Elements Of Epistemology ~ Chapter 2


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Elements Of Epistemology ~ Chapter 2

  1. 1. Elements of Epistemology<br />Chapter IICorpus Aristotelicum<br />Aristotle's school buildingin Macedonia<br />Corpus Aristotelicum <br />The collected works of Aristotle (384-322),Corpus Aristotelicum, are divided into logic, physics, and metaphysics. The metaphysics consists of teleology, epistemology, cosmology, ontology, and ethics. Aristotle thought that every entity in the universe moves toward a goal, teleos, inherent in its nature. <br />The principle subjects of teleology thus are development and change. Materialists understood these as mutually interconnected causal chains of events. The idealists think that these chains of events have been initiated and guided by a spiritual, supernatural being. From these deliberations, philosophy developed along two parallel lines. One is realistic and secular, the other is idealistic and religious. <br />The realistic tradition maintains that the concept of supernatural original cause is redundant, unnecessary to understand our world and the meaning of our existence. The idealistic tradition maintains that in order to understand the world and the meaning of our existence, the concept of God is necessary. The next question then is, does God exist? This used to be the central question of epistemology, the Greek episteme meaning 'to know.'<br />Aristotle's Diagrams<br />Aristotle viewed the Universe as a series of concentric spheres.<br />Geosphere (Earth at the center of the Universe)    Hydrosphere (Earth's oceans)    Atmosphere (Air surrounding the Earth)    Pyrosphere (Sphere generating lightning)    Stellarsphere (Stars above the Earth)<br />with the prime mover (the first cause) initiating their spinning motion. Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) replaced the Aristotle's pyrosphere with his concept ofnoosphere. He reasoned that while evolution diversified the living forms, <br />humankind reversed this divergent process <br />into a convergent one. While many species are on the verge of extinction, the diverse human cultures are converging toward the omega point. Teilhard de Chardin predicted that after reaching the omega point, humankind will cover the Earth's surface with collective human consciousness, the noosphere (from Greek noos, mind), superimposed on the already-existingbiosphere. He elaborated these concepts in a series of manuscripts (published after his death in books The Phenomenon of Man (1955), The Divine Milieu (1957),The Future of Man (1959), and Hymn of the Universe (1964)). When these manuscripts were discovered in his study, Professor's Chardin was fired from his teaching post and left for China. Pierre de Chardin did not live long enough to witness the emergence of the Internet, which some believe hold the promise to become his noosphere.<br />Aristotle's Logic  <br />An example of Aristotle's writing on this subject follows.<br />An affirmation is the statement of a fact with regard to a subject, and this subject is either a noun or that which has no name; the subject and predicate in an affirmation must each denote a single thing. <br />I have already explained' what is meant by a noun and by that which has no name; for I stated that the expression 'not-man' was not a noun, in the proper sense of the word, but an indefinite noun, denoting as it does in a certain sense a single thing. <br />Similarly the expression 'does not enjoy health' is not a verb proper, but an indefinite verb. Every affirmation, then, and every denial, will consist of a noun and a verb, either definite or indefinite.   <br />There can be no affirmation or denial without a verb; for the expressions 'is', 'will be', 'was', 'is coming to be', and the like are verbs according to our definition, since besides their specific meaning they convey the notion of time. <br />Thus the primary affirmation and denial are 'as follows: 'man is', 'man is not'. <br />Next to these, there are the propositions: <br />'not-man is', 'not-man is not'. Again we have the propositions: 'every man is, 'every man is not', 'all that is not-man is', 'all that is not-man is not'. <br />The same classification holds good with regard to such periods of time as lie outside the present.   <br />When the verb 'is' is used as a third element in the sentence, there can be positive and negative propositions of two sorts. <br />Thus in the sentence 'man is just' the verb 'is' is used as a third element, call it verb or noun, which you will. <br />Four propositions, therefore, instead of two can be formed with these materials. Two of the four, as regards their affirmation and denial, correspond in their logical sequence with the propositions which deal with a condition of privation; the other two do not correspond with these.   <br />I mean that the verb 'is' is added either to the term 'just' or to the term 'not-just', and two negative propositions are formed in the same way. <br />Thus we have the four propositions. Reference to the subjoined table will make matters clear: <br /> A. Affirmation     B. DenialMan is just        Man is not just    /  X /   D. Denial           C. Affirmation <br />Not every man is not-just        Every man is not-just Yet here it is not possible, in the same way as in the former case, that the propositions joined in the table by a diagonal line should both be true; though under certain circumstances this is the case.   We have thus set out two pairs of opposite propositions; there are moreover two other pairs, if a term be conjoined with 'not-man', the latter forming a kind of subject. Thus:<br /> A."                                 B." <br />Not-man is just              Not-man is no<br />    /<br />  X<br />        D.   /         C." <br />Not-man is not not-just   Not-man is not-just <br />This is an exhaustive enumeration of all the pairs of opposite propositions that can possibly be framed.<br />Trinity<br />21.9.09<br />