• AJJ
    532
    Are Forms and forms thought to be incompatible? Can’t material objects be manifestations of Plato’s Forms, while also having form as an essential metaphysical component as conceived by Aristotle? I don’t know their metaphysics well, but at a glance it seems to me that both accounts must (if they are at all) be true; my considerations being that in material objects matter and form are inseparable, and the forms that matter takes must (since both accounts posit a divine intellect) have existed prior to - and so also be separate from - their instantiations. Maybe this is all obvious, but it’s not clear to me why you’d adopt one view but not the other.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.7k
    the forms that matter takes must (since both accounts posit a divine intellect) have existed prior to - and so also be separate from - their instantiations.AJJ

    Because?
  • AJJ
    532


    Because the forms exist within the divine intellect, which is eternal. From what I understand this is the case with both Platonism and Aristotelianism, but there might be an important distinction I’m not aware of.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.7k
    Because the forms exist within the divine intellect, which is eternal. From what I understand this is the case with both Platonism and Aristotelianism, but there might be an important distinction I’m not aware of.AJJ

    Ah, so you're not arguing that in general, "the forms that matter takes must (since both accounts posit a divine intellect) have existed prior to - and so also be separate from - their instantiations," you're saying that per your understanding of both Aristotle and Plato, they both are basically asserting this?

    If so, I misread you as changing scope for a moment, from a discussion of Aristotle and Plato per se to making a general comment outside of that context.
  • AJJ
    532


    Yeah, my OP is all within the context of their thought. There are Platonic and Aristotelian arguments for the divine intellect though; it’s not just an assertion.
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    There are Platonic and Aristotelian arguments for the divine intellectAJJ
    Not to be at all confused in any way with in any sense any kind of Christian "divine intellect." And not nature either. Maybe a word or two from them on just what they meant by "divine intellect." Or citation would do.
  • AJJ
    532


    What I know about Aristotle I’ve learned from Edward Feser’s books, and about Plato from Dominic O’Meara’s introduction to Plotinus. Here’s something from the latter:

    Given the existence of an intellect independent of the world (a position common to all Aristotelians and Platonists), this intellect must have itself as the object of its thinking. The point had already been made by Aristotle (Metaphysics, 12. 9)... Plotinus separates himself however from Aristotle when he claims that this self-thought in divine intellect is a thinking of the Forms.

    But I don’t see the important difference if forms come from the divine intellect regardless.
  • luckswallowsall
    61
    Aristotle was right: there is only one world. Or, at least, there's no evidence of Plato's Forms. Platonic Ideals are precisely that which we can have no evidence of—just as with Kant's Noumena—so I see absolutely no reason to believe in them.
  • AJJ
    532


    But if you take Aristotle’s metaphysics to be true then you believe in the divine intellect, which is where the forms matter has come from, right? On Plato’s view, as interpreted by Plotinus anyway, the Forms exist within the divine intellect. To my limited understanding the difference appears to be a matter of emphasis.
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    Depends on what you mean by "divine." And unless you find that word in Aristotle and understand its meaning there, my bias would be to discard it as a troublesome anachronism, as being too suggestive of Christian influences, which of course did not exist then.

    My reading about Greek natural science is that nature, itself, was a world of qualities, imprecision, and imperfection. The "forms" were expressions of the perfection that nature seems to point at, but that as nature neither did nor could have. Maybe you can get a sense of why "divine" in this context is at least an interesting word.
  • AJJ
    532


    “Intellect independent of the world” is what I mean by “divine intellect”.
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    I don’t think the word is actually important to what I’m asking. “Intellect independent of the world” is what I mean by “divine intellect”.AJJ
    Ok. Until and unless you offer the Greek term for our consideration, we must understand that by "divine" you do not mean divine.

    There are lots of problems with this - and I'm sure they've been exhaustively covered over 2,000+ years. What is the accepted wisdom on this out-of-the-world intellect?
    material objects be manifestations of Plato’s Forms, while also having form as an essential metaphysical component as conceived by Aristotle?AJJ
    Aristotle and forms and matter is a not-simple subject. Dfpolis and MU and some others have batted it about in detail. Maybe search this site.

    my considerations being that in material objects matter and form are inseparable,AJJ
    And I am pretty sure that this is exactly not Aristotle's view. And what that amounts to is that if you want to talk about Aristotle and Plato you shall have to first go through a kind of cleansing process such that you will not afterwords reflexively and automatically reinterpret their thinking through your understanding, but rather at first simply try to understand their thinking by itself.

    If its just about your opinions, those you can have as you will.
  • AJJ
    532
    Ok. Until and unless you offer the Greek term for our consideration, we must understand that by "divine" you do not mean divine.tim wood

    It means “intellect independent of the world”. In the book I quoted from it’s referred to often as “the divine intellect”.

    There are lots of problems with this - and I'm sure they've been exhaustively covered over 2,000+ years. What is the accepted wisdom on this out-of-the-world intellect?tim wood

    It’s part of Plato and Aristotle’s metaphysics. I’m not arguing for either, that’s not what my OP is about.

    my considerations being that in material objects matter and form are inseparable,
    — AJJ
    And I am pretty sure that this is exactly not Aristotle's view.
    tim wood

    This is from Edward Feser’s book on Aquinas (emphasis mine):

    Perhaps slightly better known to modern readers is a related Aristotelian doctrine to the effect that the ordinary objects of our experience are composites of form and matter
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    This is from Edward Feser’s book on Aquinas (emphasis mine):

    Perhaps slightly better known to modern readers is a related Aristotelian doctrine to the effect that the ordinary objects of our experience are composites of form and matter
    AJJ

    And you've been delivered to the entrance to a rabbit-hole. I submit to you that what matter is, to Aristotle, is no simple question. I've read it as matter being the imperfection - absence - of form. And this related to Aristotelian teleology. Which is to say that unless you're on board with all of it, then you're not going to get anywhere with it. And if your author isn't also clarifying these matters, then to borrow from Hume, "Consign him to the flames."

    I take these are your questions:
    1) Are Forms and forms thought to be incompatible? 2) Can’t material objects be manifestations of Plato’s Forms, while also having form as an essential metaphysical component as conceived by Aristotle?AJJ

    1) By whom? As in some applications - those in use here - they are terms of art. The the question then is unanswerable until and unless the terms are understood. But a hint and a clue suggests that as different terms, they mean different things, and as different things should be at least at first supposed incompatible.

    2) You can if you want. The question becomes, how much violence you do to both to establish between them a mediating equals sign? I myself question whether a material object can be a manifestation of a Platonic form. Also the question of Aristotle's ideas about matter and form. Finally the reconciling of the two.
  • Fooloso4
    960
    Edward Feser’s book on AquinasAJJ

    This is the problem: Feser's take on Aquinas' take on Plato and Aristotle.
  • AJJ
    532
    And you've been delivered to the entrance to a rabbit-hole. I submit to you that what matter is, to Aristotle, is no simple question.tim wood

    The quote refers to material objects, not matter per se. Material objects is what I’m referring to as well.

    I take these are your questions:
    1) Are Forms and forms thought to be incompatible? 2) Can’t material objects be manifestations of Plato’s Forms, while also having form as an essential metaphysical component as conceived by Aristotle?
    — AJJ

    1) By whom? As in some applications - those in use here - they are terms of art. The the question then is unanswerable until and unless the terms are understood. But a hint and a clue suggests that as different terms, they mean different things, and as different things should be at least at first supposed incompatible.
    tim wood

    So to answer the question someone could enlighten me to certain definitions that make the two views in contention incompatible.

    2) You can if you want. The question becomes, how much violence you do to both to establish between them a mediating equals sign?tim wood

    An explanation of any detrimental changes you’d have to make to reconcile them would be an interesting answer also.
  • AJJ
    532
    This is the problem: Feser's take on Aquinas' take on Plato and Aristotle.Fooloso4

    The quote refers directly to an Aristotelian doctrine. It doesn’t refer to Plato.
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    The quote refers to material objects, not matter per se. Material objects is what I’m referring to as well.AJJ

    Hard to have material objects absent matter. Oh, wait - that's part of the problem! And here we learn the philosopher's lesson: that some some questions cannot profitably be asked outright, but must instead be approached.

    So to answer the question someone could enlighten me to certain definitions that make the two views in contention incompatible.

    An explanation of any detrimental changes you’d have to make to reconcile them would be an interesting answer also.

    Indeed! Alas, I am not the person to answer either, but I'll watch to see if anyone does!
  • AJJ
    532
    Hard to have material objects absent matter. Oh, wait - that's part of the problem!tim wood

    Yes, on the Aristotelian doctrine material objects are composites of matter and form. So you can’t in a material object have one without the other - I was referring to them as “inseparable” for that reason.
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    So you can’t in a material object have one without the otherAJJ
    Please cite. I am pretty sure you are exactly wrong. Where there is form, there is no matter; where there is matter, there is no form. I am pretty sure that's Aristotle on matter.
  • AJJ
    532


    I’ve quoted Feser referring to the doctrine already. Material objects are a composite of matter and form.

    Go to the section on hylomorphic compounds:

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-metaphysics/#SubsHyloComp
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    If you've read, then you agree and understand that matter according to Aristotle is not a simple topic. Further, that if your author presents it as such, then he, your author, takes on a heck of a task in making it simple. Did he?
  • AJJ
    532


    The doctrine doesn’t refer to matter per se; it refers to material objects, of which matter is a component along with form.
  • Fooloso4
    960
    Aristotle says many different things about matter, not all of it in agreement with other things he says about matter and form.


    From one of the most influential commentators on Plato and Aristotle in the ancient world, Alfarabi. He had a strong influence on Aquinas.

    Whoever inquires into Aristotle’s sciences, peruses his books, and takes pains with them will not miss the many modes of concealment, blinding and complicating in his approach, despite his apparent intention to explain and clarify.
    – Alfarabi, Harmonization (unpublished translation by Miriam Galston,
    quoted by Bolotin in Approach to Aristotle’s Physics, 6

    This was the accepted view in the ancient world. For more see the section on Aristotle: https://www.press.uchicago.edu/sites/melzer/melzer_appendix.pdf
  • AJJ
    532


    Perhaps you have a point, though I think what you’ve quoted there may be misleading. Here’s something else from the pages you linked to:

    Philoponus (490-570), a Christian and largely a critic of neo-Platonism, seems in essential agreement with all of the preceding commentators:

    “Now, [Aristotle] practiced obscurity on account of his readers, so as to make those who were naturally suited eager to hear the argument, but to turn those who were uninterested away right from the beginning. For the genuine listeners, to the degree that the arguments are obscure, by so much are they eager to struggle and to arrive at the depth.”
  • tim wood
    2.9k
    The doctrine doesn’t refer to matter per se; it refers to material objects, of which matter is a component along with form.AJJ

    Then allow me to ask you, since you seem to know. What, in Aristotle, is matter? If a "component" is difficult to know, then so will be what it's a component of. We can leave this, if you like. I'm only on about the difficulty of the concepts, which neither the questions nor the references - except the Stanford.edu, - hint at.
  • Fooloso4
    960
    Why is it that the ancient commentators recognized Aristotle's concealment but many modern scholars are silent on this? They do not appreciate the art of esoteric writing and reading.

    A review of Melzer's Philosophy Between the Lines:
    https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/philosophy-between-the-lines-the-lost-history-of-esoteric-writing/

    A real eye opener for anyone interested in the interpretation of texts.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.9k
    Are Forms and forms thought to be incompatible?AJJ

    I think Aquinas demonstrated that the two conceptions are compatible.
  • AJJ
    532
    Then allow me to ask you, since you seem to know. What, in Aristotle, is matter? If a "component" is difficult to know, then so will be what it's a component of. We can leave this, if you like. I'm only on about the difficulty of the concepts, which neither the questions nor the references - except the Stanford.edu, - hint at.tim wood

    This was discussed in Dfpolis’s thread on realism, and Feser talks of it in his book (matter per se is termed “prime matter”):

    “since all cognition and every definition are through form, it follows that prime matter can be known or defined, not of itself, but through the composite” (DPN 2.14). The notion of prime matter is just the notion of something in pure potentiality with respect to having any kind of form, and thus with respect to being any kind of thing at all. And as noted above, what is purely potential has no actuality at all, and thus does not exist at all.

    So matter is simply the potential for there to be a form instantiated in the world, as opposed to being a mere abstraction.
  • AJJ
    532
    Are Forms and forms thought to be incompatible?
    — AJJ

    I think Aquinas demonstrated that the two conceptions are compatible.
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Ah OK, well there you go. Do you know where in particular I could read about that?
  • Fooloso4
    960
    This was discussed in Dfpolis’s thread on realism, and Feser talks of it in his book (matter per se is termed “prime matter”):AJJ

    The problem is, once again, that you are not talking about Aristotle, but the Scholastic interpretation of Aristotle. There is no consensus as to whether Aristotle actually accepts the notion of prime matter.

    See, for example the section of prime matter: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/form-matter/
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