Aristotle's Metaphysics Zeta Discussion

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Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2008 11:38 pm
Aristotle's Metaphysics Zeta Discussion


I thought it would be interesting if I opened up a discussion dealing with text translation of Metaphysics Zeta. I have linked the first chapter of zeta (not even a page long) so that everyone has access to the same material and translation.

Zeta 1 - page 1
http://i29.tinypic.com/2uyshft.jpg
Zeta 1 - page 2
http://i29.tinypic.com/24wrceq.jpg

"We speak in many ways of what is, i.e. the ways distinguished earlier in our work on the several ways in which things are spoken of. On one hand it signifies what a thing is and a this, and on the other of what quality or quantity or any other thing thus predicated." (1028 a10-13)

So basically, we speak of many ways of being, or more precisely substance. We even talked about it in categories. Being (i.e. substance) can be viewed as "a thing" (what a thing is) or a predicate of a thing (a this) So "being" is the thing (itself) or a predicate (particular)of that thing (rather, something that gives information on the subject, but is not the subject itself.)

So take for example a bronze sphere. Substance could be either be "the bronze sphere" (the aggregate thing) or "that which is bronzen." (the attribute of the thing)
 
chandler phil
 
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 12:58 am
@VideCorSpoon,
In response to your post, does this example relate?:

Socrates is mortal
Socrates is Plato's teacher (or maybe Socrates is Socrates would less questionable)

Socrates is mortal as in it is a characteristic of Socrates that he is mortal but that doesn't mean that Mortal = Socrates by any means. On the other hand, Socrates is Plato's teacher refers to the identity of Socrates. So Plato's teacher = Socrates is true. Then, one is a characteristic of the thing and one is the thing itself maybe?

So the first is an example of predicate and the second identity?
 
Arjen
 
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 01:11 am
@VideCorSpoon,
I always laugh at this part of Aristotles "meta" physics. He is contradicting himself even in one page. He is pointing to something and then he boldly states that he isn't. In combination with VideCorSpoon's quote, ook at this one:

Arie wrote:

Indeed the question that was, is, and always will be asked, and always will cause difficulty - that is, the question "What is being?" - is the question "What is substance?" This is that some say is one, some more than one; that some say is finite in number, some infinite. And so we too we must consider chiefly and primarily and (so to say) what it is that is in this way.


So, what happened to the "quality" of things? WHat happened to psyche? What happened to the primary mover? Aristotle says different things on this subject here and there. I guess in this case (as in most others) it boils down to the question: "What do you see in his words?"

I, personally see in his work a sort of covering up of many triths. I, personally see in his work many things that the church has been saying for centuries and which has caused much suffering. In his works Aristotle names certain difficulties and then explains them in a way that nothing is explained, but that one would be inclined to look in a different direction. Sand has been trown in the readers eyes. However it is easier to see the sand when reading Aristotle then when merely confronted with the sand. That explains to me why Aristotle was made illegal by the church.

So; is it true that the "quality" which is called transcendental (or a priori) does not exist, apart from in the first mover?
 
chandler phil
 
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 01:28 am
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
.....In his works Aristotle names certain difficulties and then explains them in a way that nothing is explained, but that one would be inclined to look in a different direction. Sand has been trown in the readers eyes. However it is easier to see the sand when reading Aristotle then when merely confronted with the sand. That explains to me why Aristotle was made illegal by the church.

So; is it true that the "quality" which is called transcendental (or a priori) does not exist, apart from in the first mover?



Aristotle was made illegal by the church? I did not know this. When did this happen? I'm not well versed in church history but as far as I know one of the important tasks for Aquinas was reconciling christian theology with aristotelian philosophy. Are you referring to a time after Aquinas then? I'm sure that the church didn't like some of the stuff he had to say but I was also under the impression that what Descartes meditations were against was the rampant appeal to authority (If Aristotle said it then it is true) that was so prevalent during that time.

Regardless, I think it would be best to give him the benefit of the doubt. As the saying goes, We stand on the shoulders of giants. Sure he didn't get everything right and at times he was seemingly blatantly wrong or contradicted himself, but...where would be without him? It's hard to say I suppose but I have to assume he had good intentions. Smile
 
Arjen
 
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 01:44 am
@VideCorSpoon,
I have heard the same thing of Aquinas. I think, however, that it was not offcial work; meaning that it was not officially the church paying him for the work. The works of Aristotle were outlawed from the moment the works were "rediscovered" untill the enlightenment. That is why "secret circles" in universities discussed Aristotle instead of openly in classrooms. Spinoza for instance was damned after his death for pointing to nature as "God" and "reason" (which is in any man) as the way to learn how to act like "God" (in self preservation; for that which is perfect preserves itself indefinately). Well, I could name a whole list of people being intimidated or killed by the inquisition but I will not. I just hope this has added something for you. Smile
 
chandler phil
 
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 01:47 am
@Arjen,
haha yeah I'm definitely not saying that the church wasn't crazy. I just assumed that Aristotle was something of a big deal for the church.

Now that I think about it, I seem to remember that what the church did have it had used for its theology and then, when the writings that the Muslim world had kept intact surfaced, they had Aquinas attempt to reconcile those newly discovered writings with church theology. But again, maybe I'm wrong. I agree that the church was keen on damning anyone that disagreed but I thought they were pretty fond of Aristotle.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 01:55 am
@VideCorSpoon,
They are; but it was not voiced then. Itwas made illegal.l
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 08:56 am
@Arjen,
 
chandler phil
 
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 09:41 am
@VideCorSpoon,
I was just under the impression that Aristotle was bringing up the distinction to move on to talk of substance (the thing in itself?). So he begins by making the distinction:

the substance - socrates is socrates
the predication - socrates is a man, mortal, lover of wine, etc.

so those qualities of socrates not tied to his substance depend on his substance, but his substance does not depend on them (could he still be socrates without loving wine?)

is that not what he's doing?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Fri 2 May, 2008 11:58 am
@chandler phil,
Chandler,

I agree with you in that Aristotle is discerning between two different accounts of substance.

Aristotle does this throughout the entire text which is really confusing, which may tie into what Arjen thinks about Aristotle, in that he is always contradicting himself. As soon as you read into chapter 2, Aristotle posits even more accounts of substance (i.e. that it seems to belong to bodies, geometric shapes, etc.), and really doesn't arrive at any really solid conclusions until zeta 10!!! This is basically a transcript of Aristotle troubleshooting the issue and writing down his misconceptions as he goes along.

But anyway, your impression is right, and I agree with you. But I think the issue is in your conception of the thing itself and its predicates with the Socrates example.

For substance at this point, Socrates is Socrates is fine. A rock is a rock, a tree is a tree, an apple is an apple.

That Socrates is a man, mortal, lover of wine is problematic. These seem to be incidental properties of a substance (at this point), that is, they are not primary attributes. Aristotle is seeking primary substance in a primary sense, like the physical attributes of Socrates that are immediately apparent.

That attributes depend on substance, but substance not depend on attributes? You are exactly right on in your deduction and I completely agree with you. That ties in with the second paragraph where Aristotle stabs at the heart of the matter, the underling substance.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Fri 2 May, 2008 01:27 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
I think you are both a bit off in this case. I think Aristotle's opinion in this matter sets matter apart from a thing-in-itself which has the shape and form of the object (extension), but is not the object we percieve. He then adds to this thing-in-itself a "metaphysical" something which is part thought. That leaves us with a physical thing and a metaphysical thing. The physical thing has extensions but is not the essence of what is percieved. In reality this "thing-in-itself" has extension (but other than we percieve) and is also not really solid (metaphysical). It is a really strange thing; this thing-in-itself of Aristotle..
 
 

 
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