• Joshs
    5.4k
    ↪Joshs

    I think you overstate the case. It is not simply a matter of style but of philology and context. We need to be aware of how key terms were used and how they have changed over time. With regard to context, the beliefs and arguments he is directly and indirectly responding to as well as political constraints
    Fooloso4

    Alrighty then. Can we not say that the beliefs and arguments , philology and context Wayfarer is directly and indirectly responding to are being reinterpreted by him from a post-Cartesian perspective even when he thinks he is reproducing a context of thought from 2,000 years ago?
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k


    If you are referring to this:

    In my analysis, it basically stems from Descartes' designation of mind or consciousness as 'res cogitans' which means 'thinking thing' ('res' being Latin for 'thing or object')*. This leads to the disastrously oxymoronic conception of 'a thinking substance' which is the single biggest contributor to modern physicalist philosophy.Wayfarer

    I do not agree with him. I don't think Descartes plays a significant role in the work being done in cognitive science, but he does play a role in historical accounts. I don't think that Aristotle is of much help either. I do think it important to examine things in terms of wholes, but I also think that there are two senses of reductionism that are also important. The first is in terms of subsystems and the second the rejection of the supernatural.
  • Wayfarer
    21.2k
    How would your respond to the suggestion that to return to Aristotle from the vantage of the 21st century is to filter his ideas through the entire lineage of Western philosophy that came after him and transformed his concepts? The implication is that for someone who has assimilated the insights of Descartes and those philosophers who followed and critiques him, to prefer Aristotle over Descartes is to re-interpret Aristotle from a post-Cartesian perspectiveJoshs

    My knowledge of Aristotle is slight but I've been impressed by the way that Aristotelian-Thomist philosophy preserves metaphysics. Accordingly, I don't agree with the wholesale rejection of classical metaphysics that pervades modern philosophy, although I agree it has to be constantly re-interpreted. It's not a matter of return to any kind of golden age.

    That is also the origin of my interest in the nature of the reality of intelligible objects and Platonism in mathematics. My intuition about it - and it is only that - is that there was in pre-modern philosophy a conception of there being greater or lesser degrees of reality, whereas the empirical tendency in modern philosophy understands reality solely in terms of what can be determined to exist by science (within which something is either existent or not). In doing so, it looses contact with the category of 'the unconditioned'.

    Like Macbeth, Western man made an evil decision, which has become the efficient and final cause of other evil decisions. Have we forgotten our encounter with the witches on the heath? It occurred in the late fourteenth century, and what the witches said to the protagonist of this drama was that man could realize himself more fully if he would only abandon his belief in the existence of transcendentals. The powers of darkness were working subtly, as always, and they couched this proposition in the seemingly innocent form of an attack upon universals. The defeat of logical realism in the great medieval debate was the crucial event in the history of Western culture; from this flowed those acts which issue now in modern decadence. — Ideas have Consequences, Weaver

    I don't think Descartes plays a significant role in the work being done in cognitive science, but he does play a role in historical accounts.Fooloso4

    You misunderstand. What I'm saying is that Descartes' conception of 'res cogitans' as a literal 'thinking thing' - 'res' means thing or object - is the source of the self-contradictory notion of the 'thinking substance' and of Ryle's depiction of it as 'the ghost in the machine'. Whereas the scholastic depiction of reason, based on elements of Aristotle, was much more subtle. In the Aristotelian scheme, nous is the basic understanding or awareness that allows human beings to think rationally. For Aristotle, this was distinct from the processing of sensory perception, including the use of imagination and memory, which other animals can do. For him then, discussion of nous is connected to discussion of how the human mind sets definitions in a consistent and communicable way, and whether people must be born with some innate potential to understand the same universal categories in the same logical ways. This is predicated on realism concerning universals, which is nowadays generally rejected (hence 'modern decadence'.)
  • Wayfarer
    21.2k
    Which "etymological dictionary" are you referring to?Paine

    There used to be an explicit statement that 'ontology' was derived from the first-person participle of 'to be' (i.e. 'I am') on one of the online dictionaries, but it's gone now.

    Isn't Kahn's point that existence is not an adequate translation of einia because to "step out" is to step out from something?Fooloso4

    I'm trying to grasp the distinctions that appear in pre-modern philosophy between existence, being, and reality. The verb 'to exist' is derived from 'ex-' (apart from, e.g. exile, external) and '-ist', 'to stand' or 'to be'. So to exist is to be separate, to be this as distinct from that.

    I think it is generally assumed in the modern lexicon that 'existence' and 'being' are practically synonyms, that there's no significant distinction between them, but that in pre-modern thought it is a distinction that was recognised. See for instance from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    Degrees of Reality

    In contrast to contemporary philosophers, most 17th century philosophers held that reality comes in degrees—that some things that exist are more or less real than other things that exist. At least part of what dictates a being’s reality, according to these philosophers, is the extent to which its existence is dependent on other things: the less dependent a thing is on other things for its existence, the more real it is. Given that there are only substances and modes, and that modes depend on substances for their existence, it follows that substances are the most real constituents of reality.

    God Exists and is a Substance

    Furthermore, each of the philosophers we will discuss maintains (and offer arguments on behalf of the claim) that God exists, and that God’s existence is absolutely independent. It is not surprising then, given the above, that each of these philosophers holds that God is a substance par excellence.
    — 17th C Theories of Substance

    But even that is misleading in saying that they believed that God exists. God is transcendent, and 'existence' is what He is transcendent in respect of - beyond the vicissitudes of coming-to-be and passing-away.

    I think, generally, in ancient Greek philosophy, there was scepticism that we know 'what truly is' by sense-perception. That is the subject of the 'knowledge of the equal' in the Phaedo.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    Aristotelian-Thomist philosophyWayfarer

    I agree with those who keep Aristotle and Thomas separate. One reason for this is that Aquinas' Latin distorts Aristotle's Greek. As it has been put: Aristotle was not an Aristotelian.

    So to exist is to be separate, to be this as distinct from that.Wayfarer

    A being, ousia, substance is not just something distinct but something particular, some "what".

    There are many senses in which a thing may be said to 'be', but all that 'is' is related to one central point, one definite kind of thing, and is not said to 'be' by a mere ambiguity. (Metaphysics Book 4, Chapter 1)

    There used to be an explicit statement that 'ontology' was derived from the first-person participle of 'to be' (i.e. 'I am') on one of the online dictionaries, but it's gone now.Wayfarer

    Perhaps you meant this:
    Ousia
    The term οὐσία is an Ancient Greek noun, formed on the feminine present participle of the verb εἰμί, eimí, meaning "to be, I am"
  • Wayfarer
    21.2k
    Probably I did mean that. What I was trying to differentiate was the philosophical sense of ontology as distinct from its modern conception of ‘study of what there is’ (not to mention its use in information technology). I thought that in its modern form, it simply becomes absorbed into the natural sciences thereby loosing its original meaning.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k


    The term ontologyitself is modern, 1720.
  • Wayfarer
    21.2k
    Sure, picked that up too, and often paired with metaphysics.
  • Paine
    2.2k
    Perhaps you meant this:
    Ousia
    The term οὐσία is an Ancient Greek noun, formed on the feminine present participle of the verb εἰμί, eimí, meaning "to be, I am"
    Fooloso4

    That leads me to think that my instincts were correct, and that the notion of origin is based upon a convention of the lexicon rather than a thesis regarding parts of speech in respect to how the word was actually used.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.7k
    If a system isn't a real thing then certainly, by your logic, there are no real things.Pantagruel

    I explained in what sense a system is a material, physical thing (i.e. an engineered artificial creation). I also explained in what sense a system is a theoretical thing. Both of these are real. That is the advantage of dualism, it allows us to make this separation between what exists in theory, and what exists materially, providing for both to be real. Both are "real" unless you have a mind which is closed to the truth of reality, and therefore have a desire to restrict the reach of the word "real" to one side or the other.

    An atom is a system.Pantagruel

    An "atom" is a theoretical representation. Atoms do not have independent existence in nature, and if given such in a lab, its existence, as a system, is an engineered system. Even the helium atom, which was classically believed to exist as an independent inert atom has been found to really only exist in nature as part of a larger structure. So the idea of "an atom" as a "system" is theory which does not accurately represent the natural existence of the things which it is supposed to represent.

    And yes, it is an 'arbitrary' boundary if by that you mean at some point the atom didn't exist and at some point it will cease to exist. Again, if that is your definition of arbitrary, then we live in a Heraclitean world and the only thing that really exists is change.Pantagruel

    No, that's not what I meant. What I meant is as explained above. The arbitrary boundary is drawn between the thing represented by the system, and its environment. So for example, atoms in their natural condition exist as molecules, and the supposed boundary which separates the atoms from each other is an arbitrary boundary because this boundary doesn't really exist in natural things. The boundary exists in theory, and the application of this theory proves to be very useful in understanding things like physical reactions and chemical reactions. However, this theory leaves the electrons in a peculiar position, because they bridge the boundary between one atom (system) and another. This is where the usefulness of the model, or representation, begins to break down and loose its effectiveness. Another model has to be produced to show the interactions of electrons from various atoms because these cannot be properly classed as part of one system (atom) or another.

    There is also evidence of a further problem with systems theory which is much more significant. There is an assumed boundary between the system and it's environment, and everything not within the system is "outside" the system. However, systems theory provides no means for a boundary to the "inside" of the system. So all things "not within the system" are modeled as outside the system and there is no means to differentiate which things are beyond the true boundary to the outside from things which are beyond the true boundary to the inside. These need to be two distinct boundaries.

    So with your proposed system modeling of the atom for example, we can model the interactions of the electrons as occurring at the outside boundary of the system. Individual electrons may pass in and out side of a given system (atom) in this way. At the center of the system (atom) we have a massive nucleus. Each system (atom) has its own nucleus, and the nucleus of one system (atom) may interact with the nucleus of another system. Therefore we need to be able to represent direct nucleus-to-nucleus interaction of the two systems (atoms). But systems theory only allows one boundary as "outside" the system. Therefore any nucleus-to-nucleus interaction through the inside boundary gets conflated with electron-to-electron interaction through the outside boundary, and the systems theory provides us with no principles to distinguish these two.

    Time to change your username to Metaphysician Uncovered or much better suited Theologian Uncovered.Fooloso4

    Let me reveal to you, a discovery which I made for myself. The highest quality metaphysical material is found in theology. This tradition emerges from Plato, through Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas etc.. One cannot truthfully proclaim oneself to be a metaphysician without studying the relevant theology.

    Where exactly in Metaphysics does he say that material objects are preceded in time by the potential for their existence? Where does Aristotle say that God acts on potentiality to make it into something actual?Fooloso4

    That would be Bk 9 Metaphysics. You ought to read it. It's very informative, especially in respect to his characterization of the nature of potential, or potency, and its relation to the actual. Here's a sample from chapter 8, but you need to read the whole section to get the complete context with the discussion of potency and possibility.

    Obviously, therefore, the substance or form is actuality. According to this argument, then, it is obvious that actuality is prior in substantial being to potency; and as we have said, one actuality always precedes another in time right back to the actuality of the eternal prime mover. — Aristotle, Metaphysics Bk9 Ch 8 1050b

    The part concerning which I had a lengthy discussion with dfpolis previously, is BK7 Ch6-9. In Ch6 he explains in what sense a thing and its essence are the same, and in what sense they are not the same. Then in Ch7 he discusses the coming to be of things. He separates artificial from natural, and discusses the artificial, relying on examples. Artificial comings to be are called "makings". Thinking precedes the making, and the active principle, the form, proceeds from the soul of the artist. So we say that the artist puts the form into the matter. Then, after a lengthy discussion of the various different ways that natural things come to be, he concludes by the end of Ch9 that things formed by nature come to be in much the same way as things formed by art. This latter point is where dfPolis and I disagree.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k


    Having grasped hold of a life raft you are unaware of how problematic all of this is. You overlook the problems because you believe Aristotle has given you the answer.

    If the world is eternal then there can be no prior potentiality or actuality or prime mover.

    But prior in time to these potential entities are other actual entities from which the former are generated; for the actually existent is always generated from the potentially existent by something which is actually existent—e.g., man by man, cultured by cultured—there is always some prime mover; and that which initiates motion exists already in actuality. (1049b)

    There is no God who actualizes the potential of man. Man comes from man. Prior to this man is another man, but there is no prior to man.

    It is also prior in a deeper sense; because that which is eternal is prior in substantiality to that which is perishable, and nothing eternal is potential. (1050b)

    The world is eternal. There is no prior potential that is actualized. No God that get things rolling.
  • Paine
    2.2k

    I think Aristotle is framing eternity as a limit that we cannot approach without seeing our condition as unable to think about it past a certain point. In Physics, he says:

    It is also worth inquiring how time is related to the soul and why time is thought to exist in everything, on the earth and on the sea and in the heaven. Is it not in view of the fact that it is an attribute or a possession of a motion, by being a number (of a motion), and the fact that all these things are movable? For all of them are in a place, and time is simultaneous with a motion whether with respect to potentiality or with respect to actuality.
    One might also raise the problem of whether time would exist not if no soul existed; for, if no one can exist to do the numbering, no thing can be numbered. So if nothing can do the numbering except a soul or the intellect of a soul, no time can exist without the existence of soul, unless it be that which when existing, time exists, that is if a motion can exist without a soul. As for the prior and the posterior, they exist in motion; and they are time qua being numerable.
    — Physics, 223a15, translated by HG Apostle

    So whatever 'eternity' is, it is not simply an infinite amount of what we have a little bit of. That conceptual boundary is touched upon in the De Anima passage I quoted explaining we can have no memory of the agent intellect as itself. Our thinking requires both the active and the passive working together.

    The limit is also expressed in Aristotle saying:

    Actual knowledge is identical with its object. But potential knowledge is prior in time in the individual, but not prior even in time in general; for all things that come to be are derived from that which is so actually. — De Anima, 431a1

    Our experience of potential knowledge is exactly not what is suggested by Anamnesis in Plato:

    Above all, one might go over the difficulties raised by this question: What do the Form contribute to the eternal beings among the sensibles or to those which are generated and destroyed? For they are not the cause of motion or change in them. And they do not in any way help either towards the knowledge of the other things (for the are not substances of them; otherwise they would be in them) or towards their existence (for they are not present in the things which share them). — Metaphysics, 1079b11, translated by HG Apostle

    I don't know if this approach toward an eternal being is a theology or not but it is clearly different from a creation story which gives us a beginning to measure time with or a 'chain of realities' as depicted by Plotinus.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    An "atom" is a theoretical representation. Atoms do not have independent existence in nature,Metaphysician Undercover

    Ye are quite mad lad. Bon voyage, enjoy the ride! :)
  • jgill
    3.6k
    If the world is eternal then there can be no prior potentiality or actuality or prime moverFooloso4

    From a certain mathematical perspective this is arguable.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k


    Potentiality and actuality (including prime movers) do not exist apart from the beings they are the potentiality and actuality of.
  • jgill
    3.6k


    I was thinking more along the lines of infinite causation chains and original causes. Sorry to interrupt.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k


    I thought that was what you had in mind. No problem interrupting the chain of interruptions.

    Here's a mathematical question: how many posts does it take for a topic to move off topic?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.7k
    If the world is eternal then there can be no prior potentiality or actuality or prime mover.Fooloso4

    There is nothing to indicate that the world might be eternal. and everything indicates that there is potentiality and actuality. So that possibility, that the world is eternal and there no potentiality or actuality is easily excluded as unreal. You might take the route of ignore and deny though, as that is a real possibility for you.

    Ye are quite mad lad. Bon voyage, enjoy the ride! :)Pantagruel

    You obviously have no education in basic chemistry, so you take the route of dfpolis, deny the facts and ignore the reality.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    There is nothing to indicate that the world might be eternal.Metaphysician Undercover

    In the Physics he argues that it is.

    there is potentiality and actuality.Metaphysician Undercover

    The potentiality and actuality of what? There can be no potentiality and actuality of something that is not. Potentiality and actuality does not exist apart from those things they are the potentiality and actuality of.

    So that possibility, that the world is eternal and there no potentiality or actuality is easily excluded as unreal.Metaphysician Undercover

    The former does not preclude the latter. It not the denial of potentiality or actuality, but rather the affirmation that they are the potentiality and actuality of some thing rather than nothing.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.7k
    In the Physics he argues that it is.Fooloso4

    Definitely, he does not. As argued in "On The Heavens", anything composed of matter is corruptible and not eternal. I suggest that you reread Aristotle's Physics, to see where you've made the mistake of misinterpretation.

    he potentiality and actuality of what? There can be no potentiality and actuality of something that is not. Potentiality and actuality does not exist apart from those things they are the potentiality and actuality of.Fooloso4

    "The world" obviously. You made the claim that the world is eternal and therefore not describable in terms of potential and actual. But the world is changing. Therefore it is describable by Aristotle's terms of physics, matter and form. And matter is potential, while form is actual. Therefore the world is describable in terms of potential and actual, these are matter and form. And, it is necessary to use these terms to account for the fact that the world is changing. As explained in "On the Heavens" anything composed of matter is generated and corrupted. Therefore we can conclude that the world is not eternal.

    The former does not preclude the latter.Fooloso4

    The former precludes the latter under the conditions of your conditional proposition: "If the world is eternal then there can be no prior potentiality or actuality or prime mover."

    This is Aristotle's argument that the world is not eternal. The world changes therefore by his principles of physics it consists of potentiality (matter) and actuality (form). Anything consisting of matter is necessarily generated and corruptible. The corruptible will in time pass away. Therefore the world is not eternal.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    anything composed of matter is corruptibleMetaphysician Undercover

    That is the point of the quote above:

    ... for the actually existent is always generated from the potentially existent by something which is actually existent—e.g., man by man ...

    The former precludes the latter under the conditions of your conditional proposition: "If the world is eternal then there can be no prior potentiality or actuality or prime mover."Metaphysician Undercover

    You take part of the argument and argue against it as it it were the whole:

    Potentiality and actuality does not exist apart from those things they are the potentiality and actuality of. If the world is eternal there has always been something with potentiality and actuality. No potentiality and actuality prior to the world.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    You obviously have no education in basic chemistry, so you take the route of dfpolis, deny the facts and ignore the reality.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, that is the obvious fact here. My education must have gaping holes in it. Much more obvious than the facticty of atoms being evident qua properties in the external world which we experience constantly.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k
    Computational models of neuroscience appear to be the standard model today. I would argue that computation itself precludes reduction. Computation involves information, which is at its root, discernablity. Information can be defined between parts of a system and the whole system, but also emerges from differences between wholes.

    For example, if a detective shows up at a murder scene and touches a coffee mug and feels that it is hot, she knows that someone has made the coffee recently. This information comes from the fact that the heat of the mug is not in equilibrium with the enviornment.

    Complete information about the mug, knowledge about the exact positions and momentum of all the molocules making up the "mug system," tells you nothing about this variance. It only emerges when you contrast the momentum of molocules in the mug with those outside. Further, you have to understand that the universe started in a low entropy state and is advancing to a higher one to understand that this fluctuation can't be due to chance.

    If you had full information about the entire crime seen, you would still need to break the system down into arbitrary subsystems to understand the variance.

    If computational models of consciousness are accurate, a full mapping, down to the atomic level, of a brain would still not let you accurately predict someone's behavior. For that, you need information on their surroundings. Minds don't exist in a void. They appear to be very fragile and vanish in most environments. Minds exist in a small range of possible environments as an interaction with them.

    A phenomena is emergent just in case you would need full information at the micro level about it to understand its current state and the origins of that state. The higher the level of emergence the larger the system needed to define the phenomena. In the case of understanding consciousness, which is molded by culture and language, you need a very large system indeed.

    For example, a full information brain scan of a person having a conversation in Japanese would not give you the information required to speak Japanese.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.7k
    Potentiality and actuality does not exist apart from those things they are the potentiality and actuality of. If the world is eternal there has always been something with potentiality and actuality. No potentiality and actuality prior to the world.Fooloso4

    I don't see your point. Aristotle shows that the world is not eternal, as I explained above. Therefore your conditional proposition "if the world is eternal..." is excluded as irrelevant because the world is not eternal. What is used in his demonstration that the world is not eternal, is the concepts of potentiality and actuality.

    And concepts are distinct from the things which are said to share in the concept. That is an important point in Aristotelian ontology, the one which dfpolis ignores when he says "the known form is the form of the known". The true form of the thing consists of accidents, the known form does not. Therefore potentiality and actuality, as concepts, do exist independently of the things which are said to be potential and actual. This is commonly known as the separation between the world and the representation, map and terrain.

    So, Aristotle uses these concepts to show that the world is not eternal. Whether or not the premises employed by him are true, and the world can truly be described by these concepts is a different matter. So if you do not accept the conclusion, that the world is not eternal, you need to demonstrate that the concepts are not truly applied in the premises, or that the logic is not valid.

    My education must have gaping holes in it. Much more obvious than the facticty of atoms being evident qua properties in the external world which we experience constantly.Pantagruel

    The point though, is as I explained. What we commonly refer to as "an atom" cannot be adequately represented as "a system". Don't lose track of the argument. I was demonstrating to you the deficiencies involved in representing natural things as systems.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    What is used in his demonstration that the world is not eternal, is the concepts of potentiality and actuality.Metaphysician Undercover

    What you deny is that potentiality and actuality do not exist apart from those things that they are the potentiality and actuality of. If we cannot agree on that then we cannot agree on what follows from it.

    The true form of the thing consists of accidentsMetaphysician Undercover

    The "true form"? The form of a living thing, is what it is to be what it is, a man or a dog or a bee. A man being tall or short, is not what it is to be a man.

    Therefore potentiality and actuality, as concepts,Metaphysician Undercover

    A concept does not actualize potential.

    This is commonly known as the separation between the world and the representation, map and terrain.Metaphysician Undercover

    As long as you think that by potentiality and actuality Aristotle means a representation you will remain hopelessly confused.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    You can call an atom a thing if you want. Things are systems of a very basic or maybe well-understood kind. The point was you said an atom had a purely theoretical and not a real existence, which is absurd. Maybe the theoretical concept of an atom doesn't correspond in toto to the actuality, but that is a limitation of perception and representation that doesn't eliminate the underlying correlation of the intentional object and the reality it intends towards. You can't perceive a "season" but seasons most certainly exist. Our mind simply does not operate in the requisite dimensions to intuitively apprehend seasonality as an object. Some people can intuit the objective reality of complex spatial relationships that are not centered on themselves, while many can't. That's how the heliocentric-model (theory) came to be. And it took a long time. People are stubborn in their limited perceptions sometimes.
  • Paine
    2.2k
    As long as you think that by potentiality and actuality Aristotle means a representation you will remain hopelessly confused.Fooloso4

    It confuses me at any rate. If a map is being made, it should help navigate the territory. And that is what Aristotle was demanding in his challenge to Plato: "What do the Form contribute to the eternal beings among the sensibles or to those which are generated and destroyed? For they are not the cause of motion or change in them."

    Is there a map of a territory which is the map of a territory beyond that? I fear the approach of an infinite circular motion.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k


    In the Phaedo Socrates calls the hypothesis of the Forms "safe and ignorant". In addition to the forms he adds natural causes such as fire. (105b-c)

    Answer me then, he said, what is it that, present in a body, makes it living?

    Cebes: A soul. (105c)

    The answer is no longer life but soul.

    In the Timaeus the fixed intelligible world of forms is regarded as inadequate. They do not account for motion or change.

    Plato was aware of the problem and Aristotle was aware that Plato recognized the problem. The point being, we should not, as is commonly assumed, read Aristotle as a rejection of Plato. An adequate account of the causes of living things must include physical or material and active causes. Certainly more than a concept or representation or map.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.7k
    What you deny is that potentiality and actuality do not exist apart from those things that they are the potentiality and actuality of. If we cannot agree on that then we cannot agree on what follows from it.Fooloso4

    Of course I disagree with that. These are concepts, and concepts do not exist within the things which serve as tokens which display the concept. The concept of red does not exist within a thing which is judged to be the colour red. The thing is judged as being the colour of red, and by that judgement it is said to be red. In no way does the concept of red exist within the thing which is judged to be red.

    The Pythagorean idealism discussed by Plato assumed the theory of participation. By the theory of participation the red thing participates in the idea of red. That means the thing is in the concept, not vise versa. But Plato demonstrated problems with the theory of participation, and Aristotle denied this approach with his concept of "primary substance". Check the definition in "Categories"
    Substance , in the truest and primary and most definite sense of the word, is that which is neither predicable of a subject nor present in a subject; for instance the individual man or horse. — Categories Ch 5, 2a, 11-12

    Notice, how the theory of participation is denied by the concept of primary substance, because the individual cannot be within the concept. However, the individual may participate in substance in the sense of "secondary substance". But secondary substance is conceptual, in the sense of the species. So the individual man is allowed to participate in the concept "man"..

    As long as you think that by potentiality and actuality Aristotle means a representation you will remain hopelessly confused.Fooloso4

    You can think what you will, but you haven't shown me anything to make think that I'm wrong. Potentiality and actuality are terms which Aristotle used when describing the features of reality. Descriptive terms are representative. Therefore potentiality and actuality are representative. Why would you think otherwise?

    Things are systems of a very basic or maybe well-understood kind.Pantagruel

    No, each thing is different from every other thing. Therefore if represented as "a system", we need different types of systems according to the different type of things. Nevertheless the "system" as the theoretical representation is completely distinct from the thing represented.

    The point was you said an atom had a purely theoretical and not a real existence, which is absurd.Pantagruel

    "Atom" is a theoretical representation, for the reasons I explained, but I did not say that it isn't real. As a theoretical representation, it is real. You have not addressed any of the issues I mentioned, to make an argument otherwise.

    Maybe the theoretical concept of an atom doesn't correspond in toto to the actuality, but that is a limitation of perception and representation that doesn't eliminate the underlying correlation of the intentional object and the reality it intends towards.Pantagruel

    Ok, so your argument is that if I intend to represent something in a truthful way, but I fail, and my representation is just fictional, because the thing I thought I was representing (intended to represent) was just an hallucination, there is still a correlation between my representation and the thing I intended to represent. i.e. the product of my hallucination. Fine, I'll go with that.

    You can't perceive a "season" but seasons most certainly exist.Pantagruel

    Right, in the same way that my hallucination most certainly exists.
  • Paine
    2.2k
    The point being, we should not, as is commonly assumed, read Aristotle as a rejection of Plato.Fooloso4

    Your point is well taken.

    I do think it is fair to say that Aristotle has no patience for the 'likely stories' and the devices of myth and poetry employed by Plato. If you are going to be an account, it has to do some work. The endoxa (previous opinions) Aristotle starts so many of his works sometimes are oppositions to ideas but other times a decision that "this does not help me."

    When one reads the academic debate over the last two hundred years over what Aristotle meant, there are many disagreements that are alive today. One element is never disputed in my recollection: This guy was looking for the right map, not a collection of possible maps.
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