• Metaphysician Undercover
    12.2k
    No, things do not place themselves in species, nor was that my claim. I said that species are defined by objective commonalities. We decide which commonalities define a category, but, having decided that, whether a new object is an instance of the category is an objective question, with a right and wrong answer.Dfpolis

    Since you've just deferred the issue into a question of what it means to be "objective", an effective evasion, instead of addressing the question head on, I don't see any point to continuing. I mean how would you ground the supposed "right and wrong" of your claimed objectivity? Would you assume that right and wrong is what is agreed upon by human convention, or what corresponds to some independent form? If it's the former, then you are just saying the same thing as me, the "form" which is "the species", is a construct of human convention.

    This is a confused, as it is on the basis of intrinsic properties that an organism fits or does not fit into one of the categories we have defined. If it has 6 legs and a segmented body, it is an insect. If it has scaled wings, it belongs to the order lepidoptera, etc.Dfpolis

    I don't think you are properly understanding "intrinsic property". Any property which inheres within a thing is intrinsic to that thing, even if it is accidental in relation to the category or species that the thing is judged as being in. We judge the category by what is deemed as essential to that category. So many properties which are intrinsic and essential to thing itself, are accidental in relation to the category, and therefore do not enter into the judgement of whether the thing belongs to the category or not.

    Therefore, that the properties are intrinsic to the organism is accidental to the judgement. What is necessary or essential, is that the described properties correspond with the defined essential properties. The fact that this is the case is evidenced by the possibility of mistake. A mistaken description will allow the organism to be placed in the category regardless of whether the affirmed property actually is intrinsic to the organism. So the possibility of a wrong classification is actually evidence that whether or not the property actually is intrinsic to the organism, is irrelevant. All that is relevant is the description of the organism and the definition of the species. And when mistake is exposed, either the description is judged as wrong or the definition is judged as wrong, and what is actually inherent, or intrinsic within the organism still remains irrelevant.

    Nothing can have contradicting properties. Either it has a property, or if does not.Dfpolis

    What I said was that "members" can have contradicting properties. So, for example I can have a property which is contradictory to a property which you have, and we can still be members of the same species. This indicates that the judgement is not based on "inherent properties". Rather, it is based on essential properties, which are provided by the definition. If you and I are both judged to have those essential properties, we are members of that species, regardless of all the various properties which are said to be intrinsic to you, and intrinsic to me.

    If we have two things with the identical form, they are two (different) in virture of being made out of different instances of stuff. If we take a batch of plastic and make different kinds of things with it, they are not different because they are plastic, but because they have different forms.Dfpolis

    There is no such thing as two things with the same form. That is the point of the law of identity. A thing's form is the same as itself, and since all things are unique, no two things have the same form. "Form" refers to "what the thing is". And, in order that two things which appear to be similar or even the same, yet are clearly distinct, can actually be understood as distinct, they must each have a distinct "what the thing is". If they didn't each have a distinct "what the thing is", it would be impossible to distinguish them from one another, and by the fact that they cannot be distinguished one from the other, we'd have to conclude that they are not two distinct things but really one and the same thing.

    Therefore a thing's "form" as "what the thing is", must be unique and particular to the thing itself. And there is no such thing as two things with the same form. We place two things into the same category, or type, and under Platonist principles we'd call the category or type itself a "form", but this is not the same use of "form" as the "form" which a material object has.
  • Dfpolis
    1.3k
    an effective evasion, instead of addressing the question head onMetaphysician Undercover
    Don't you realize that this kind of hostile language, with the implication of bad faith, is what discourages dialog with you? You have insights to share, but the tone of many of your posts invites defensiveness and counterattack rather than an open exchange of views. We can disagree in good faith.

    I mean how would you ground the supposed "right and wrong" of your claimed objectivity?Metaphysician Undercover
    It is simple. For example, if we encounter an organism with four or eight legs instead of six, or without a segmented body, it would be wrong (an intellectual, not a moral, error) to "assign it" to the insect category because it does not meet the agreed upon definition. The judgement of error depends on comparing (1) the conventional (human generated) definition of "insect" with (2) the objective (intrinsic) properties of the organism, e.g. having eight legs.

    If it's the former, then you are just saying the same thing as me, the "form" which is "the species", is a construct of human convention.Metaphysician Undercover
    Here is the source of confusion. Aristotle's eidos ("form") has two meanings. One is a being's actuality (as opposed to its hyle/potency), the other is the universal concept this actuality elicits. Thus, when he says that Callias and Socrates are “the same in form; for their form is indivisible” (Metaphysics VII, 8, 1034a5), he does not mean they have the same actuality, or the same Platonic Idea, but that they elicit the same concept, <human>.

    Still, Aristotle seems not to recognize that the same organisms can elicit different species concepts. As I explained in my two Studia Gilsoniana articles on metaphysics and evolution, there are at least 26 different ways of defining biological species and at least five ways of defining philosophical species. Each has a basis in, but is not dictated by, reality. Rather, the taxonomist chooses what type of properties to base classification on.

    Different objective taxonomic schemes are possible because organisms are intelligible, rather than instances of actual (Platonic) ideas. When humans actualize potentials, we further specify them. We decide what to chisel from the marble or mold from the clay. We also choose which notes of intelligibility in an organism, or in a collection of organisms, to attend to and so actualize. The notes of intelligibility are the organism's. The choice of which to actualize is ours. So, the resulting concept (e.g. a species concept) is both objective and subjective.

    Any property which inheres within a thing is intrinsic to that thing, even if it is accidental in relation to the category or species that the thing is judged as being in.Metaphysician Undercover
    Of course. I made no contrary claim.

    We judge the category by what is deemed as essential to that category.Metaphysician Undercover
    That is what I said -- here and in my Studia Gilsoniana articles.

    Therefore, that the properties are intrinsic to the organism is accidental to the judgement.Metaphysician Undercover
    No. It is essential that the classification be based on intrinsic properties once the category is defined. If it were not, there would be no connection between the organism and the category.

    All that is relevant is the description of the organism and the definition of the species.Metaphysician Undercover
    No. For a correct classification, the description must not merely exist, it must be accurate -- reflecting intrinsic properties as they are.

    What I said was that "members" can have contradicting properties. So, for example I can have a property which is contradictory to a property which you haveMetaphysician Undercover
    What you are talking about is contrary, not contradictory, properties. Contradictories negate each other. Contraries are opposites, but do not rule each other out.

    If you and I are both judged to have those essential properties, we are members of that species, regardless of all the various properties which are said to be intrinsic to you, and intrinsic to me.Metaphysician Undercover
    Yes.

    There is no such thing as two things with the same form.Metaphysician Undercover
    Again, the confusion is the result of the two meanings of form (see above). While no two things have the same actuality. Two things may elicit identical ideas.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.2k
    It is not, but believe whatever you need to. I will leave it there.Fooloso4

    You obviously have not been paying attention to what I said Fooloso4, so let me repeat it very succinctly.

    In On The Heavens Bk 1, Aristotle attends to the Pythagorean idea (mostly as presented by Plato), that the heavenly bodies exist as eternal circular motions. The logic of eternal circular motions is valid, and cannot be refuted directly, and that is why he says that those premises lead to that conclusion.

    The problem which Aristotle reveals is with the Pythagorean conception of eternal, divine, "bodies". So the Pythagorean conception has a division between a "natural body" and an "unnatural body", as explained in the chapter you referred, chapter 2. The Pythagorean argument shows that natural bodies must have an underlying unnatural body, and this is the eternal body of the eternal circular motion. What Aristotle objects to is that the underlying unnatural thing is properly called a "body". This is why he closes chapter 2 with "...there is something beyond the bodies..." as a replacement for the Pythagorean proposal of a "divine bodily substance".

    So he spends most of the rest of Bk 1 providing many reasons why there cannot be a such an unnatural, divine, eternal body. Ch 5, circular motion in relation to infinity and the body. Conclusion: "We have now shown that the body which moves in a circle is not endless or infinite, but has its limit." 273a, 5. Ch 6: An infinite body is impossible. Ch 7: A continuation of the discussion concerning the relationship between "infinite" and "body". Conclusion: "From these arguments then it is clear that the body of the universe is not infinite" 276a, 17. Ch 8, he shows why local motion cannot be continued to infinity, and why there cannot be more than one universe. Ch 9, The whole universe as one must be a sensible body. "Now the whole included within the extreme circumference must be composed of all physical and sensible body, because there neither is nor can come into being, any body outside the heaven." 278b, 23. From here, Chs 10, 11, and 12 are spent demonstrated that the whole, which is the universe, has been generated, and will in time be corrupted. Therefore the universe is not eternal.

    From this we can say that Aristotle has demonstrated that the entire universe is composed of natural bodies, and is itself a natural body. There are no unnatural, or divine bodies, nothing in the universe is moving in an eternal circular motion, because all has been generated and will be destroyed, consisting of natural bodies.

    However, he doesn't rule out the possibility of an underlying eternal substance which is not bodily. In fact, he continues to promote the idea of eternal "things", only insisting that they are not bodily. We see this in On the Soul when he addresses the idea of a soul moving a body in a sort of eternal circular motion, as proposed by Plato and the Pythagoreans. He rejects this idea (On the Soul Bk1,Ch 3) "Now in the first place it is a mistake to say that the soul is a spatial magnitude" (407a 3). Further, he rejects the idea that if the thinking of the soul was like a motion, such a motion, if it was circular, would not be eternal. Furthermore, there is not even any reason to think that such a motion would be circular. Therefore the soul, as something eternal, must be represented in some way other than as a spatial magnitude or a spatial motion (circular).

    We see this idea further developed in Metaphysics Bk 8-9. Here, he very much speaks of "eternal substance". And such a substance is necessarily prior to the material existence of bodies, as the cause of them. But this eternal substance can have no matter or potential, for the reasons discussed in "On the Heavens. This would mean it is susceptible to change, and is therefore generated and will be destroyed, like any body. Therefore we conclude that eternal things are purely actual, forms, having no matter or potential, and such a substance is prior to the substance of material bodies as the cause of existence of these.

    It’s the use of the word ‘substance’ especially when said to ‘immaterial substance’ . That’s what I say is oxymoronic. But then, ‘substance’ is not the word that Aristotle would have used. (Actually wasn’t it in this context where the word ‘dunamis’ was used?)Wayfarer

    Read the reply above to Fooloso4, if you are interested in this. "Substance" is Aristotle's replacement for "body". He demonstrates how no body can be eternal, unnatural, or divine, by showing that all bodies consist of matter, therefore change, and ultimately are generated and destroyed. He effectively annuls the ancient separation Paine refers to, between earthly bodies and heavenly bodies. In On the Heavens, Aristotle shows why all the properties which were commonly attributed to the divine, eternal "bodies", could not actually be the properties of bodies. Therefore he moved to dissolve this division between heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. The heavenly bodies must be considered as an extension of earthly bodies, and if there is something divine or eternal, it must lie beyond all bodies.

    However, he demonstrates in "Metaphysics" how substance is primarily formal, rather than material. And he also show why it is necessary to conclude that there is an actuality which is prior to material existence, as cause of material bodies. So he argues for the reality of this divine, eternal "substance", which must be substantial, actual, and real, but not a body or material. Since form is actuality and substance, this allows that there is an immaterial substance, or form, which is prior to the existence of material bodies.

    Aristotle used ousia in numerous places regarding the 'immaterial',if you are suggesting they were always connected with matter.Paine

    Check what I wrote above to Fooloso4. "Substance" to me is Aristotle's replacement for "body" when speaking of the divine or eternal. What he saw was the problem discussed above, the commonly cited separation between natural bodies (earthly) and divinely bodies (heavenly). He moved to dissolve this separation by enforcing consistency in the definition of "body". Fundamentally this is the principle that all bodies are spatial, and consist of matter.

    At the same time, he realized, as explained in "Metaphysics" that the substance (what validates or grounds something as real) of a body is better understood as its form rather than its matter. The form of the thing is what makes the thing what it is, rather than something else, and this is more properly understood as the first principle of existence of the thing, rather than the matter which provides the potential for the thing to become something else.

    So he has effectively removed the designation of "divine" and "eternal" from the bodies which are heavenly bodies (that the heavenly bodies were gods is a principle from ancient theology), making all bodies natural bodies, but this did not remove the need for something divine and eternal. So he still needed a principle to ground the divine, the eternal, and this was substance now, rather than body.
  • Heiko
    519
    There is a potential for "1" or "2" or any number of things only as long as you or someone else is able to count and there is something to be counted and those things are visible and each one distinguishable. Counting them actualizes the potential.Fooloso4

    To me this seems like an outright contradiction. You create a space of number potentials waiting to be turned into numbers. This is a bad speculation. Especially for the greeks who ran into the problem that their number-ratios could not express certain lengths appearing in real geometry. So there is a real length, or a real are but no number or ratio that can express those.
  • Fooloso4
    5.3k
    You create a space of number potentials waiting to be turned into numbers.Heiko

    No, you have things. They are not waiting to be counted but can be.

    I am not arguing in favor of their concept of number, only trying to explain it. It has well known limits and problems.
  • Heiko
    519
    I am not arguing in favor of their concept of number, only trying to explain it.Fooloso4

    Whose concept would that be you are talking about?

    Counting them actualizes the potential.Fooloso4

    As to me this sounds like a duplication of the idea.
  • Paine
    1.9k
    From this we can say that Aristotle has demonstrated that the entire universe is composed of natural bodies, and is itself a natural body. There are no unnatural, or divine bodies, nothing in the universe is moving in an eternal circular motion, because all has been generated and will be destroyed, consisting of natural bodies.Metaphysician Undercover

    This separation of what is natural from what is divine runs counter to the way ousia is presented as different in kind but all connected to the same ultimate cause and the reason we can speak of 'being as being'. Your statement does explain why you reject Metaphysics Book Lambda and the immortality of the active intellect in De Anima, Book 3.

    It does, however, put you in the position of explaining away discussions of ousia where the difference in kind is focused upon. For example, Metaphysics Book Epsilon:

    The primary science, by contrast, is concerned with things that are both separable and immovable. Now all causes are necessarily eternal, and these most of all. For they are the causes of the divine beings that are perceptible. — Metaphysics, 1026a10

    Your thesis has Aristotle saying a lot of things that don't mean what they seem to mean.
  • Fooloso4
    5.3k
    Whose concept would that be you are talking about?Heiko

    The ancient Greeks. Two key points:

    No concept of zero.

    One is not a number. The first number is two. One is the unit of the count. We retain something of this in that when we say that there are a number of things it is never one thing.

    Counting them actualizes the potential.
    — Fooloso4

    As to me this sounds like a duplication of the idea.
    Heiko

    You might look at it this way: there are some items we cannot see or touch in a dark room. How many items are there? Potentially there might be any number of things.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.2k
    Don't you realize that this kind of hostile language, with the implication of bad faith, is what discourages dialog with you? You have insights to share, but the tone of many of your posts invites defensiveness and counterattack rather than an open exchange of views. We can disagree in good faith.Dfpolis

    My apologies. I truly attempt to avoid hostile language. Sometimes I instinctively reflect it back, but that is not the case here. I think that when the language of the other person shows what appears to be intentional evasion of important points, I believe it is my duty to point out the intentionality involved. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. However, you can attempt to point out to the horse that refusing to drink is not wise. The horse is not rational so this probably will not be successful. The human being is rational, so pointing out incidents of intentional evasion, refusal, and denial, can be successful, though it can be received as hostile or confrontational. That is the case when we point out another's bad habits, it is often received as hostility. So I'm sorry for the tone, and I'm glad you appreciate insight.

    It is simple. For example, if we encounter an organism with four or eight legs instead of six, or without a segmented body, it would be wrong (an intellectual, not a moral, error) to "assign it" to the insect category because it does not meet the agreed upon definition. The judgement of error depends on comparing (1) the conventional (human generated) definition of "insect" with (2) the objective (intrinsic) properties of the organism, e.g. having eight legs.Dfpolis

    This does not suffice. There are exceptions, mutations, and other problems which lend themselves to error. Furthermore, the important point is that (2) is a description. It is not the intrinsic property itself, but a description, an observation. So this is what you appear to be avoiding, the human aspect of (2). We do not take the intrinsic properties, the properties which inhere within the thing itself, and compare them to the definition, we take a description and compare the description. And, error is possible in the description. Since error is possible in the description, it is very clear that it is not the case that we are actually comparing intrinsic properties, we are comparing a description which is not the same as intrinsic properties, it is what is said to be intrinsic properties.

    Here is the source of confusion. Aristotle's eidos ("form") has two meanings. One is a being's actuality (as opposed to its hyle/potency), the other is the universal concept this actuality elicits. Thus, when he says that Callias and Socrates are “the same in form; for their form is indivisible” (Metaphysics VII, 8, 1034a5), he does not mean they have the same actuality, or the same Platonic Idea, but that they elicit the same concept, <human>.Dfpolis

    Yes, I completely agree with this, and it is exactly what I have been saying. Some of the others, Wayfarer, and Fooloso4 I believe, do not accept this sense of "form" which is the actuality of the individual. They want to limit "form" to the universal, or type, as a Platonic "form".

    This creates a problem, because the Platonists here want to insist that this Platonic form, the type, or universal concept, has independent existence, in the Platonic way. But in the Aristotelian conceptual space it is only the "form" in the sense of the individual being's actuality, which has separate, independent existence, as the actuality of the the thing itself. The other sense of "form" has no actual independent existence, relying on the human mind for its actualization, as described in Bk. 9 Metaphysics.
    Still, Aristotle seems not to recognize that the same organisms can elicit different species concepts. As I explained in my two Studia Gilsoniana articles on metaphysics and evolution, there are at least 26 different ways of defining biological species and at least five ways of defining philosophical species. Each has a basis in, but is not dictated by, reality. Rather, the taxonomist chooses what type of properties to base classification on.

    Different objective taxonomic schemes are possible because organisms are intelligible, rather than instances of actual (Platonic) ideas. When humans actualize potentials, we further specify them. We decide what to chisel from the marble or mold from the clay. We also choose which notes of intelligibility in an organism, or in a collection of organisms, to attend to and so actualize. The notes of intelligibility are the organism's. The choice of which to actualize is ours. So, the resulting concept (e.g. a species concept) is both objective and subjective.
    Dfpolis

    We seem to be much in agreement here.

    No. It is essential that the classification be based on intrinsic properties once the category is defined. If it were not, there would be no connection between the organism and the category.Dfpolis

    There is no direct connection between the organism and the category. That is the point of Kantian metaphysics. The "phenomenon", or how the organism appears to the sensing subjects as observers, is intermediary. That's why I'm insisting that you are misusing, or misunderstanding "intrinsic property". Since the judgement is based on the organism's relation to us, as external observers, then the properties which are being judged are a feature of an external relation of the organism, it's relation to the observer.

    No. For a correct classification, the description must not merely exist, it must be accurate -- reflecting intrinsic properties as they are.Dfpolis

    Again, this is the Kantian point. We have no access to the intrinsic properties "as they are", all we have is "as they appear to us". Therefore the best we can get is to be consistent with how the properties appear to us.

    But Plato and Aristotle opened a whole different can of worms, suggesting that with logic we can get beyond "as they appear to us", to make some logic based conclusions about the true actual forms of particular things. Kant does not go this far. The first thing to recognize is that there is a realm of intelligible forms, as the actuality of the thing itself, which we must come to understand directly through reasoning rather than through sensing. Kant seems to deny this possibility of a direct approach to the independent forms through logic.

    What you are talking about is contrary, not contradictory, properties. Contradictories negate each other. Contraries are opposites, but do not rule each other out.Dfpolis

    Contradictory properties are opposing properties, like red and not red. They do not actually negate each other in Aristotelian conceptual space, because they cannot exist at the same time in the same subject, in order to actually do that. It is simply disallowed that we make contradictory predications of the same subject, by the law of non-contradiction. Perhaps in Hegelian conceptual space contradictories might negate each other, but I think this is more correctly understood as sublation, and not a true negation. But this would imply that they are not true opposites.

    This separation of what is natural from what is divine runs counter to the way ousia is presented as different in kind but all connected to the same ultimate cause and the reason we can speak of 'being as being'.Paine

    I don't understand what you mean here. When Aristotle speaks of being as being, he refers to the question of why a particular being is the thing which it is (what it is) rather than something else. This points to the form of the individual, and the unique nature of the particular being, therefore specific cause rather than some "ultimate cause".

    It does, however, put you in the position of explaining away discussions of ousia where the difference in kind is focused upon. For example, Metaphysics Book Epsilon:

    The primary science, by contrast, is concerned with things that are both separable and immovable. Now all causes are necessarily eternal, and these most of all. For they are the causes of the divine beings that are perceptible.
    — Metaphysics, 1026a10
    Paine

    I have to say, that the difference in kind is not what is being focused on here, rather particular, individual differences are what is focused on. This is how he starts 1026a:
    If then all natural things are analogous to the snub in their nature---e.g. nose, eye,face, flesh, bone, and, in general, animal; leaf root , bark, and, in general, plant; (for none of these can be defined without reference to movement---they always have matter), it is clear how we must seek and define the 'what'' in the case of natural objects, and also that it belongs to the student of nature to study even soul in a certain sense, i.e. so much of it as it is not independent of matter.

    So, notice your quote refers to "things that are both separable and immovable". Kinds, as universals, concepts or abstractions, are not separable according to Aristotle, their actuality is dependent on the human mind (Bk 9 Metaphysics).

    Physics, he says deals with things that are separable and movable. These are the individual material things. Things which are separable and immovable are individuals but immaterial, like the individual soul. In the context he is talking about individual things, with matter, and there is nothing here to make us think that he is talking about kinds. He is saying that this must be a theoretical science which approaches separate immovable things. But he implies that these things are individuals, in the same way that a soul is an individual, they are not kinds.
  • Fooloso4
    5.3k
    Aristotle's eidos ("form") has two meanings. One is a being's actuality (as opposed to its hyle/potency),Dfpolis

    Form is the being at work of an ousia. Form acts on, it actualizes a thing's potential. The form, the "what- it -is" of Socrates is not Socrates. Socrates is the ousia, not the form. The form, the what it is of Socrates, is man.

    That is not simply the concept man but what he is by nature.

    [Added:

    The term "being" ... denotes first the " what " of a thing, i.e. the individuality ... when we describe what it is, we say ... that it is "a man" or "a god" (1028a)]
  • Paine
    1.9k

    I was not arguing that individuals were only what could be marked out as their kind.

    Aristotle refers to different kinds of ousia. You said that there was a division between kinds that was a critical departure from the holistic view Aristotle seems to aspire to.

    By the way, I will not respond to group replies from now on. If what I say is worth an effort, then it should be treated as such. if it should be blown off, just ignore it.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.2k
    Aristotle refers to different kinds of ousia. You said that there was a division between kinds that was a critical departure from the holistic view Aristotle seems to aspire to.Paine

    I don't understand this. I discussed primary and secondary substance earlier in the thread. What do you mean by "a division between kinds". That doesn't sound like something I said.
  • Heiko
    519
    You might look at it this way: there are some items we cannot see or touch in a dark room. How many items are there? Potentially there might be any number of things.Fooloso4

    Which is just half-as-bad as if I just start to count. What is it that I am counting there? From your description I would actualize some potential. I do not think this is the case:
    The idea of "twoness" which makes two things countable as "two" is really just responsible for the existence of the things as 2-countable. It is what makes the things 2-countable. It is not their two-countability.
  • Paine
    1.9k

    You said:

    There are no unnatural, or divine bodies, nothing in the universe is moving in an eternal circular motion, because all has been generated and will be destroyed, consisting of natural bodies.Metaphysician Undercover

    I quoted from Metaphysics, Book Epsilon:

    The primary science, by contrast, is concerned with things that are both separable and immovable. Now all causes are necessarily eternal, and these most of all. For they are the causes of the divine beings that are perceptible.
    — Metaphysics, 1026a10
    Paine

    Your thesis of a mortal Kosmos is so sharply different from Aristotle's' account of different kinds of ousia (substances) that the contradiction itself requires an explanation.

    Is it an esotericism designed to avoid persecution of the sort Socrates suffered? A kind of schizophrenia where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.2k
    Your thesis of a mortal Kosmos is so sharply different from Aristotle's' account of different kinds of ousia (substances) that the contradiction itself requires an explanation.Paine

    I don't see that you have a point Paine. And I'm having a hard time to understand what you are trying to say. Perhaps you could explain yourself better, but I'll try to explain myself.

    "Separable" in your quote means separate from matter, as Aristotle explained in that context. Theoretical studies deal with things separable. "Immovable" we can interpret as eternal, unchangeable. Physics deals with things separable, but movable. Mathematics deals with separable things, but whether or not they are immovable has not yet been made clear, he says, despite some claims that the things of mathematics are immovable.

    So he says there needs to be a "first science" that deals with things "which both exist separately and are immovable". This science can only be theoretical, and through it we might develop a proper understanding of whether or not the things of mathematics are immovable.

    Clearly, he is not referring to the Kosmos here, as what would be studied by this "first science", as he has spent the entirety of Bk 1, "On The Heavens" explaining why the Kosmos is of the category of things which physics deals with, separable and movable.

    Therefore, we need to look elsewhere, other than the Kosmos, to fulfill the needs of this first science. He calls the first science "theology", and states:
    We answer that if there is no substance other than those which are formed by nature, natural science will be the first science; but if there is an immovable substance, the science of this must be prior and must be first philosophy, and universal in this way, because it is first. — 1026a, 27-28

    That there necessarily is a first substance, separate from matter, and immovable is revealed later in Bk 9, when he explains why actuality is necessarily prior to potentiality. This implies that there is an actuality (substance) which is immaterial, as prior to the potentiality of matter. And, this first substance must be immovable because motion is a property of material things (explained in On The Heavens). As demonstrated in On The Heavens, the first substance cannot be bodily in any way, nor can it move like the things of the heavens. And, as stated in On the Soul, it cannot be represented as a spatial magnitude in any way. Nevertheless, the logic of Bk 9, "Metaphysics" demonstrates that there is a definite need to assume the reality of the first substance, which is not describable in the way that the Kosmos is.
  • Fooloso4
    5.3k
    What is it that I am counting there?Heiko

    That is the question. There is no count unless you know what you are counting. In response to the question "how many" is the question "how many what?"

    The idea of "twoness" which makes two things countableHeiko

    It is not the idea of twoness, it is the identification of the unit or one and the determination of how many of that unit are present or taken.
  • Paine
    1.9k

    I won't repeat last year's argument concerning your interpretation of De Anima Book 1. I will just leave this discussion by observing that it does not fit with Aristotle's view of Astronomy:

    For the nature of the stars is eternal, because it is a certain sort of substance, and the mover is eternal and prior to the moved, and what is prior to a substance must be a substance. It is evident, accordingly, that there must be this number of substances that are in their nature eternal and intrinsically immovable, and without magnitude (due to the cause mentioned earlier). It is evident, then, that the movers are substances, and that one of these is first and another second, in accord with the same order as the spatial movements of the stars. But when we come to the number of these spatial movements, we must investigate it on the basis of the mathematical science that is most akin to philosophy, namely, astronomy. For it is about substance that is perceptible but eternal that this produces its theoretical knowledge, whereas the others are not concerned with any substance at all—for example, the one concerned with numbers and geometry.
    — Metaphysics 1073a30, translated by C.D.C Reeve
  • Fooloso4
    5.3k
    Your thesis of a mortal Kosmos is so sharply different from Aristotle's' account of different kinds of ousia (substances) that the contradiction itself requires an explanation.Paine

    A few quotes from On the Heavens that support your claim:

    It is equally reasonable to assume that this body [primary body] will be ungenerated and indestructible ... (270a)

    The reasons why the primary body is eternal and not subject to increase or diminution, but unaging and unalterable and unmodified, will be clear from what has been said to any one who believes in our assumptions. (270b)

    We must show not only that the heaven is one,’ but also that more than one heaven is impossible, and, further, that, as exempt from decay and generation, the heaven is eternal. (277b)

    That the heaven as a whole neither came. into being nor admits of destruction, as some assert, but is one and eternal, with no end or beginning of its total duration, containing and embracing in itself the infinity of time, we may convince ourselves not only by the arguments already set forth but also by a consideration of the views of those who differ from us in providing for its generation. (283b)
  • Dfpolis
    1.3k
    So I'm sorry for the tone, and I'm glad you appreciate insight.Metaphysician Undercover
    No more need be said. :)

    This does not suffice. There are exceptions, mutations, and other problems which lend themselves to error.Metaphysician Undercover
    "To err is human." Still, the fact that we can recognize errors, means that we can grasp the truth. That is why science has a repeatability criterion. Results that can be repeatedly attained are not likely to be errors.

    the important point is that (2) is a descriptionMetaphysician Undercover
    No, intrinsic properties are not descriptions. They are what we seek to describe. If they were descriptions, descriptions would describe themselves, not aspects of nature. That is the error of Locke by a different name.

    (1) Intrinsic properties exist in the organism, not as a word string. Then, (2) by the identity of knower and known which is knowledge, they may exist in an observer as an integral set of concepts. Finally, (3) the observer may seek to codify and/or communicate knowledge of the observed object, and so create a third, and derivative, instantiation of the information intrinsic to the organism -- a description.

    we take a description and compare the descriptionMetaphysician Undercover
    We may do so if we trust the observer, but first-rate scientists much prefer to see the data, or even better, the object. When my brother Gary, a world-renowned biologist, wished to confirm the species of a scorpion (his specialty), he did not send a description, or even a picture, of the organism to the taxonomist, but the organism itself.

    There is no direct connection between the organism and the category. That is the point of Kantian metaphysics.Metaphysician Undercover
    I cannot agree. I associate Kant with profound and damaging confusion. He seems not to have read Aristotle or the Aristotelian Scholastics, for he does not know or comment on Aristotle's argument that knowledge requires the identity of knower and known: The knower being informed by the known is identically the known informing the knower. In more contemporary terms, the brain state encoding information about a sensed object is identically the modification of the brain by the action of the sensed object. This allows no separation of knower and known. (I made this point in the paper we are discussing.)

    The category is a concept, the actualization of notes of intelligibility intrinsic to its instances. We can see this in applications of the concept. If the instances were not able to elicit the category idea, we would be unable to judge them to be instances. Since they can elicit the concept in application, they can also elicit it in the first instance, in ideogenesis. Thus, the category depends on the intelligibility of its instances, as we agreed earlier.

    The "phenomenon", or how the organism appears to the sensing subjects as observers, is intermediary.Metaphysician Undercover
    No, it is not. It is the action of the sensed object on the sensing subject. Action is inseparable from the agent acting. E.g. when the builders stop building, building stops.

    Again, this is the Kantian point. We have no access to the intrinsic properties "as they are", all we have is "as they appear to us". Therefore the best we can get is to be consistent with how the properties appear to us.Metaphysician Undercover
    This reflects a long line of increasing confusion, starting with the Muslim commentators on Aristotle introducing the concept of representations, passing through Aquinas's intelligible species, Locke's ideas and ending in Kant's phenomena. It fundamentally misunderstands the nature of knowing as a partial identity between knower and known.

    Knowing is essentially relational. It is a partial identity as I explained above, and it is a subject-object relation, for there is no knowing without a knowing subject and a known object. Kant imagines the noumenon or ding an sich as the aspirational standard of "true" knowledge -- something that "real" knowledge would grasp, but we do not. This is utter and complete nonsense -- as absurd as square circles. Why? Because the idea of knowing without relating is self-contradictory. We can only know reality by relating to it, and we can only relate to it as it relates to us. This is as true for God in His divine omniscience as it is for us. Phenomena are not "intermediary". They do not stand between us and reality. Phenomena are us knowing reality. As I said in my article, qualia are the contingent forms of awareness.

    he first thing to recognize is that there is a realm of intelligible forms, as the actuality of the thing itself, which we must come to understand directly through reasoning rather than through sensing.Metaphysician Undercover
    We cannot understand forms unless they inform us, and they inform us, not directly as Plato thought, but via sensation. So, reasoning is based on information derived from sensation. Logic does not provide its own content. In fact, it, itself, is derived a posteriori, from sensory data.

    Contradictory properties are opposing properties, like red and not red.Metaphysician Undercover
    Read Aristotle on contraries.
  • Dfpolis
    1.3k
    Form is the being at work of an ousia. Form acts on, it actualizes a thing's potential. The form, the "what- it -is" of Socrates is not Socrates. Socrates is the ousia, not the form. The form, the what it is of Socrates, is man.Fooloso4
    As I said, eidos has two meanings: actuality (De Anima II, 1, 412a10) and the essential idea. e.g. <human>.
  • Fooloso4
    5.3k


    My intent is not to attribute some claim to you but to clarify for the reader.

    The standard translation 'actuality' is misleading. It can be understood to mean something real or existing. The Greek term enegeia, from ergon, is to be at work. It is not as if dunamis is not real or does not exist.

    In one sense, the eidos or form is what acts on the hyle or matter to form an ousia.

    In another, what it is to be the thing it is, its essence, is the form of an ousia. Man is the form of Socrates. But this is not just an idea, not just a way of categorizing, not just an answer to the question what. In order to answer that question, 'man' must be by nature something that distinguishes itself from all else.
  • Heiko
    519
    There is no count unless you know what you are counting. In response to the question "how many" is the question "how many what?"Fooloso4

    Numbers. But this doesn't seem to work if the existence of numbers would depend on the givenness of a count.
  • Dfpolis
    1.3k
    'man' must be by nature something that distinguishes itself from all else.Fooloso4
    Still, our concept <man>, while founded on reality, is also based on the properties we choose to attend to.
  • Fooloso4
    5.3k
    based on the properties we choose to attend to.Dfpolis

    Agreed. Both those we include and those we exclude.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.2k
    I won't repeat last year's argument concerning your interpretation of De Anima Book 1. I will just leave this discussion by observing that it does not fit with Aristotle's view of Astronomy:Paine

    It seems to me, that you base your claim that my interpretation does not fit with Aristotle's Astronomy on that one book of the Metaphysics. Clearly though, my claim is supported by both On the Heavens, and On the Soul, The argument in On The Heavens, against the idea that the heavenly bodies and their orbits are eternal, is lengthy, many faceted, and extensive, as I outlined. I do not understand why you dispute this. It's very clear.

    And, as I said in the earlier discussion, there are indications that this book of Metaphysics which you quote was not even written by Aristotle. It does not display his usual style, it is not consistent with the other work which is known to be his, and also it is a well known fact that the entire Metaphysics is a collection of material put together by his school, many years after his death.

    For the nature of the stars is eternal, because it is a certain sort of substance, and the mover is eternal and prior to the moved, and what is prior to a substance must be a substance.Paine

    This is a terrible translation, it provides a bunch of unsupported assertions (very un-Aristotelian), and it doesn't even make sense. It says that the stars are eternal, and there is something prior to the eternal stars which is "a certain sort of substance". Clearly, if there is something prior to the stars, then the stars cannot be eternal. Aristotle is not known for making illogical statements like that, and this is why it is doubtful that this part of the Metaphysics was actually produced by him.

    A few quotes from On the Heavens that support your claim:Fooloso4

    I've been through your out of context quotes already. This is where he is discussing the ideas of others, which he is refuting.

    The common name, too, which has been handed down from our distant ancestors even to our own day, seems to show that they conceived of it in this fashion which we have been expressing. The same ideas, one must believe, recur in men's minds not once or twice but again and again. And so, implying that the primary body is something else beyond earth, fire, air, and water, they gave the highest place a name of its own, aither, derived from the fact that it 'runs always' for an eternity of time. Anaxagoras however scandalously misuses this name, taking aither as equivalent to fire. — 270b, 16-20

    Those are the ideas of the others which are commonly accepted. That he is actually refuting these ideas, rather than supporting them becomes quite obvious if you pay attention to his arguments, rather than simply reading the assertions that he says others have made, and take them as what he is professing.

    And so, the conclusion of that chapter, Ch 5:

    We have now shown that the body which moves in a circle is not endless or infinite, but has its limit. — 273a, 5

    That the heaven as a whole neither came. into being nor admits of destruction, as some assert, but is one and eternal, with no end or beginning of its total duration, containing and embracing in itself the infinity of time, we may convince ourselves not only by the arguments already set forth but also by a consideration of the views of those who differ from us in providing for its generation. (283b)

    And here, you conveniently left out the conditional stated after this. It says that if this view is a possible one, and the view that the world is generated is shown to be impossible, then this would serve to convince us of this view. Of course, he proceeds to show that the view of the heaven as generated, is not only possible, but also more credible.
  • Fooloso4
    5.3k
    Therefore the movement of that which is divine must be eternal. But such is the heaven, viz. a divine body, and for that reason to it is given the circular body whose nature it is to move always in a circle. (286a10)

    That there is one heaven, then, only, and that it is ungenerated and eternal, and further that its movement is regular, has now been sufficiently explained. (289a8)
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.2k
    Still, the fact that we can recognize errors, means that we can grasp the truth.Dfpolis

    I don't think that this follows. This is because error, and mistake may be relative to some pragmatic principle of success. So to recognize an error is to recognize that the process was unsuccessful and this does not require any recognition of truth, only that the desired end was not brought to fruition. The same principle holds for what you say about science. Most often science is guided by pragmaticism rather than truth.

    No, intrinsic properties are not descriptions. They are what we seek to describe.Dfpolis

    You said that intrinsic properties are what is compared to the definition. This is incorrect, the description is what is compared. So there is a gap between the intrinsic properties, and what is compared with the definition. We cannot say that the intrinsic properties are compared.

    hen, (2) by the identity of knower and known which is knowledge, they may exist in an observer as an integral set of concepts.Dfpolis

    This is where our problem of misunderstanding each other lies.

    You recognize the difference between "form" as the concept, universal, abstraction, and "form" as the actuality of the individual. What exists in the mind of the knower is "form" in the sense of the abstraction, and what exists in the material individual is "form" in the sense of of the actuality of the individual. Yet you insist that the form in the knower is somehow the form of the known. They are two distinct senses of "form", how do you reconcile this?

    We may do so if we trust the observer, but first-rate scientists much prefer to see the data, or even better, the object. When my brother Gary, a world-renowned biologist, wished to confirm the species of a scorpion (his specialty), he did not send a description, or even a picture, of the organism to the taxonomist, but the organism itself.Dfpolis

    This doesn't really change the matter. Let's say that we compare the object with the definition of the species. We might ask, how is that comparison made. And we might conclude that questions are asked. Does it have x? Does it have y? Answering question like this is just a form of description. Don't you agree? By answering the questions, it has x, it does not have y, etc., a description is being made. Then a judgement is made as to whether this description fulfils the criteria of the definition.

    The knower being informed by the known is identically the known informing the knower. In more contemporary terms, the brain state encoding information about a sensed object is identically the modification of the brain by the action of the sensed object. This allows no separation of knower and known. (I made this point in the paper we are discussing.)Dfpolis

    This is not Aristotelian. The two distinct senses of "form" which you have acknowledged is Aristotelian. But, as I described above, your assertions that the form in the knower is the same as the form in the object is not consistent with this.

    No, it is not. It is the action of the sensed object on the sensing subject. Action is inseparable from the agent acting. E.g. when the builders stop building, building stops.Dfpolis

    You have identified two actions here, the action of the object, and the action of the subject. The two actions are distinct and are not the same. This is evident when you consider how each affect, through causation, the combined thing which we call sensation. The object effects through efficient causation and the subject affects through final causation. You have two types of actions identified, two active agents identified, object and subject, now you need to acknowledge that there are two types of causation involved.

    It fundamentally misunderstands the nature of knowing as a partial identity between knower and known.Dfpolis

    Oh, now you've revised it to a "partial identity". What could that even mean?

    We cannot understand forms unless they inform us, and they inform us, not directly as Plato thought, but via sensation.Dfpolis

    You are assigning all causation to the object, as that which informs. But this is completely inconsistent with Aristotle who says that the mind abstracts, and this means that the mind is the active thing. However, Aristotle does see the need to place an active principle in the object which is sensed, therefore each object has a form, what you described as the actuality of the thing.

    You need to lessen your restrictions on causation, which seem to be heavily influenced by physicalism, or scientism, because you want to assign the cause of the sensation to the object sensed. But there is another condition to be met, and that is that the organism must have the capacity to sense. And, under Aristotelian conceptual space, the soul, as the source of internal actuality, or activity, must actualize that capacity. So we must represent the internal act as causal as well as the external act. But the internal act may be like the imagination, creating fictitious things, or things for whatever pragmatic purpose developed through evolution, and this has a causal affect on the sensation, just like the object does. That's why we can hallucinate.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.2k
    That little section from which you take those quotes has been omitted from my translation. For whatever reason I do not know, because I haven't researched that. But I suggest that perhaps it was judged as not from Aristotle, due to the inconsistency you are showing. Notice, it's the part that you are quoting which has been removed from the translation, not the part that I quote.
  • Fooloso4
    5.3k


    I don't know which translation you are using but both Stocks, whose translation appears in several places on the internet with those lines intact, and Guthrie's Loeb Classical Library translation, say the same thing.
  • Dfpolis
    1.3k
    Agreed. Both those we include and those we exclude.Fooloso4
    Yes.
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