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  1. 1. Aristotle of Stagira The First Principles of Knowledge, Science and Art
  2. 2. 384-322 B. C.
  3. 3. <ul><li>Was born in Stagira, Chalcidice </li></ul><ul><li>Son of Nicomachus, a physician </li></ul><ul><li>Attended Plato’s Academy for about 20 years </li></ul><ul><li>Founded the Lyceum , his own philosophical school, later called Peripatos </li></ul><ul><li>Tutored Alexander The Great </li></ul>Archaeological Museum, Palermo, Sicily
  4. 4. ‘ Aristotle tutoring Alexander’, J. L. G. Ferris (1895) Aristotle’s opini on of his pupil’s philosophical ability is unknown, but in later years their relationship was distant.
  5. 5. Intellectual and Philosophical Interests <ul><li>Logic and Metaphysics </li></ul><ul><li>Nature, Life and Mind </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics, Politics, Art </li></ul>
  6. 6. His Works <ul><li>Among Aristotle’s works are </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Categories, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>De interpretatione </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prior Analytics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Posterior Analytics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Metaphysics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>De anima </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>De partibus animalium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nicomachean Ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Politics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rhetoric </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poetics </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Intellectual Background: Plato and Aristotle ‘ The School of Athens’, Rapahel Sanzio (1510) <ul><li>Plato (left) is carrying a copy of his Timaeus , and pointing upwards, which symbolizes his concern with the eternal and immutable Forms, the realm of ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>Aristotle (right) is carrying a copy of his Nicomachean Ethics , and keeping his hand down, which symbolizes his concern with the temporal and mutable world. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>In many respects, Aristotle is reacting against the doctrines of his teacher Plato. </li></ul><ul><li>One major difference is that Aristotle believed in the possibility of achieving true knowledge of reality. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Plato thought that true knowledge resided in the eternal world of the Forms or Ideas which is the realm of true Reality (Being). The only possible way to grasp that knowledge was to transcend the perceptual and sensible world of the matter (Becoming). </li></ul><ul><li>Aristotle thought that it is possible to achieve knowledge in the material world. In order to know it is necessary to explain the first principles or causes for the change (Becoming) of the phenomena in the material world. </li></ul>Knowledge and/of Reality
  10. 10. On the Nature of Knowledge <ul><li>“ We consider that we have unqualified knowledge of anything (as contrasted with the accidental knowledge of the sophist) when we believe that we know (1) that the cause from which the facts results is the cause of that fact , and (2) that the fact cannot be otherwise.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Posterior Analytics , 71b9-13 </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Aristotle’s Metaphysics <ul><li>Every matter looks for its form </li></ul><ul><li>He was concerned with understanding the principle of change from potentiality to actuality through reason ( logos ) </li></ul><ul><li>In this change intervene four causes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Material cause: matter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficient cause: agent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal cause: form/shape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Final cause: purpose </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Poetics <ul><li>Aristotle develops a theory of tragedy </li></ul><ul><li>It also contains an aesthetic theory of literature and fine arts </li></ul><ul><li>Proposes a different concept of Mimesis </li></ul><ul><li>Unlike Plato, grants tragedy and fine arts with a transcendental dimension </li></ul>
  13. 13. Mimesis <ul><li>Plato thought that art was a mimetic art, therefore incapable of achieving true knowledge of reality because it was a copy of a copy of a copy, thrice removed from the authentic Reality of Being. For Plato, mimesis is copy. </li></ul><ul><li>Aristotle thought that mimesis was not a slavish copy of reality but re-presentation or creation ( poiesis ). </li></ul>
  14. 14. Universal Knowledge <ul><li>“ Designed according to probability, the fiction of the Poetics is also a construction of events or of disparate details according to how these events or details generally occur. Representing a probable instance, the completed tragedy constitutes an example or paradigm (Cf. Rhetoric , 2.20.2ff.). But unlike Plato’s Paradigm —the invisible original according to which the sensible image is patterned—Aristotle’s paradigm, represented by the poet and frequently used by the orator, embodies the universal in a sequence of events or assembly of details because it demonstrates the general rule. And it is as a consequence of satisfying this logical condition that the poet’s fiction proves to be more philosophical than the historian’s account.” </li></ul><ul><li>— Kathy Eden, Poetic and Legal Fiction in Aristotelian Tradition , p.70 </li></ul>
  15. 15. Aristotle’s Lexicon <ul><li>Matter </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Reason </li></ul><ul><li>Causes </li></ul><ul><li>First Principles </li></ul><ul><li>Mimesis </li></ul><ul><li>Universal </li></ul><ul><li>Particular </li></ul><ul><li>Poiesis </li></ul><ul><li>Poetry </li></ul><ul><li>Art </li></ul>
  16. 16. Glossary <ul><li>Akrasia : weakness of will: knowing what is best, but still choosing to do something else. Unlike Plato, Aristotle believes that weakness of will dies genuinely occur. </li></ul><ul><li>Eudaimon ía : happiness. For Aristotle this was not a transient blissful mental state, but rather flourishing over the course of a whole life. </li></ul><ul><li>Ergon : the characteristic function of anything. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Glossary <ul><li>Golden Mean : Aristotle’s doctrine that right action lies between two extremes. </li></ul><ul><li>Phronimos : the man of practical wisdom or prudence who is sensitive to particular circumstances and is a good judge of what to do. </li></ul><ul><li>Virtue : a disposition to behave in a way that will make you a good person. </li></ul>