• Greek Philosophy: Plato the Philosopher
  • Aristotle, Ancient Greek Philosopher
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Its members include three philosophers: the Academic, CARNEADES, the Aristotelian, CRITOLAUS, and the Stoic, DIOGENES of Babylon.

Aristotle Metaphysics Philosophy: Metaphysics of Space …

Lecture 8: Greek Thought: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle

ALCINOOS, Platonist philosopher and author of Didaskalilos, a summary of Platonism.
We may mainly pass over as uncontroversial the suggestion that thereare efficient causes in favor of the most controversial and difficultof Aristotle four causes, the final cause.[] We should note before doing so, however, that Aristotle’s commitmentto efficient causation does receive a defense in Aristotle’s preferredterminology; he thus does more than many other philosophers who takeit as given that causes of an efficient sort are operative. Partly byway of criticizing Plato’s theory of Forms, which he regards asinadequate because of its inability to account for change andgeneration, Aristotle observes that nothing potential can bring itselfinto actuality without the agency of an actually operative efficientcause. Since what is potential is always in potentiality relative tosome range of actualities, and nothing becomes actual of its ownaccord—no pile of bricks, for instance, spontaneously organizesitself into a house or a wall—an actually operative agent isrequired for every instance of change. This is the efficientcause. These sorts of considerations also incline Aristotle to speakof the priority of actuality over potentiality: potentialities aremade actual by actualities, and indeed are always potentialities forsome actuality or other. The operation of some actuality upon somepotentiality is an instance of efficient causation.

He is the best known Greek philosopher; ..

Greek Philosophy: Thales to Aristotle
According to Aristotle, it behooves us to begin philosophizing bylaying out the phainomena, the appearances, or, morefully, the things appearing to be the case, and then alsocollecting the endoxa, the credible opinions handed downregarding matters we find puzzling. As a typical example, in apassage of his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle confronts apuzzle of human conduct, the fact that we are apparently sometimesakratic or weak-willed. When introducing this puzzle, Aristotle pausesto reflect upon a precept governing his approach to philosophy:

 

Life of Greek Cynic philosopher Antisthenes of Athens.


Scholars dispute concerning the degree to which Aristotle regardshimself as beholden to the credible opinions (endoxa) herecounts and the basic appearances (phainomena) to which he appeals.[] Of course, since the endoxa will sometimes conflict with oneanother, often precisely because the phainomena generateaporiai, or puzzles, it is not always possible to respect themin their entirety. So, as a group they must be re-interpreted andsystematized, and, where that does not suffice, some must be rejectedoutright. It is in any case abundantly clear that Aristotle iswilling to abandon some or all of the endoxa andphainomena whenever science or philosophy demands that he doso (Met. 1073b36, 1074b6; PA 644b5; EN1145b2–30).


For this reason, Aristotle’s method of beginning with theendoxa is more than a pious platitude to the effect that itbehooves us to mind our superiors. He does think this, as far asit goes, but he also maintains, more instructively, that we can be ledastray by the terms within which philosophical problems are bequeathedto us. Very often, the puzzles confronting us were given crispformulations by earlier thinkers and we find them puzzling preciselyfor that reason. Equally often, however, if we reflect upon theterms within which the puzzles are cast, we find a way forward; when aformulation of a puzzle betrays an untenable structuring assumption, asolution naturally commends itself. This is why in more abstractdomains of inquiry we are likely to find ourselves seeking guidancefrom our predecessors even as we call into question theirways of articulating the problems we are confronting.


The Story of Aristotle (384–322 b.c.e.) The Greek Philosopher

Aristotle’s investigations into logic and the forms ofargumentation make up part of the group of works coming down to us fromthe Middle Ages under the heading the Organon(organon = tool in Greek). Although not socharacterized in these terms by Aristotle, the name is apt, so long asit is borne in mind that intellectual inquiry requires a broad range oftools. Thus, in addition to logic and argumentation (treatedprimarily in the Prior Analytics and Topics), theworks included in the Organon deal with category theory, thedoctrine of propositions and terms, the structure of scientific theory,and to some extent the basic principles of epistemology.

OfficeMix : Aristotle The ancient Greek "Philosopher"

Aristotle applies his method of running through thephainomena and collecting the endoxa widely, innearly every area of his philosophy. To take a typicalillustration, we find the method clearly deployed in his discussion oftime in Physics iv 10–14. We begin with aphainomenon: we feel sure that time existsor at least that time passes. So much is, inescapably,how our world appears: we experience time as passing, asunidirectional, as unrecoverable when lost. Yet when we move tooffer an account of what time might be, we find ourselvesflummoxed. For guidance, we turn to what has been said about timeby those who have reflected upon its nature. It emerges directlythat both philosophers and natural scientists have raised problemsabout time.

Biography of the great Greek Philosopher Aristotle

In setting such aporiai, Aristotle does not mean to endorseany given endoxon on one side or the other. Rather, hethinks that such considerations present credible puzzles, reflectionupon which may steer us towards a deeper understanding of the nature oftime. In this way, aporiai bring into sharp relief theissues requiring attention if progress is to be made. Thus, byreflecting upon the aporiai regarding time, we are ledimmediately to think about duration and divisibility, aboutquanta and continua, and about a variety ofcategorial questions. That is, if time exists, then what sort ofthing is it? Is it the sort of thing which exists absolutely andindependently? Or is it rather the sort of thing which, like asurface, depends upon other things for its existence? When webegin to address these sorts of questions, we also begin to ascertainthe sorts of assumptions at play in the endoxa coming down tous regarding the nature of time. Consequently, when wecollect the endoxa and survey them critically, we learnsomething about our quarry, in this case about the nature oftime—and crucially also something about the constellation ofconcepts which must be refined if we are to make genuine philosophicalprogress with respect to it. What holds in the case of time,contends Aristotle, holds generally. This is why hecharacteristically begins a philosophical inquiry by presenting thephainomena, collecting the endoxa, and runningthrough the puzzles to which they give rise.