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Aristotles goal of nature philosophy

The first empiricist


Hero and Rebel Student of Plato Wanted to investigate nature His work has been used as basic for a long time and for some things is even considered relevant up to know.

384322 B.C.E

Disagreement Parmenides
No Change Suggest Not Being which can not be the case But we see change all the time Physics gives a more detailed account Aristotle puts experience before philosophy

Disagreement Plato
Forms / universals are in a different realm Only some people are enlightened enough to see this (AKA Philosophers like Plato) This does not explain changes or existence Difficult relation between form and matter

Natural Philosophy
Practical, Productive or Theoretical
Ethics?

Physics vs meta physics


First philosophy? Study of nature vs study of being qua being. Meta physics needs to be studied through physics.

Is the search for first principles Knowing a fact vs knowing why

Causes
Material cause: things have properties, because they are made from a certain material like stone Formal cause: the thing is something because of its form. This is a statue because it has the form of a statue Efficient or movement cause: what made the thing as it is mechanically. This would be the sculptor of the statue

Final cause: This is what the thing is meant to be, meant to do. The statue could let you remember someone or honor someone.

Nature
a principle or cause of being moved and of being at rest in that to which it belongs primarily, in virtue of itself, and not accidentally (195b22-23). Something is natural if it produces its own movement/change/growth/reproduction etc. Physics is study of change Nature is what something is supposed to be.
Compare with Platos forms

How?
Aristotle is studying nature to find causes that lead him to the final cause, which can then be used as a universal explanation. Look for similarities (experience) As are Cs because of B. Oaks are leave shedding because the are broad leaved (reason)

Is it a different method?
It is plain, then, that the teaching of the old physiologists is inadequate, and that the true method is to state what the definitive characters are that distinguish the animal as a whole; to explain what it is both in substance and in form, and to deal after the same fashion with its several organs; in fact, to proceed in exactly the same way as we should do, were we giving a complete description of a couch. MIT translation, Part of animals, part 1

Small problem
Do you need a final cause? A regularity needs an explanation A final cause can explain this regularity Things are the way they are, because they are supposed to be that way. But material cause still necessary

Why do hairs grow on your head?

Question
Explaining with final causes is teleological.
We explain by stating that its is so because it has to be so, or that is good that it is so, or that it is inherent that it is so, or that it is in the nature etc.

This practice still continues today. Especially in certain types of discussions.


What do you think, are these kind of explanations valid?

Resources used
Cambridge Companion to Aristotle Barnes Stanford encyclopedia on Aristotle Sparknotes on Aristotle http://classics.mit.edu/Browse/index-Aristotle.html
Translations used by MIT students