Metaphysics From Aristotle’s Viewpoint

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The works of Aristotle, that survived, can be sorted into four categories. The Organon, which is a set of writings that give us a rational toolkit that can be used in any scientific or philosophical study (Shields, 2015). The next one would be his theoretical work, otherwise known as his treatises, his most famous ones were on animals, cosmology, Physics, which asks about the nature of matter and change, and Metaphysics, a seemingly religious study of existence itself.

Aristotle centers metaphysics around a God who isn’t involved in anything that happens in the world but is a leader only in name. The existence of this God, from Aristotle’s viewpoint, is deducible philosophically and does not depend on spiritual revelation (Vella, 2008). It is for this very reason that his view of god caused plenty of religious problems later. Aristotle felt that all existences were made up of form and matter, of course, he excluded God. He explains that pure matter is pure potential that requires a form for it to exist, these are elements like earth, air, fire, and water, he then explains that these elements combine with other forms to make the many things we see around us (Vella, 2008). Forms basically oversee the way elements are brought together and how they develop. Henceforth why God, who is a pure form without any matter, cannot change.

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We all know that Aristotle was a student of Plato, it is mentioned in almost any article that is written about him, and we also know that he was a mentor to Alexander the Great, both of these facts were written in the textbook and the article, however, the textbook never mentions that he got married twice or that he had two children, one which he named one of his works after (Shields, 2015). The textbook and article both mention that he opened his own school, which explains why many of his works like his treatises were systematic, and his discussion was divided into heads (Shield, 2015). Interestingly, the textbook and article I read both mentioned his escape from Athens and his death, making sure to mention his famous remark of not letting Athens sin twice against philosophy. Another thing that I noticed that was mentioned in the textbook, but not the article, was that because Aristotle was interested in the empirical world and wanted to know how it worked, he was regarded as the first physiological psychologist (Hergenhahn, B. R., 2014, p.49).

Since I was young, I have always had an interest in knowing how the human mind worked and why we did the things we did, as I got older, I started to wonder more about human behavior. I tried to put myself in other people’s shoes so that I could understand why they would do something and sometimes I could, but since I have started learning more about the different philosophies and psychological perspectives, I have learned that most of my own understandings about the human behavior do align with what Aristotle believed. He felt that mind and reason could exist independently of the body, suggesting that the mind was the primary reason for the existence and functioning of the body (Hergenhahn, B. R., 2014). Interestingly, he also felt that the human soul was what linked us with the divine. This is something I also believe, I feel that our soul is the essence of our being as a human and that without it we would be no different than non-human animals. Aristotle also separated sense perception from reason, if I were to put it simply, without our senses we wouldn’t have any knowledge of what us was around (Shield, 2015). A lot of what I have learned about Aristotle and other philosophers has opened my mind to the infinite possibilities we have to truly experience life, as it was meant to be lived.


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