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Aristotle's Philosophy of Man
Transcript of Aristotle's Philosophy of Man
Nationality : Greek
Born : 384 BCE
Died :322 BCE
Occupation : Philosopher
Education : Plato's Academy
Era : Ancient Philosophy
Region : Western Philosophy
Aristotle was Plato’s most famous student.
Aristotle considered epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, dithyrambic poetry and music to be imitative, each varying in imitation by medium, object, and manner.
Aristotle's Philosophy of Man
Aristotle's Philosophy of Man
Aristotle's logical works contain the earliest formal study of logic that we have. It is therefore all the more remarkable that together they comprise a highly developed logical theory, one that was able to command immense respect for many centuries
Aristotle's insistence that there are no known absolute moral standards and that any ethical theory must be based in part on an understanding of psychology and firmly grounded in the realities of human nature and daily life.
• Aristotle believes the objects of real existence are the ones that we encounter through our sense perception.
• This theory is called Empiricism.
• Empiricism – The view that all knowledge originates from experience.
Knowledge is a process
• Humans, according to Aristotle, do not acquire knowledge all in one moment but rather by means of a process.
Four steps of Induction
is the process that we undergo to arrive at knowledge.
- Perception is the acquiring of information through the senses.
– memory is the ability to retain the perceptions in the mind.
Some animals as well as humans have memory.
– By experiencing perceptions many times in conjunction with memory we form what is called experience.
Main Points of Aristotle's Ethical Philosophy
The highest good and the end toward which all human activity is directed is happiness, which can be defined as continuous contemplation of eternal and universal truth.
One attains happiness by a virtuous life and the development of reason and the faculty of theoretical wisdom. For this one requires sufficient external goods to ensure health, leisure, and the opportunity for virtuous action.
Moral virtue is a relative mean between extremes of excess and deficiency, and in general the moral life is one of moderation in all things except virtue. No human appetite or desire is bad if it is controlled by reason according to a moral principle. Moral virtue is acquired by a combination of knowledge, habituation, and self-discipline.
Virtuous acts require conscious choice and moral purpose or motivation. Man has personal moral responsibility for his actions.
Moral virtue cannot be achieved abstractly — it requires moral action in a social environment. Ethics and politics are closely related, for politics is the science of creating a society in which men can live the good life and develop their full potential.
• This process can be analyzed into four different steps.
• The first step is in accordance with Empiricism and that is we gain information through the senses.
– When we are able to understand the universal or the essence of things through this process our experience becomes knowledge.
Aristotle refers to the human mind or ( Nous ) has the ability to form a Universal from the particular experiences that we have through sense perception and memories.
Aristotle's Logical Work
The ancient commentators grouped together several of Aristotle's treatises under the title Organon(“Instrument”) and regarded them as comprising his logical works:
2. On Interpretation
3. Prior Analytics
4. Posterior Analytics
6. On Sophistical Refutations
The core of this definition is the notion of “resulting of necessity” (ex anankês sumbainein). This corresponds to a modern notion of logical consequence: X results of necessity from Y and Z if it would be impossible for X to be false when Y and Z are true. We could therefore take this to be a general definition of “valid argument”.
The Subject of Logic
Aristotle joined Plato’s academy at the age of seventeen.
Aristotle founded his own school called the Lyceum after Plato’s death twenty years later.
Aristotle spent mornings walking with the students talking about philosophy.
“Peripatetic” is a Greek word meaning “walking around” and sometimes Aristotelians are called Peripatetics.
Aristotle made numerous contributions to many areas of philosophy.
Aristotle's Political Theory
Aristotle's word for ‘politics’ is politikê, which is short for politikê epistêmê or ‘political science’. It belongs to one of the three main branches of science
Contemplative science (including physics and metaphysics) is concerned with truth or knowledge for its own sake;
Practical science with good action; and productive science with making useful or beautiful objects Politics is a practical science, Aristotle thus understands politics as a normative or prescriptive discipline rather than as a purely empirical or descriptive inquiry.
1. Political Science in General
2. Aristotle's View of Politics
The most important task for the politician is, in the role of lawgiver (nomothetês), This involves enduring laws, customs, and institutions (including a system of moral education) for the citizens. Once the constitution is in place, the politician needs to take the appropriate measures to maintain it.
3. General Theory of Constitutions and Citizenship
“the politician and lawgiver is wholly occupied with the city-state, and the constitution is a certain way of organizing those who inhabit the city-state”
4. Study of Specific Constitutions
“the good lawgiver and the true politician”
“for it is probably impossible for many persons to attain the best constitution”
The city-state and political rule are “natural.”.
Individual human beings combined in pairs because they could not exist apart. The male and female joined in order to reproduce, and the master and slave came together for self-preservation.
The household arose naturally from these primitive communities in order to serve everyday needs.
When several households combined for further needs a village emerged also according to nature.
The complete community, formed from several villages, is a city-state, which at once attains the limit of self-sufficiency, roughly speaking. It comes to be for the sake of life, and exists for the sake of the good life
Aristotle's work on aesthetics consists of the Poetics and Rhetoric. The Poetics is specifically concerned with drama. At some point, Aristotle's original work was divided in two, each "book" written on a separate roll of papyrus. Only the first part–that which focuses on tragedy–survives. The lost second part addressed comedy. Scholars speculate that the Tractatus coislinianus summarises the contents of the lost second book.
Preliminary discourse on tragedy, epic poetry, and comedy, as the chief forms of imitative poetry.
Definition of a tragedy, and the rules for its construction. Definition and analysis into qualitative parts.
Rules for the construction of an epic:
Tragic pleasure, or catharsis experienced by fear and pity should be produced in the spectator.
Discovery must occur within the plot. It is important for the poet to visualize all of the scenes when creating the plot.
The poet should incorporate Complication and Denouement within the story, as well as combine all of the elements of Tragedy.
The poet must express thought through the characters' words and actions, while paying close attention to Diction and how a character's spoken words express a specific idea. Aristotle believed that all of these different elements had to be present in order for the poetry to be well-done.
Possible criticisms of an epic or tragedy, and the answers to them.
Tragedy as artistically superior to epic poetry: Tragedy has everything that the Epic has even the epic meter being admissible. The reality of presentation is felt in the play as read, as well as in the play as acted. The tragic imitation requires less space for the attainment of its end. If it has more concentrated effect, it is more pleasurable than one with a large admixture of time to dilute it. There is less unity in the imitation of the epic poets (plurality of actions) and this is proved by any work of their supplies matter for several tragedies. Considers tragedy a higher form of art.
Language, rhythm, and melody, for Aristotle, make up the matter of poetic creation. Where the epic poem makes use of language alone, the playing of the lyre involves rhythm and melody. Some poetic forms include a blending of all materials; for example, Greek tragic drama included a singing chorus, and so music and language were all part of the performance.
Also "agents" in some translations.
Aristotle differentiates between tragedy and comedy throughout the work by distinguishing between the nature of the human characters that populate either form.
One may imitate the agents through use of a narrator throughout, or only occasionally (using direct speech in parts and a narrator in parts, as Homer does), or only through direct speech (without a narrator), using actors to speak the lines directly. This latter is the method of tragedy (and comedy): without use of any narrator.
Refers to the "structure of incidents" (actions).
Key Elements of Plot :
When a character is unfortunate by reversals of fortune (peripeteia known today in pop culture as a plot twist), at first he suffers (pathos) and then he can realize (anagnorisis) the cause of his misery or a way to be released from the misery.
It is much better if a tragical accident happens to a hero because of a mistake he makes (hamartia) instead of things that might happen anyway. That is because the audience is more likely to be "moved" by it. A hero may have made it knowingly (in Medea) or unknowingly (Oedipus).
Main character should be :
Aristotle explains that audiences do not like, for example, villains "making fortune from misery" in the end. It might happen though, and might make the play interesting. Nevertheless, the moral is at stake here and morals are important to make people happy (people can, for example, see tragedy because they want to release their anger)
If a character is supposed to be wise, it is unlikely he is young (supposing wisdom is gained with age)
If a person is a soldier, he is unlikely to be scared of blood (if this soldier is scared of blood it must be explained and play some role in the story to avoid confusing the audience); it is also "good" if a character doesn't change opinion "that much" if the play is not "driven" by who characters are, but by what they do (audience is confused in case of unexpected shifts in behaviour [and its reasons and morals] of characters)
If a character always behaves foolishly it is strange if he suddenly becomes smart. In this case it would be good to explain such change, otherwise the audience may be confused. If character changes opinion a lot it should be clear he is a character who has this trait, not a real life person - this is also to avoid confusion
Spoken (usually) reasoning of human characters can explain the characters or story background.
Refers to the quality of speech in tragedy. Speeches should reflect character, the moral qualities of those on the stage. The expression of the meaning of the words.
The Chorus too should be regarded as one of the actors. It should be an integral part of the whole, and share in the action. Should be contributed to the unity of the plot. It is a very real factor in the pleasure of the drama.
Refers to the visual apparatus of the play, including set, costumes and props (anything you can see). Aristotle calls spectacle the "least artistic" element of tragedy, and the "least connected with the work of the poet (playwright). Spectacle is like a suspenseful horror film.
Origin and Nature of Metaphysics
Although the word "metaphysics" goes back to Aristotelean philosophy, Aristotle himself credited earlier philosophers with dealing with metaphysical questions. The first known philosopher, according to Aristotle, is Thales of Miletus, who taught that all things derive from a single first cause or Arche.
Metaphysical Cosmology and Cosmogony
is the branch of metaphysics that deals with the world as the totality of all phenomena in space and time.
deals specifically with the origin of the universe.
Plato's pupil Aristotle wrote widely on almost every subject, including metaphysics. His solution to the problem of universals contrasts with Plato's. Whereas Platonic Forms exist in a separate realm, and can exist uninstantiated in visible things, Aristotelean essences "indwell" in particulrs.
Potentiality and Actuality are principles of a dichotomy which Aristotle used throughout his philosophical works to analyze motion, causality and other issues.
The Aristotelean theory of change and causality stretches to four causes: the material, formal, efficient and final. The efficient cause corresponds to what is now known as a cause simpliciter. Final causes are explicitly teleological, a concept now regarded as controversial in science. The Matter/Form dichotomy was to become highly influential in later philosophy as the substance/essence distinction.
Styles and methods