8.29 Aristotle

Aristotle, student of Plato, was a Greek philosopher who lived from around 384 to 322 BC.

Aristotle was pivotal in synthesizing the various philosophical and scientific threads across a wide variety of domains. Aristotle's Synthesis and methods shaped scientific and religious views until the Enlightenment, and the influence continues today. He has been called the “father” of logic, biology, political science, zoology, natural law, scientific method, psychology, individualism, teleology, and other domains.

He distinguished metaphysics, or “first philosophy”, from math and science, to deal with the realm of the Divine and what “precedes” Nature.

Like Plato, Aristotle argued that phenomena are based on Forms, however he believed that the form existed through its iInstantiations, rather than in a separate idealized world of forms.

Whereas Plato focused on deduction from knowledge of the (universal / Forms / Ideas / a priori principles) down to the instantiations / phenomena, Aristotle layered in induction rising from knowledge of phenomena up towards the universal.

He introduced the concepts of potentiality and actuality, and the concept of potentiality existing for the sake of the End (telos), which is the principle of every change.

He also observed the tempo of change, and made geological observations about changes that were too slow to be observed in one lifetime.

He taught that the soul was the form of a living being, endowing the material element with various forms of aliveness, ranging from the vegetative soul of plants, to the sensitive soul of animals, to the rational soul of humans, while specifically differentiating sensation from thought.

He taught that humans have a function, that is an activity of the soul, in accordance with Reason, and that Ethics was the practical matter of Becoming and Doing Good by Embodying the Virtuous Mean or Optimum between Excess or Deficiency along all levels of analysis of character / Virtue.

He conceived of the city and politics like an organism, in which the Whole must necessarily be prior to the Part, such that the city is prior in importance to the family, and the family prior in importance to the individual. This corresponds to a level of Depth.

He considered the natural level of Community to be the polis, or city, which should properly function as a (koinonia), which refers to concepts such as joint participation, partnership, fellowship, sharing, or community.

Economically, he discussed money and the need for a single universal Standard of measurement as well as a store of Value, while considering it unnatural to make money out of money itself (i.e. through interest), or from profiting on retail trade as an end in itself (as opposed to trading to functionally provision the household).

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