Ideas from 'Metaphysics' by Aristotle [324 BCE], by Theme Structure

[found in 'The Metaphysics' by Aristotle (ed/tr Lawson-Tancred,Hugh) [Penguin 1998,0-14-044619-2]].

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1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 1. Nature of Wisdom
Knowledge chosen for its own sake, rather than for results, is wisdom
Wisdom seeks explanations, causes, and reasons why things are as they are [Politis]
1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 2. Wise People
It is not much help if a doctor knows about universals but not the immediate particular
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 1. Philosophy
All philosophy begins from wonder, either at the physical world, or at ideas
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 2. Invocation to Philosophy
If each of us can give some logos about parts of nature, our combined efforts can be impressive
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 3. Philosophy Defined
Philosophy is a kind of science that deals with principles
Philosophy has different powers from dialectic, and a different life from sophistry
Absolute thinking is the thinking of thinking
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 4. Divisions of Philosophy
If only natural substances exist, science is first philosophy - but not if there is an immovable substance
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / c. Philosophy as generalisation
Wisdom is knowledge of principles and causes
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / d. Philosophy as puzzles
Translate as 'humans all desire by nature to understand' (not as 'to know') [Annas]
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 6. Hopes for Philosophy
Even people who go astray in their opinions have contributed something useful
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 7. Status of Reason
It is readily agreed that thinking is the most godlike of things in our experience
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 3. Non-Contradiction
We cannot say that one thing both is and is not a man
The most certain basic principle is that contradictories can't be true at the same time
Aristotle does not take the principle of non-contradiction for granted [Politis]
A thing cannot be both in and not-in the same thing (at a given time)
For Aristotle predication is regulated by Non-Contradiction, because underlying stability is essential [Roochnik]
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 4. Contraries
There is no middle ground in contradiction, but there is in contrariety
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 5. Opposites
Not everything is composed of opposites; what, for example, is the opposite of matter?
If everything is made of opposites, are the opposed things made of opposites?
2. Reason / D. Definition / 1. Definitions
The parts of a definition are isomorphic to the parts of the entity
The material element may be essential to a definition
If we define 'man' as 'two-footed animal', why does that make man a unity?
2. Reason / D. Definition / 3. Types of Definition
You can't define particulars, because accounts have to be generalised
2. Reason / D. Definition / 4. Real Definition
A definition must be of something primary
Only substance [ousias] admits of definition
Sometimes parts must be mentioned in definitions of essence, and sometimes not
Definitions need the complex features of form, and don't need to mention the category [Wedin]
2. Reason / D. Definition / 5. Genus and Differentia
Whiteness can only belong to man because an individual like Callias happens to be white
A definition is of the universal and of the kind
Definition by division is into genus and differentiae
If the genus is just its constitutive forms (or matter), then the definition is the account of the differentiae
If I define you, I have to use terms which are all true of other things too
Aristotle's definitions are not unique, but apply to a range of individuals [Witt]
'Plane' is the genus of plane figures, and 'solid' of solids, with differentiae picking out types of corner
Species and genera are largely irrelevant in 'Metaphysics' [Wedin]
2. Reason / D. Definition / 6. Definition by Essence
Essence is not all the necessary properties, since these extend beyond the definition [Witt]
A definition is an account of a what-it-was-to-be-that-thing
2. Reason / E. Argument / 3. Analogy
Some things cannot be defined, and only an analogy can be given
2. Reason / F. Fallacies / 2. Infinite Regress
Not everything can be proven, because that would lead to an infinite regress
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 1. Truth
Truth is a matter of asserting correct combinations and separations
Truth is either intuiting a way of being, or a putting together
Simple and essential truth seems to be given, with further truth arising in thinking
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 6. Verisimilitude
If one error is worse than another, it must be because it is further from the truth
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 1. For Truthmakers
Truth-thinking does not make it so; it being so is what makes it true
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 5. What Makes Truths / a. What makes truths
The truth or falsity of a belief will be in terms of something that is always this way not that
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 1. Correspondence Truth
Falsity says that which is isn't, and that which isn't is; truth says that which is is, and that which isn't isn't
Aristotle's truth formulation concerns referring parts of sentences, not sentences as wholes [Davidson]
4. Formal Logic / B. Propositional Logic PL / 2. Tools of Propositional Logic / e. Axioms of PL
Axioms are the underlying principles of everything, and who but the philosopher can assess their truth?
The axioms of mathematics are part of philosophy
5. Theory of Logic / D. Assumptions for Logic / 1. Bivalence
For Aristotle bivalence is a feature of reality [Boulter]
5. Theory of Logic / L. Paradox / 2. Aporiai
Aporia 3: Does one science investigate all being, or does each kind of being have a science? [Politis]
We must start with our puzzles, and progress by solving them, as they reveal the real difficulty
Aporia 1: is there one science of explanation, or many? [Politis]
Aporia 2: Does one science investigate both ultimate and basic principles of being? [Politis]
Aporia 4: Does metaphysics just investigate pure being, or also the characteristics of being? [Politis]
Aporia 5: Do other things exist besides what is perceptible by the senses? [Politis]
Aporia 6: Are the basic principles of a thing the kinds to which it belongs, or its components? [Politis]
Aporia 7: Is a thing's kind the most general one, or the most specific one? [Politis]
Aporia 8: Are there general kinds, or merely particulars? [Politis]
Aporia 9: Is there one principle, or one kind of principle? [Politis]
Aporia 10: Do perishables and imperishables have the same principle? [Politis]
Aporia 11: Are primary being and unity distinct, or only in the things that are? [Politis]
Aporia 12: Do mathematical entities exist independently, or only in objects? [Politis]
Aporia 13: Are there kinds, as well as particulars and mathematical entities? [Politis]
Aporia 14: Are ultimate causes of things potentialities, or must they be actual? [Politis]
Aporia 15: Are the causes of things universals or particulars? [Politis]
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 1. Mathematics
Mathematical precision is only possible in immaterial things
Mathematics studies the domain of perceptible entities, but its subject-matter is not perceptible
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Nature of Numbers / a. Numbers
Perhaps numbers are substances?
Pluralities divide into discontinous countables; magnitudes divide into continuous things
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Nature of Numbers / m. One
The one in number just is the particular
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 4. Using Numbers / a. Units
Units came about when the unequals were equalised
The unit is stipulated to be indivisible
If only rectilinear figures existed, then unity would be the triangle
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 4. Using Numbers / c. Counting procedure
Two men do not make one thing, as well as themselves
When we count, are we adding, or naming numbers?
6. Mathematics / B. Foundations for Mathematics / 5. Definitions of Number / b. Greek arithmetic
Number is plurality measured by unity
The idea of 'one' is the foundation of number
Each many is just ones, and is measured by the one
6. Mathematics / B. Foundations for Mathematics / 7. Mathematical Structuralism / a. Structuralism
Mathematics studies abstracted relations, commensurability and proportion
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 1. Mathematical Platonism / a. For mathematical platonism
It is a simple truth that the objects of mathematics have being, of some sort
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 1. Mathematical Platonism / b. Against mathematical platonism
Aristotle removes ontology from mathematics, and replaces the true with the beautiful [Badiou]
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 2. Types of Existence
Some things exist as substances, others as properties of substances
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / a. Nature of Being
There are four kinds of being: incidental, per se, potential and actual, and being as truth [Wittgenstein]
Being is either what falls in the categories, or what makes propositions true [Aquinas]
Things are predicated of the basic thing, which isn't predicated of anything else
There is only being in a certain way, and without that way there is no being
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / f. Primary being
Primary being ('proté ousia') exists in virtue of itself, not in relation to other things [Politis]
The three main candidates for primary being are particular, universal and essence; essence is the answer [Politis]
Primary being is either universals, or the basis of predication, or essence [Politis]
Non-primary beings lack essence, or only have a derived essence [Politis]
Primary being is both the essence, and the subject of predication [Politis]
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / g. Particular being
If nothing exists except individuals, how can there be a science of infinity?
Being must be understood with reference to one primary sense - the being of substance [Gill,ML]
Nothing is added to a man's existence by saying he is 'one', or that 'he exists'
Substance (ousia) may well be, most fully, the primary subject of predication
Existence requires thisness, as quantity or quality
Other types of being all depend on the being of substance
There is no being unless it is determinate and well-defined [Politis]
Aristotle discusses fundamental units of being, rather than existence questions [Schaffer,J]
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 1. Nature of Change
Nature is an active principle of change, like potentiality, but it is intrinsic to things
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 2. Processes
An actuality is usually thought to be a process
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 4. Ontological Dependence
Prior things can exist without posterior things, but not vice versa
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 2. Reality
Knowledge of potential is universal and indefinite; of the actual it is definite and of individuals
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 5. Physicalism
Materialists cannot explain change [Politis]
7. Existence / E. Categories / 3. Proposed Categories
The immediate divisions of that which is are genera, each with its science
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 1. Nature of Properties
There cannot be uninstantiated properties [Macdonald,C]
Properties are just the ways in which forms are realised at various times [Frede,M]
The 'propriae' or 'necessary accidents' of a thing are separate, and derived from the essence [Koslicki]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 2. Need for Properties
For two things to differ in some respect, they must both possess that respect
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 5. Natural Properties
For Aristotle, there are only as many properties as actually exist [Jacquette]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 8. Properties as Modes
Whiteness can be explained without man, but femaleness cannot be explained without animal
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 10. Properties as Predicates
If we only saw bronze circles, would bronze be part of the concept of a circle?
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 1. Powers
Active 'dunamis' is best translated as 'power' or 'ability' (rather than 'potentiality') [Gill,ML]
Potentiality is a principle of change, in another thing, or as another thing
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 2. Powers as Basic
Actualities are arranged by priority, going back to what initiates process
The main characteristic of the source of change is activity [energeia] [Politis]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 4. Powers as Essence
Giving the function of a house defines its actuality
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 5. Powers and Properties
Potentiality in geometry is metaphorical
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / d. Dispositions as occurrent
The Megarans say something is only capable of something when it is actually doing it
Megaran actualism is just scepticism about the qualities of things
Megaran actualists prevent anything from happening, by denying a capacity for it to happen!
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals
Substance is not a universal, as the former is particular but a universal is shared
Universals are indeterminate and only known in potential, because they are general [Witt]
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 2. Need for Universals
The acquisition of scientific knowledge is impossible without universals
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 3. Instantiated Universals
No universals exist separately from particulars
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / a. Platonic Forms
Forms are said to be substances to which nothing is prior
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / b. Partaking
There is a confusion because Forms are said to be universal, but also some Forms are separable and particular
If partaking explains unity, what causes participating, and what is participating?
If you accept Forms, you must accept the more powerful principle of 'participating' in them
How can the Forms both be the substance of things and exist separately from them?
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / c. Self-predication
Forms have to be their own paradigms, which seems to fuse the paradigm and the copy
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / d. Forms critiques
If men exist by participating in two forms (Animal and Biped), they are plural, not unities
The Forms have to be potentialities, not actual knowledge or movement
There is no point at all in the theory of Forms unless it contains a principle that produces movement
Are there forms for everything, or for negations, or for destroyed things?
All attempts to prove the Forms are either invalid, or prove Forms where there aren't supposed to be any
What possible contribution can the Forms make to perceptible entities?
Predications only pick out kinds of things, not things in themselves
If two is part of three then numbers aren't Forms, because they would all be intermingled
Aristotle is not asserting facts about the location of properties, but about their ontological status [Moreland]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
Form and matter may not make up a concrete particular, because there are also accidents like weight [Frede,M]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 2. Abstract Objects / a. Nature of abstracta
Objects lacking matter are intrinsic unities
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Impossible objects
Some philosophers say that in some qualified way non-existent things 'are'
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Individuation / a. Individuation
To know a thing is to know its primary cause or explanation
Aristotle's form improves on being non-predicable as a way to identify a 'this' [Wiggins]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Individuation / d. Individuation by haecceity
For Aristotle, things are not made individual by some essential distinguishing mark [Frede,M]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Individuation / e. Individuation by kind
Individuals within a species differ in their matter, form and motivating cause
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / a. Intrinsic unification
A unity may just be a particular, a numerically indivisible thing
How is man a unity of animal and biped, especially if the Forms of animal and of biped exist?
Aristotle says that the form is what makes an entity what it is [Frede,M]
Things are one numerically in matter, formally in their account, generically in predicates, and by analogy in relations
Primary things just are what-it-is-to-be-that-thing
Things may be naturally unified because they involve an indivisible process
The formal cause may be what unifies a substance
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / b. Unifying aggregates
Things are one to the extent that they are indivisible
Indivisibility is the cause of unity, either in movement, or in the account or thought
Things are unified by contact, mixture and position
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / c. Unity as conceptual
Some things are unified by their account, which rests on a unified thought about the thing
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / a. Substance
If substance is the basis of reality, then philosophy aims to understand substance
'Ousia' is 'primary being' not 'primary substance' [Politis]
The baffling question of what exists is asking about the nature of substance
The Pre-Socratics were studying the principles, elements and causes of substance
Substance is prior in being separate, in definition, and in knowledge [Witt]
It is wrong to translate 'ousia' as 'substance' [Politis]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / b. Need for substance
We may have to postulate unobservable and unknowable substances
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / c. Types of substance
Mature Aristotle sees organisms as the paradigm substances [Pasnau]
Elements and physical objects are substances, but ideas and mathematics are not so clear
Is a primary substance a foundation of existence, or the last stage of understanding? [Gill,ML]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / d. Substance defined
Substance [ousia] is the subject of predication and cause [aitia?] of something's existence
Essence (fixed by definition) is also 'ousia', so 'ousia' is both ultimate subject, and a this-thing
It is matter that turns out to be substance [ousia]
A substance is what-it-is-to-be, or the universal, or the genus, or the subject of saying
Matter is not substance, because substance needs separability and thisness
The substance is the form dwelling in the object
Substance is unified and universals are diverse, so universals are not substance [Witt]
A thing's substance is its primary cause of being
None of the universals can be a substance
In Aristotle, 'proté ousia' is 'primary being', and 'to hupokeimenon' is 'that which lies under' (or 'substance') [Politis]
Substance is distinct being because of its unity [Witt]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / c. Statue and clay
The statue is not called 'stone' but 'stoney'
Statues depend on their bronze, but bronze doesn't depend on statues [Gill,ML]
Primary matter and form make a unity, one in potentiality, the other in actuality
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 2. Hylomorphism / a. Hylomorphism
Plato says changing things have no essence; Aristotle disagrees [Politis]
In 'Metaphysics' Z substantial primacy (as form) is explanatory rather than ontological [Wittgenstein]
The form of a thing is its essence and its primary being
In 'Metaphysics' substantial forms take over from objects as primary [Frede,M]
Essences are not properties (since those can't cause individual substances) [Witt]
Essential form is neither accidental nor necessary to matter, so it appears not to be a property [Witt]
Aristotle's cosmos is ordered by form, and disordered by matter [Gill,ML]
Aristotle moved from realism to nominalism about substances [Frede,M]
A substance is a proper subject because the matter is a property of the form, not vice versa [Gill,ML]
Aristotle doesn't think essential properties are those which must belong to a thing [Kung]
Forms of sensible substances include unrealised possibilities, so are not fully actual [Frede,M]
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 2. Hylomorphism / b. Form as principle
Some forms, such as the Prime Mover, are held by Aristotle to exist without matter [Gill,ML]
A true substance is constituted by some nature, which is a principle
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 2. Hylomorphism / d. Form as unifier
Things are a unity because there is no clash between potential matter and actual shape/form
Aristotle's solution to the problem of unity is that form is an active cause or potentiality or nature [Gill,ML]
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 3. Matter of an Object
Every distinct thing has matter, as long as it isn't an essence or a Form
In Aristotle, bronze only becomes 'matter' when it is potentially a statue [Gill,ML]
Aristotle's conception of matter applies to non-physical objects as well as physical objects [Fine,K]
Aristotle's matter is something that could be the inner origin of a natural being's behaviour [Witt]
Matter is secondary, because it is potential, determined by the actuality of form [Witt]
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 5. Composition of an Object
Is there a house over and above its bricks?
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 7. Substratum
Something must pre-exist any new production
A substrate is either a 'this' supporting qualities, or 'matter' supporting actuality
A subject can't be nothing, so it must qualify as separate, and as having a distinct identity [Gill,ML]
It is unclear whether Aristotle believes in a propertyless subject, his 'ultimate matter' [Lawson-Tancred]
If you extract all features of the object, what is left over?
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / a. Parts of objects
The contents of an explanatory formula are parts of the whole
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / b. Sums of parts
A 'whole' (rather than a mere 'sum') requires an internal order which distinguishes it
If a syllable is more than its elements, is the extra bit also an element?
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / c. Wholes from parts
Wholes are continuous, rigid, uniform, similar, same kind, similar matter [Simons]
A syllable is something different from its component vowels and consonants
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 1. Essences of Objects
Aristotelian essence underlies behaviour, or underlies definition, or is the source of existence [Aquinas]
Aristotelian essence is retained with identity through change, and bases our scientific knowledge [Copi]
Aristotle says changing, material things (and not just universals) have an essence [Politis]
Are essences actually universals? [Politis]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 2. Types of Essence
Aristotelian essences are causal, not classificatory [Witt]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 3. Individual Essences
Particulars are not definable, because they fluctuate
The essence of a single thing is the essence of a particular
Essence is the cause of individual substance, and creates its unity [Witt]
Individual essences are not universals, since those can't be substances, or cause them [Witt]
Aristotelian essence is not universal properties, but individual essence [Witt]
Aristotle does not accept individual essences; essential properties are always general [Kung]
Aristotle's essence explains the existence of an individual substance, not its properties [Witt]
Aristotle takes essence and form as a particular, not (as some claim) as a universal, the species [Politis]
To be a subject a thing must be specifiable, with some essential properties [Gill,ML]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 4. Essence as Definition
Essence only belongs to things whose account is a definition
Essence is what is stated in the definition [Politis]
If definition is of universals, many individuals have no definition, and hence no essence [Witt]
A thing's essence is what is mentioned in its definition [Lawson-Tancred]
Things have an essence if their explanation is a definition
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 5. Essence as Kind
The Aristotelian view is that the essential properties are those that sort an object [Marcus (Barcan)]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 6. Essence as Unifier
A thing's essence is its intrinsic nature
An essence causes both its own unity and its kind
Having an essence is the criterion of being a substance [Lawson-Tancred]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 7. Essence and Necessity / c. Essentials are necessary
Aristotle doesn't see essential truths or essential properties as necessary [Koslicki]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 8. Essence as Explanatory
Metaphysics is the science of ultimate explanation, or of pure existence, or of primary existence [Politis]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 9. Essence and Properties
It is absurd that a this and a substance should be composed of a quality
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 10. Essence as Species
Generalities like man and horse are not substances, but universal composites of account and matter
Genera are not substances, and do not exist apart from the ingredient species
'Categories' answers 'what?' with species, genus, differerentia; 'Met.' Z.17 seeks causal essence [Wedin]
Standardly, Aristotelian essences are taken to be universals of the species [Witt]
In 'Met.' he says genera can't be substances or qualities, so aren't in the ontology [Frede,M]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 11. Essence of Artefacts
Things are more unified if the unity comes from their own nature, not from external force
The hallmark of an artefact is that its active source of maintenance is external [Gill,ML]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 14. Knowledge of Essences
Aristotle claims that the individual is epistemologically prior to the universal [Witt]
Actual knowledge is of the individual, and potential knowledge of the universal [Witt]
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 2. Objects that Change
For animate things, only the form, not the matter or properties, must persist through change [Frede,M]
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 12. Origin as Essential
How a thing is generated does not explain its essence [Politis]
Aristotle wants definition, not identity, so origin is not essential to him [Witt]
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 1. Concept of Identity
Two things with the same primary being and essence are one thing
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 4. Type Identity
Things such as two different quadrangles are alike but not wholly the same
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 5. Self-Identity
You are one with yourself in form and matter
We can't understand self-identity without a prior grasp of the object
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 2. Nature of Necessity
Necessity makes alternatives impossible
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 6. Logical Necessity
A thing has a feature necessarily if its denial brings a contradiction
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 1. Possibility
Anything which is possible either exists or will come into existence
Possibility is when the necessity of the contrary is false
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 4. Potentiality
A 'potentiality' is a principle of change or process in a thing
We recognise potentiality from actuality
Potentialities are always for action, but are conditional on circumstances
Things are destroyed not by their powers, but by their lack of them
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 6. Necessity from Essence
Some things have external causes of their necessity; others (the simple) generate necessities
Aristotle's says necessary truths are distinct and derive from essential truths [Koslicki]
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 1. Knowledge
The ability to teach is a mark of true knowledge
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 6. Knowing How
Things are produced from skill if the form of them is in the mind
Experience knows particulars, but only skill knows universals
It takes skill to know causes, not experience
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 4. Pro-Empiricism
All men long to understand, as shown by their delight in the senses
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 4. Memory
Many memories make up a single experience
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / e. Pro-foundations
The starting point of a proof is not a proof
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 5. Dream Scepticism
Dreams aren't a serious problem. No one starts walking round Athens next morning, having dreamt that they were there!
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 3. Subjectivism
If truth is relative it is relational, and concerns appearances relative to a situation
If relativism is individual, how can something look sweet and not taste it, or look different to our two eyes?
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 6. Relativism Critique
If the majority had diseased taste, and only a few were healthy, relativists would have to prefer the former
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 2. Demonstration
There cannot be a science of accidentals, but only of general truths
Demonstrations about particulars must be about everything of that type
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / a. Explanation
Universal principles are not primary beings, but particular principles are not universally knowable
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / b. Aims of explanation
Understanding moves from the less to the more intelligible
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / a. Types of explanation
Aristotelian explanations mainly divide things into natural kinds [Politis]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / k. Explanations by essence
Real enquiries seek causes, and causes are essences
We know something when we fully know what it is, not just its quality, quantity or location
We know a thing when we grasp its essence
The explanation is what gives matter its state, which is the form, which is the substance
Essential properties explain in conjunction with properties shared by the same kind [Kung]
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 5. Generalisation by mind
Skill comes from a general assumption obtained from thinking about similar things
Aristotle distinguishes two different sorts of generality - kinds, and properties [Frede,M]
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 6. Idealisation
Science is more accurate when it is prior and simpler, especially without magnitude or movement
16. Persons / D. Continuity of the Self / 1. Identity and the Self
Is Socrates the same person when standing and when seated?
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 4. Structure of Concepts / i. Conceptual priority
It is unclear whether acute angles are prior to right angles, or fingers to men
18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 3. Abstracta by Ignoring
Mathematicians study quantity and continuity, and remove the perceptible features of things
Mathematicians suppose inseparable aspects to be separable, and study them in isolation
18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 8. Abstractionism Critique
If health happened to be white, the science of health would not study whiteness
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 2. Art as Form
Beauty involves the Forms of order, symmetry and limit, which can be handled mathematically
21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 7. Art and Morality
The good is found in actions, but beauty can exist without movement
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / h. Successful function
A thing's active function is its end
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / a. Form of the Good
Is the good a purpose, a source of movement, or a pure form?
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / a. Nature of virtue
Excellence is a sort of completion
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / b. Basis of virtue
Is excellence separate from things, or part of them, or both?
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / g. Contemplation
Contemplation is a supreme pleasure and excellence
25. Society / E. State Functions / 4. Education / c. Teaching
Wise men aren't instructed; they instruct
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 1. Nature
Why are some things destructible and others not?
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 2. Natural Purpose / a. Final purpose
Everything is arranged around a single purpose
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 4. Mathematical Nature
Pythagoreans say the whole universe is made of numbers
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / a. Greek matter
Aristotle had a hierarchical conception of matter [Fine,K]
Substance must exist, because something must endure during change between opposites
Matter is perceptible (like bronze) or intelligible (like mathematical objects)
Matter is neither a particular thing nor a member of a determinate category
Aristotle says matter is a lesser substance, rather than wholly denying that it is a substance [Kung]
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / b. Prime matter
Primary matter is what characterises other stuffs, and it has no distinct identity
Ultimate matter is discredited, as Aristotle merged substratum of change with bearer of properties [Simons]
Aristotle may only have believed in prime matter because his elements were immutable [Alexander,P]
The traditional view of Aristotle is God (actual form) at top and prime matter (potential matter) at bottom [Gill,ML]
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / e. The One
It doesn't explain the world to say it was originally all one. How did it acquire diversity?
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / f. Ancient elements
I claim that Aristotle's foundation is the four elements, and not wholly potential prime matter [Gill,ML]
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 1. Natural Kinds
Unusual kinds like mule are just a combination of two kinds
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 4. Naturalised causation
Is there cause outside matter, and can it be separated, and is it one or many?
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / c. Conditions of causation
We exercise to be fit, but need fitness to exercise
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / b. Nomological causation
Pure Forms and numbers can't cause anything, and especially not movement
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / d. Causal necessity
When a power and its object meet in the right conditions, an action necessarily follows
27. Natural Reality / C. Space-Time / 2. Time / d. Beginning of time
It is hard to see how either time or movement could come into existence or be destroyed
27. Natural Reality / D. Cosmology / 3. The Beginning
The first mover is necessary, and because it is necessary it is good
Something which both moves and is moved is intermediate, so it follows that there must be an unmoved mover
Even if the world is caused by fate, mind and nature are still prior causes
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 2. Divine Nature
There must a source of movement which is eternal, indivisible and without magnitude
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 5. God and Time
God is not a creator (involving time and change) and is not concerned with the inferior universe [Armstrong,K]
28. God / B. Proving God / 1. Proof of God
For Aristotle God is defined in an axiom, for which there is no proof [Frede,M]
28. God / B. Proving God / 3. Proofs of Evidence / b. Teleological Proof
The world can't be arranged at all if there is nothing eternal and separate
29. Religion / A. Polytheistic Religion / 2. Greek Polytheism
There are as many eternal unmovable substances as there are movements of the stars