also be patterns of themselves, genus would be genus of forms, so it would be both pattern and image. The thinghood cannot be separate from that of which it is the thinghood. How could the forms be the thinghood of things if they are separate? Also, although Plato states that the forms are responsible for being and becoming, even if there were forms, things can only come into being if something causes motion. Also many things come into being, such as house and ring, of which we say there are no forms. If the forms are numbers, how would they be causes? If things are ratios of numbers, if Callias is a ratio of numbers consisting of physical elements, the ratio will be of something. Also, one number comes from many numbers, but one form cannot be made of forms. On that which we see as the cause in various kinds of knowledge the forms do not even touch. If forms are numbers then lengths, surfaces and solids cannot be forms since they are not numbers, and they could not be explained. To search for the elements of whatever is without distinguishing the many ways this is mean is to seek something impossible. To suppose that one is seeking or has the elements of all beings is not true. How would one learn the elements of all things? One cannot begin by knowing it beforehand. In geometry, you cannot start out knowing anything. Vs. Plato Meno. All learning is by means of things all of some of which are already known. If knowledge is innate it is a wonder how we fail to notice it. How would one know the things of which sense perception exists without sense capacity. Aristotle Metaphysics Book XII, Chapter 1 Thinghood What are the sources and causes of independent things? The thinghood of a thing is primary, followed by what sort of thing it is, followed by how much. Strictly speaking, qualities and motions are not beings, or else the nonwhite would be a being. But the notwhite has being: it is. Earlier Philosophers Earlier philosophers were looking for the sources, elements, causes of thinghood. Philosophers these days [like Plato] assume that universals are the independent things, while philosophers in early times assumed independent things were particulars: fire, earth, etc. Three Kinds of Thinghood perceptible everlasting perceptible destructible: plants and animals motionless: different views on this
Forms, mathematical things only mathematical things Chapter 2 There must be something underlying the thing that changes into the contrary conditions [hot/cold, good/bad, etc.]. The contrary conditions themselves do not change. There is something that persists through change: the material. Potential and Actual Everything changes from something that has being in potency to something that has being at work. For example hair turns from potentially white to actually white. So things come to being from what is, incidentally, not. But they also come to be from what is, potentially. All things have material, all things that change. Everlasting things that are not generated but still move have a different sort of material. A different thing comes from a different potency. ...
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- Metaphysics, Thinghood