Aristotle (The Routledge Philosophers)
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In this extensively revised new edition of his excellent guidebook, Christopher Shields introduces the whole of Aristotle’s philosophy, showing how his powerful conception of human nature shaped much of his thinking on the nature of the soul and the mind, ethics, politics, and the arts.
Beginning with a brief biography, Shields carefully explains the fundamental elements of Aristotle’s thought: his explanatory framework, his philosophical methodology, and his four-causal explanatory scheme. Subsequently he discusses Aristotle’s metaphysics, the theory of categories, logical theory, and his conception of the human being as a composite of soul and body.
The last part concentrates on Aristotle’s value theory as applied to ethics and politics, and assesses his approach to happiness, virtue, and the best life for human beings, before turning to a consideration of Aristotle's theory of rhetoric and the arts, with a special focus on his perennially controversial treatment of tragedy.
This second edition includes an expanded discussion of Aristotle's method, and new sections on key issues in perception, thought, akrasia, and mimesis. It concludes with an expanded assessment of Aristotle's legacy, sketching currently emerging Neo-Aristotelian movements in metaphysics and virtue ethics.
explanations, and then provide them for ourselves, some good, some bad, some practical, some theoretical, some hopeful, some rather less so. This broad fact is undeniable. Like other facts, contends Aristotle, this fact wants an explanation. Aristotle’s first approach at an explanation of our explaining proclivities is simple: we desire explanations because it is our nature to do so. We seek knowledge not just accidentally or haphazardly, but as a result of our essential features – as a result of
regards the necessity condition, we have mainly noticed a subjective fact about ourselves, namely that in the face of novel phenomena we tend to remain curious until such time as we have cited all of the four causes. If we are lazy, or distracted by hunger, or occupationally obsessed with only one of the four causes, if e.g. we are metallurgists curious only about the tensile strength of Explaining Nature and Nature of Explanation 49 metal, then we may not care about all of the four causes.
of matter and form. With that in mind, we can state Aristotle’s basic hylomorphism regarding ordinary physical objects, without also worrying about the exact range of physical objects or about the important distinctions Aristotle will eventually draw between the living and the artefactual: • x is an ordinary physical object = df x is a complex of matter and form such that the presence of the form makes the matter exist as some F. The form is that whose presence makes the matter what it is; the
re-written as: 78 Aristotle (ATC-2*): Unless epiphenomenal, things happen either by chance or for the sake of something. Such a restructuring, however, seems problematic. So far, at any rate, the eliminativists will rightly be unimpressed with an appeal to epiphenomenalism; for the features in question seem to be epiphenomenal only on the final causes whose existence is currently in dispute. Minimally, it would be dialectically awkward to proceed along these lines. That is, we are in the
qualifies as an instance of predication, then it will not follow ‘from an examination of the cases’ that everything is in or said-of a Aristotle’s Early Ontology 179 primary substance – unless numbers are also primary substances, along with this man and this horse, something Aristotle does not wish to permit. To take the matter further, why accept (PPS-2), the claim that without primary substances, it would be impossible for anything else to exist? Aristotle sometimes asserts this sort of