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History of Philosophy and Christian Thought - Lesson 13

Contrast, Substance, Causes, Categories

Aristotle rejected Plato's doctrine of two worlds.

Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
Lesson 13
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Contrast, Substance, Causes, Categories

Aristotelian Philosophy

Part 2
 

II. Contrast between Aristotle and Plato

A. Aristotle rejects Plato's doctrine of two worlds.

B. Aristotle rejects Plato's epistemological dualism.

C. Aristotle rejects Plato's anthropological dualism.

 

III. Substance

A. Definition - Any given thing that exists.

B. Composed of two things

1. Matter - hule

2. Form - morphe

 

IV. Four Causes

A. Material

B. Formal

C. Efficient

D. Final

 

V. Doctrine of the Categories

A. Definition

B. Ten Kinds

1. Substance

2. Quantity

3. Quality

4. Place

5. Time

6. Relation

7. Action

8. Passion

9. Posture

10. State

C. Essential Property

D. Nonessential Properties


Lessons
About
Transcript
  • Thales and Anaximander were two philosophers in the sixth century BC that lived in Miletus.

  • Heraclitus and Pythagoras lived into the 5th century BC.

  • Any worldview addresses the subjects of God, ultimate reality, human knowledge, ethics and human persons.

  • Fundamental beliefs of a naturalistic worldview is that nothing exists outside the physical universe and that all things evolved.

  • Plato was a student of Socrates and lived into the fourth century BC. He opposed hedonism, empiricism, relativism, materialism, atheism and naturalism.

  • Plato described the universe as having three levels: the world of particulars, the world of forms, and the form of the good.

  • Plato's view of the universe was dualistic.

  • One of Plato's fundamental arguments is that the human soul is immortal.

  • Evaluation of Plato's arguments and comparison of Plato's philosophy with biblical theology.

  • Empiricism teaches that all human knowledge arises from sense experience. Rationalism teaches that some human knowledge does not arise from sense. experience

  • Aristotle was a student of Plato and lived in the fourth century BC.

  • Aristotle rejected Plato's doctrine of two worlds.

  • Discussion of Aristotelian philosophy as it relates to the incarnation.

  • Aristotle's philosophy as it relates to attributes of God and fundamental assumptions about psychology.

  • Aristotle made a distinction between passive intellect and active intellect.

  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the law of non-contradiction.

  • Discussion of the nature and substance of matter.

  • Hellenistic philosophy was an approach that was popular from the fourth century BC to the fifth century AD.

  • Stoics were determinists who believed in living according to nature.

  • Hedonism emphasized pleasure as the greatest good. "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we might be dead."

  • Philo's philosophy was based on a synthesis of Stoicism and Platonism.

  • Implicit "Logos" Christianity is an underlying theme in the book of Hebrews.

  • Plotinus lived in the third century AD and is considered the founder of Neoplatonism.

  • Augustine is a Latin church father, is considered by many to be one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity.

  • Augustine wrote Confessions as an autobiographical work to record his experience as a sinful youth and his experience becoming a follower of Christ.

  • Augustine wrote to refute some heresies of the day by focusing on the concepts of faith and reason.

  • Augustine writes about the problem of evil and describes evil as the absence of good.

  • Augustine writes to refute Pelagianism by focusing on the biblical teaching about sin.

  • Augustine writes to refute Donatism.

  • The fundamental idea of skepticism is that no one can know anything. Augustine this statement contradicts itself because the skeptic is claiming that you can know that you can't know anything.

  • When Augustine wrote "The City of God," he had a linear view of history.

  • In Augustine's theory of knowledge, he says that eternal reason and human reason are two different levels of reason.

  • Augustine was personally convinced of the importance of divine illumination.

  • The intellectual background of Thomas Aquinas was influenced by the discovery of ancient manuscripts, the rise of universities, the rise of religious brotherhoods and the rise of Muslim philosophy.

  • Aquinas describes faith as whatever a human can know through special revelation, and reason as whatever a human can know outside of special revelation.

  • Aquinas attempts to prove God's existence.

  • Aquinas describes four kinds of law as eternal, divine, natural and positive.

  • The rationalists and empiricists set the stage for Kant and other philosophers of the modern era.

  • Kant argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative."

  • Kants two worlds are the phenomenal world and the noumenal world.

  • Discussion of criticisms and questions about Kant's ideas.

  • Similarities between Kant's ideas and postmodernism.

  • The dialectic is a central idea in Hegel's philosophy.

  • Ideally, Marxism begins with class struggle, then revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat, withering away of the state, and a utopian classless society.

  • Discussion of four faces of Marxism.

  • Nietzsche proclaimed that, "God is dead." His cure was to live life knowing there is no ultimate meaning. Kierkegaard emphasized a worldview based on true faith.

In this class, you will explore the rich history of philosophy and its relationship with Christian thought. The course begins with an introduction to the definition and importance of philosophy in Christian theology. You will then delve into the evolution of philosophical thought from the Pre-Socratic era, through the Classical Greek philosophers, and into the Hellenistic period. As you progress, you will discover how early Christian thought emerged and developed during the Patristic period, with a special focus on Augustine. The class continues with an examination of medieval Christian thinkers, such as Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, and concludes with an analysis of modern philosophers like Descartes, Kant, and Kierkegaard, and their influence on contemporary Christian thought.

Dr. Ronald Nash

History of Philosophy and Christian Thought

th620-13

Contrast, Substance, Causes, Categories

Lesson Transcript

 

Please understand that Aristotle is more difficult to understand than Plato. If you did understand Plato's world of the forms, you've made a giant step forward in your ability to think in terms of abstract ideas, because that's what a form is, an abstract idea. Aristotle is tougher. I explained at the end of the last period that one reason he's more difficult is because what we call the writings of Aristotle are, for the most part, lecture notes. Maybe some of them are Aristotle's own lecture notes from which he lectured in his university, and they are also lecture notes taken by his students. And I also mentioned the last time how scary it is to think about the possibility that my future reputation may depend upon your lecture notes. You know, sometime in the distant future, in a planet ruled by apes, people may come across your lecture notes, and the apes will say, This guy was a great philosopher. You know, that's what the apes will say. Now, there are two reasons why giving 3 hours of our lives to understanding Aristotle is important. First of all, he's one of the four or five greatest thinkers in the history of the human race. You've got Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and then some modern guys. You know, technically, you really cannot regard no one can regard himself or herself as an educated person. And I mean, the seriously, you know, one can regard themselves as an educated person unless they understand something of the ideas of the great men and women of the past who laid the intellectual foundation for Western civilization.

 

[00:02:18] And Aristotle is one of those guys. Now, he's also important for a second reason. Just as Plato, Plato's ideas played an important role in the thinking of Saint Augustine and thus helped give us one of the two or three great credit traditions of Christian thinking. So Aristotle helped influence a second great tradition of Christian thinking, and that influence upon Christendom came through Saint Thomas Aquinas, a Christian thinker whom we will talk about later. Thomas Aquinas lived from 1225 to 1274 A.D.. Here's how you spell his name AQI. And as Thomas Aquinas, there's a sense in which both Augustine and Aquinas have Catholic followers, Roman Catholic followers. But there is also an important sense in which Augustine and Aquinas have Protestant followers. I'm an Augustinian R.C. Sproul, friend of mine. Good guy, great preacher, great lecturer. R.C. Sproul is a Thomas. Let me spell that word for you. That means he's he's to a great extent a follower of Saint Thomas Aquinas. In fact, R.C. Sproul believes that Aquinas was a born again believer, that he believed in substitution area Toman. He certainly believed in all of the important and essential doctrines of the Christian faith, including, according to R.C. Sproul, justification by faith. Okay. Many of the serious and I don't know whether I agree with Sproul on all of that about Aquinas, I'm not a Thomas. My disagreements with Thomas Aquinas are significant, but nonetheless, you need to understand Aristotle. Now, one of the major lessons from this study of Aristotle is the way in which certain ideas from Aristotle can help us better understand certain ideas of Christian theology. And an important statement of that will appear in the appendix to We are in chapter four here, aren't we? Yeah, the appendix to chapter four and I will have a lot to say about that appendix.

 

[00:04:57] In fact, I think you can assume that there will be a question on the midterm exam about the appendix to chapter four. And here is just to give you a foretaste. The purpose of the appendix to chapter four is to show you how an understanding of Aristotle's distinction between two kinds of properties, an understanding of Aristotle's distinction be. Essential properties and non-essential properties can help us understand the doctrine of the Incarnation and can help us defend the doctrine of the Incarnation against the charge of logical inconsistency. Now, what is the essence of the doctrine of the Incarnation? It is this. It is the belief that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. The church and seminary campuses are full of people who believe that the Christian doctrine of the incarnation is in somehow, in some way a logical contradiction. It's not. All right, listen to me. There are no logical contradictions in the Christian faith. Because listen to me. If there were even one logical contradiction at the center of the Christian faith, the Christian faith would be necessarily false. Whew. That's serious stuff. Don't you ever allow anybody to get away with the suggestion that there are contradictions in the Christian faith? There are not. There cannot be. And we will prove it to you in the case of the Incarnation. Can you wait? Yes. Okay. Now, last time we gave you a little introduction to Aristotle's life, there is more detail in your textbook on that. What I want to begin my study of Aristotle with is this. And let's let me give you some some numbers here that will help. Alex. Perhaps point one in Aristotle is his life. And we covered that last week. Point two of our little outline is a contrast between Aristotle's system and Plato, Aristotle versus Plato's dualism.

 

[00:07:21] Now, you'll recall, like my telling you, that for Plato, there were three kinds of dualism. Call them off for me. What was the first kind of dualism for Plato? Metaphysical dualism. Okay. The second kind of dualism for Plato was epistemological dualism. And the third kind of dualism for Plato was anthropological dualism. Now, let's review what each of these what each one of these was metaphysical dualism was Plato's distinction between the two worlds, the world of the forms and the higher world. So the higher world and the lower world. Plato's metaphysical epistemological dualism is the dualism between rationalism and empiricism. And the third kind of dualism for Plato was the dualism between the body and the soul. What Aristotle does, and this is the key to understanding Aristotle, and thus this two would make a really good midterm exam. Question Aristotle's philosophy illustrates what you get with somebody who repudiates all three kinds of Plato's dualism. That's what Aristotle does. Point one. Aristotle rejects Plato's doctrine of two worlds. For Aristotle, there is only one world, and it is this universe, this world that you and I contact through our physical senses. However, having said that, Aristotle did agree with Plato that forms exist, universals exist. There is such a thing as equality itself. Goodness itself, truth itself. Aristotle also believed that there is such a thing as the form of a desk, the form of a chair, the form of a tree. So even though Aristotle believed that forms exist, they exist in this world as a part of each and every particular thing. Okay, I know that's a little hard to grasp, but that's unless you do grasp that you can't understand the difference between Plato and Aristotle. Okay. Second point The basic reason why Plato was an epistemological dualist is because there were these two different worlds that human beings had to know.

 

[00:10:03] All right. Two worlds, therefore, two ways of knowing these two worlds. But if you get rid of one of those worlds, if you bring this is a famous way of saying this. If you bring Plato's world of the forms down to earth, then you don't have to have this radical dualism between rationalism and empiricism. And the truth is that Aristotle really is an empiricist. Obviously, reason plays a role in the human life, but not the kind of role that it does for Plato. So the emphasis is upon sense experience. Finally, Plato's anthropological dualism. Body and soul was crucial because you had these two worlds and thus you've got to have two parts of a human being in order to participate in these two different worlds. For Aristotle, there's only one world, and therefore we're going to get from Aristotle a new kind of way different than Plato's, a new kind of way about thinking about a human being. Now, Aristotle is still going to use the word soul, but he's going to define the word soul in a totally different way than Plato did. One could really describe Aristotle's view of a human being by using the word holism H or Elyse. M But even though a human being has a body, and even though a human being is a soul, we're really thinking about a human being in a in a holistic way, instead of thinking of a human being as two separate substances linked in some kind of mysterious way. Think of a human being as a single entity with different functions or different aspects to it. And so the soul is one aspect of a human being. The body is another. And we'll say more about that later on. Okay. Now, unless there are questions, we're going to go on 2.3.

 

[00:12:13] And this is a kind of intimidating I'm I want to get my chair out of the way here. Let's put three up here so you can see it. Point three is Aristotle's doctrine of the highly morphic composition of substances. Get that in your notes. The highly morphic composition of substances when you talk to your mother today and she says, Well, what did you learn today? You can say, I learned about Aristotle's doctrine of a highly morphic composition of substances. And your mother will say, Dear, I thought you were going to be a preacher. And you can explain that the highly morphic doctrine of composition of substances has important theological implications. Preachers have to know a lot of things that they will never put in their sermons. Okay. And this is one of them. Now, let me define the two key words. Let me first of all, define the word substance. A lot of people carry with them the idea that a substance is something mysterious, different from anything that we encounter in life, but not for Aristotle. For Aristotle, a substance can be defined in this way is to be defined in this way. A substance is any given thing that exists. Any thing that exists, instead of a substance being something mysterious. Let me call off here. I'm holding up a stool to those people listening by tape. This stool must weigh £300, probably. Okay. And notice my biceps flexing here. You can't see them because of my. Yeah, they're. Oh, wow. That's a substance. Okay, now I'm holding up one of the greatest books ever published. Oh, it's my book. This is a substance. Oh, boy. I'll tell you, this is one of the most substantial books. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm. I'm smiling here because I'm.

 

[00:14:31] Of course, I'm using a little irony. All right. A crayon is a substance. Your automobile is a substance. This overhead projector is a substance. So anything that exists as a substance, you want to know what else is a substance? You are a substance. Write that in your notes and give me credit. Only write it in this sentence. I am a substance, doctor, Nash says I am. So does Aristotle. Now, the next point in this doctrine of the highly morphic composition of substances is this Every substance, with a few exceptions, every substance is composed of two things. Every substance is composed of. And I'm going to give you the Greek words here, Hugh Ley and Morphy. So when you combine the Greek word Hugh Ley and the Greek word Morphy, you get highly morphic as an adjective. Okay. Now, what is hugely, hugely is matter. Every substance is composed of matter. And what is Morphy? That's the Greek word that is translated form. So every substance is composed of matter plus form. In the case of this wooden lectern, there's £300. I'm sorry. This is not a lectern. This is the stool I'm holding up again. See, when I exert myself this much, I reach a level of unconsciousness. But I'm holding this £300 stool. And what is this stool made of? Come on. This is not. This is not brain surgery here. What a man. This is. This is not Prestwood or this is real wood, I think. Okay. Yeah. Real wood. But this wood could have been used to make all kinds of things, right? This wood that makes up this lectern could have been used to make call off some things that this wood could have been used to make a baseball bat.

 

[00:16:52] Yeah, for a midget. Okay. No, obviously, this was cut down to size. Okay. It could also be made. Yeah. Well, it could be a little League team. And also, this wood could be made into bowling balls. Ooh. Or it could be made into all kinds of things. But what makes this particular matter a stool. Answer the form. The form of something is very close. Oh, this is this is very the form of something is very close to being its shape, but not always and not exclusively. The better word for the form that makes this wood of a stool is its essence, is its universal is the form of a stool. Well, likewise, you're a substance. So what is the the matter of which you are made? Give me a let's see if you're with me here. What is the matter of the substance? That is you answer your body. That's it. Your body. The flesh. The matter. Now what is your soul? I'm so. What is yours? What is your form? The soul. I'll get it out. So, yeah, I was ahead of myself there. So you. A human being is a combination of matter, which in in the case of a human being is your body, plus the form, which is your soul. But you've got to understand that when Aristotle talks about a human soul, he does not mean what Plato meant. And we're going to see more about that later. Now, the next point I want to talk about, I'm going to stop give you a parenthesis. Ordinarily, when I start talking about Aristotle, I begin by talking about his law of non contradiction. But since we started and since we're on this path, we're going to push the doctrine of the law of non contradiction until near the end of our discussion of Aristotle.

 

[00:19:19] So let me show you in your text where we are and where we're going next so that you can follow me. Okay. I'm now going to talk about Aristotle's four causes. This in your textbook is page 101 Aristotle's Doctrine of the four causes. This would be Roman numeral four. Now, even though Aristotle's word and I'll give you the Greek word just for the sake of completeness, it's idea, Even though the Greek word it, it is often translated cause that's probably a mistranslation. It would be better to think of these four causes as four basic principles of explanation. For Aristotle, everything that exists can be explained as a consequence of four different factors. Okay. And here they are. And but we'll continue to use the word cause There is the material cause there is the formal cause. And we're going to make we're going to come back and make this the last one that we explain. And the third one is the efficient cause, and the fourth cause is the final cause. Okay, Now, here's how Aristotle explained these. The material cause answers the question What is this thing made of? What is the stuff of which this is made? And of course, in the case of our sitting instrument here, the basic the basic material cause is wood. Okay, now we're going to come back and look at the formal cause last, because as always, that's the that's that's the toughest one to grasp. So we'll skip to number three what is the efficient cause and the and that answers the question what produced it, what made it what brought it into existence? And of course, in the case of our little chair, here are the the efficient cause would be the activity of the carpenter that made it, I guess, in the textbook.

 

[00:21:42] The example I use is a baseball bat. So once again, we have the material cause is would the efficient cause would be the activity of the people in the factory in Louisville that make the Louisville Slugger, although there are other places that make baseball bats. Fourthly, what is the final cause? What is the final cause of of let's we're switching now to a baseball bat. Well, for some baseball teams, this is a very difficult question to answer. For example, the Pittsburgh Pirates, they. Have not yet figured out the purpose of a baseball bat. Okay? The purpose of a baseball bat is to hit that little round ball. All right. They don't know that in Pittsburgh. You can imagine other teams that don't know what to do with it either. Kansas City Royals and some other teams. So the final cause is the purpose of that thing. The purpose of a stool is to provide an instrument for sitting. But now we come to the formal cause. The formal cause is answers the question what kind? What kind of thing is it? In the case of a baseball bat, it is you know, it has the essence of badness, as we've already said, that would could be any number of different things. But what makes it a bat instead of a bowling ball, a bowling pin or instead of a chair or instead of something else is its essence. Essence. Now, I'm going to write another term up here. I'm going to write next to the word essence. I'm going to write the term essential property, but I'm not going to give you any further information about essential property because that will come out as we continue to explain Aristotle. In fact, let me give you a little parentheses here.

 

[00:24:00] It is often the case as philosophy gets more and more difficult, as philosophical systems become more and more complex, that what you have to do is basically say the same thing in different words, in a different order. I really did this with Plato when we were trying to explain the the the nature of a form. What I did was I attacked the notion of a form from, I don't know, five or six different angles, the angle of the perfect circle, the angle of the difference between a definition and an example. Well, we're going to do the same thing with Aristotle. I've already discussed the High Le Morphic composition of substances and I've introduced that form terms form in matter. I've now discussed the doctrine of the four causes, although I still have a little bit more to add to that. And once again, I'm using the same basic ideas, same basic concepts, but we're approaching it from a little different direction. We will continue to do that with three or four more approaches. But before we do that, I want to go on here and I want to make. I want to I want to re explain one more point that Aristotle made in connection with the doctrine of the four forms. If you ever read Aristotle's Metaphysics and someday maybe two or three of you might do that, If I were a little tougher teacher, I would have all of you reading Aristotle's book The Metaphysics, this week. But I'm such a softie. I'm so sympathetic. But here's what Aristotle does in book. One of his book, The Metaphysics. He gives you a brief history of philosophy before Aristotle. And one of the points that he makes in his survey of ancient philosophy before he comes along is this He explains previous philosophy in terms of his doctrine of the four causes.

 

[00:26:21] One of the statements he makes about Pre-socratic philosophy is this that before Plato, Greek philosophers only recognized two of the four causes. Listen to this. Some of you, without any additional prodding from me, will be able to report to the whole world over this tape. What two of Aristotle's four forms were recognized by philosophers before Socrates. Let me hear. Which. What was one of the four course causes recognized by philosophers before Socrates. The material cause. Amen. Amen. Call off the identifications of some of the material cause given by people that you're already experts with. Adams material Cause. Give me some other examples. Water. Who said that? They said the basic stuff is water. Give me some other examples. Fire! Who said that? Heraclitus. What a teacher. My goodness. Give me some other examples. Air the boundless. So the Pre-socratic knew the material cause of things. Now, Aristotle says the Pre-socratic also knew a second cause. And this is tricky because we really didn't cover this a whole lot. But I'll. So I'll just give you the answer. The Pre-socratic also recognize the efficient cause. Now, they did that in a group of thinkers that we skipped over. They're called the Pluralist. And they would include. Well, let me tell you about Empedocles. We didn't talk about him, and I will never ask you any questions about Empedocles. He thought that there is something in the universe that mixes the basic elements and Empedocles called it love and hate and Anaxagoras another philosopher we had to skip over, so don't worry about his name. He explained changes among the basic stuffs in terms of mind or noose. So that's what Aristotle's explanation of the Pre-socratic was. Then Aristotle says Plato came along and he was the first to recognize an additional cause.

 

[00:28:56] What was it? The formal cause. But here, listen to Aristotle snubbing of his own teacher. Aristotle insults his own teacher. He says, Poor Aristotle, I'm sorry, or poor Plato only knew about two of the forms only for him. One of them was different. Plato did recognize the material cause, but he also recognized the formal cause. But Plato did not recognize the other two causes. And then Aristotle went on to say this I, Aristotle and the first. Person in the history of ideas to recognize the existence of all four causes. That's baloney. That's not true. Now watch what we're going to do next. Without any prompting from me, one or two of you is about to refute Aristotle. So when you give your mother a report today, you one or two of you can tell your mother. And you can even make this up. If you. If you want the one who does it, you're going to refute Aristotle. Was there a material cause in Plato? And if so, what was it, ladies and gentlemen? What was the material cause of Plato's system? Matter. The stuff in the allegory of what I call the allegory of the kitchen. The stuff of which everything in the world is made. Okay, now, we've already told you there's a formal cause. Implied all that would be the forms. Is there in Plato's system an efficient cause of the universe. And if so, identify it. That demiurge. Be more excited here. Say say it out loud and. And wave your hands. Say Glory the Demiurge. This is great. You're refuting Aristotle, but get excited. Throw your hat in the air. Okay. Thank you. All right. One member of the class has. All right. Here's Plato's demiurge. Now, this requires an element of serious genius.

 

[00:31:30] Is there in Plato's philosophy a final cause? Hmm. And if so, identify it. The good. You've refuted Plato. Aristotle. The final cause is the form of the good. And what is the form of the good? It is the purpose for which everything else exists. Now we have a question. Did Aristotle miss represent Plato? You got two possibilities here. Yes or no? Yes. Write this down. It is a serious lapse of moral character ever to misrepresent one's teacher. You can interpret that any way you want. Okay. Why did Aristotle misrepresent Plato? He was bitter about not getting control of Plato's University. Could be. I'm going to give it a different explanation. I'm going to say that Aristotle suffered from a an attack of the blocks. All right. Now, what is a bleak answer? It is just a prick. It is just a filter, a kind of cognitive filter which sometimes blocks out important information. I don't think Let me say this for the record. I don't think Aristotle misrepresented Plato with any kind of evil purpose. I think he was just perhaps under the influence of a mag of a of a glorified opinion of himself. Perhaps Aristotle thought that future generations would recognize this discovery as his greatest achievement, and he didn't want to share the credit with anybody else. But you can't you can't rescue Aristotle here, because Aristotle had read The Republic. Aristotle knew what Plato had written about the form of the good, and he had read the timeless. And he knew what Plato taught about the Demiurge. And he no doubt knew that there was a question of how you relate these. But this is this is simple stuff here. This is not brain surgery. Can you find all four of Aristotle's causes in Plato? The answer to that is an unqualified yes.

 

[00:33:57] So it seems to me that the answer to the question Why did Aristotle not treat Plato fairly here points to a defect in Aristotle's character. No question about it. Every student who disrespects, says Professor, has a flaw in his character. And I'm blinking and I'm okay. All kinds of and I'm snorting and smiling a little bit and all kinds of other things. All right, now we got to move on. What next? The next point we're going to look at this would be Roman numeral five, Aristotle's Doctrine of the Categories. As I said, my grandchildren spent the weekend with us. Their parents were out of town. And my grandson is seven years old. So I was looking for something to entertain him. And I said, Well, why don't I just tell my grandson about Aristotle? Okay. And I got to this stuff about the doctrine of the categories, and I explained it as, you know, as I do in a simple, brilliant way. And Andrew's response was, Cool, cool, man. Now, I never thought of Aristotle as a cool dude. All right. Boring as all get out. But if my grandson thinks he's cool, then fine. Now turn the page in your text to Aristotle's doctrine. The canon. This is cool stuff. And if you want to shout out glory or cool as we're doing this, you have my permission. First thing I have to do is define the word category. Right. And here's the here's the one word synonym for category. The synonym is predicate. Aristotle taught that there were ten basic categories. And what he meant was there are ten basic ways of describing anything. Now, you all know what a predicate is. Let me give you the form that sentences in any Western language take.

 

[00:36:18] S is P. Any meaningful sentence we utter has a subject and has a predicate, and the sentence links the subject and the predicate by means of a verb. Incidentally, there is a very good Roman Catholic philosopher. I think I've mentioned his name before. Frederick Copleston. I'm not sure if Copleston is still alive or not. He wrote What in my lifetime was what most people. I guess this would still be true. He wrote, What more? Most people acknowledge as the greatest history of philosophy book in the 20th century, nine volumes, all nine volumes are in our library in hardcover. But when when they break those nine hardcover volumes down into paperbacks, each of those volumes may be then divided into two parts. So you get volume one, parts A and B, or parts one and two. In COPLESTON discussion of Aristotle, he says this, and those of you from Asia may or may sympathize with this. He says the full understanding of what Aristotle is getting at here with his doctrine of predication, his doctrine of the categories, it would be difficult for anyone using a language from either Korea or Japan or China to understand this point. But this is cobblestones point. Maybe this more profound than the differences in language and writing languages may be at the basis of explaining one of the differences between Western philosophy and Eastern philosophy. If you're if you're if you're dealing with a language that has a subject predicate and in a copula, you're going to be more it it will be much more easier for you to think in terms of subjects and predicates than it will be if you're if you're using a writing a written language that does not make that distinction as clear. You might want to look that up and copleston history of philosophy.

 

[00:38:54] It would be volume one in his discussion of Aristotle. Okay, Now I'm sorry for that little detour, but that could be a very important point in understanding something about the history of Western ideas and Eastern ideas. Now, Aristotle says if you take all of the predicates that you could ascribe to any given subject, you'll discover that there are there are basically ten different kinds of predicates. They're basically ten different kinds of predicates. Now, let's take one form of a sentence here, and I'll illustrate most of these ten predicates. Consider this sentence. Socrates is a man where the emphasis is upon the kind of being that Socrates. It's okay. Socrates is a man. This is the first category of Aristotle's ten, and he calls this the category of substance. Now, we could we could we could write other sentences here. We could say Fido is a dog. Dog identifies the kind of being that Fido is. Felix is a cat. Socrates is a man. So the most important of of Aristotle's ten categories is the category of substance, which tells you the kind of being the kind of thing that the subject that the subject is. Okay, then here's another sentence. Socrates is a man where the emphasis is not upon substance. The emphasis is upon quantity. Because, you see, we could have two men. We could say there are four musketeers. That's French history there. Okay. French neo history or something else. Socrates is a man quantity, which answers the question How much? Then we could say Socrates is. And here we could have a number of properties. We could say bald. And that's true. As I've indicated on several other occasions, many of the greatest thinkers in the history of the world have been bald.

 

[00:41:36] Okay? Now, this is the property of quality. And I'll tell you this. Baldness is a mark of quality, if ever there is anything like that quality. Now, there are lots of quality words, color, words, redness as a quality and so on. So we could write. Socrates is in jail. That's the property of place. It tells you where Socrates is. Oh, the quality of the property, the predicate of quality. Let's see. What do I see in the texture with respect to quality? What features? Yeah. Thank you. What features? Okay, then we have. Socrates is in jail. What do I say in the book? In prison. Same thing. Okay. After his trial. After his trial. So that would be the property of time. Which answers what question? When? Okay, well, then what else do we have here? Socrates. Yeah. The property of relation. Socrates is the husband of Zen, Tippi. If you're expecting a child and you're looking for a girl's name, there's an Tippi for you. The property of relation and relation. Another parenthesis. There is notorious ambiguity about all of these. The ambiguity is not mine. Okay. Aristotle was trying to give us an overall picture of a new way of looking at particular things for which he deserves enormous credit. As my grandson says, this is cool. Okay. But a lot of these things overlap so that sometimes it's a little difficult to make a distinction between quantity and quality. Suppose we say Socrates weighed £180. Well, that's quantity, but it's also a quality as well. Now, very quickly, what are some of the other. Posture? I'm not going to write any more on the board, but I'm just looking at page 103. Look at the last two. Action and passion. Action is whatever the subject is doing.

 

[00:44:15] All right. So Socrates is drinking hemlock, but passion is something that is being done to the subject, which in this particular case is this. Socrates is drinking hemlock, but he is also being poisoned. So something is being done to him. He's being poisoned. And then we have posture and state. And these are very ambiguous. But and I'm not going to test you about posture and state. But if we say Socrates is standing, that would be an example of posture or Socrates is sitting or Socrates is lying down. Or state. Socrates is dressed. Socrates has armor, whatever else. So Aristotle, Bullae. And incidentally, these lists changed in some of his writings. Aristotle only identified eight predicates, eight categories. And then but so we finally get the ten by taking things that Aristotle says here and there in his writings. And we get the full list. And I'm sure maybe somebody could could think up an 11th category. All right. Now, which one of these ten categories is the most important? It is the category of substance. Can anybody answer this question? Why is substance the most important of the ten categories? It's answered in your book. The question was why is the property of substance the most important of the ten categories? And the beautiful answer, which many of you could have given was this because all of the other nine categories depend upon substance? If the substance doesn't exist, the other nine categories cannot exist by themselves. They only exist as modifications of some existing substance. And what how did we define substance earlier as any given thing that has existence? Okay. Now, this leads us then to an important point. Every predicate is a not only a predicate, but every predicate is also a property.

 

[00:46:44] So this means that we have an important difference between the first predicate that of substance and the other nine predicates. And here is the difference. The predicate of substance is an essential property. Whew. Whereas. The other nine predicates are non essential properties. Now, when the class began, I told you that one of the objectives today is to come to an understanding of Aristotle's important difference between essential properties and non-essential properties. And I also told you that before we finished talking about Aristotle, we're going to use this difference to help us better understand the doctrine of the incarnation and to defend the doctrine of the Incarnation. Now, this means then, that I must give you a definition of an essential property and a non-essential property. Let's say P is an essential property of S, And what we do here, this is kind of a convention will italicize the letters P and S, so write them in italicized form. P is an essential property of S means and we'll use three horizontal lines there to mean. That means that if S loses P, then s ceases to exist as the kind of being it was. So get this. Get this little definition in your notes. Now, I'll give you some examples. Aristotle taught that life is the essential property of a human being, and life is simply for Aristotle, synonymous with the word soul. So if a human being loses the essential property of life, then that person ceases to exist as a human being. Okay. When a human being loses its soul, loses its life, because Aristotle, those two words are synonymous then the human being. Socrates, let us say, no longer exists. Now what have you. Let's say Socrates is dead. He's. He's been he's.

 

[00:49:32] He has had his hemlock. He has ceased breathing. He is dead. We're a part of his disciples, and we're standing around looking at his. Well, what are we looking at? We're not looking at Socrates. Socrates is no longer with us. He's no longer alive. This thing in front of us is no longer a human being. What is it? It is a corpse. It is a cadaver. It is no longer a human being. Does a Christian have to disagree with that? A dead body is no longer a human being. If you agree with that, raise your hand. If you disagree with me, tell me what you got then you. Well, I'll assume you all raise your hand. I'll give you another example. Let's take the stool. These legs are, what, two and a half feet high on this stool. Maybe three. Whatever. Suppose we cut the legs off of this stool. You no longer have a stool. All right. Can you imagine anybody who's going to go around sitting on just the top of this? If this thing loses its legs, it's no longer a stool. Another example. What is the essence of a bull? What is the essential property of a ball? Answer round. Okay. Now, don't talk to me about footballs. I have a footnote in here that if you have a problem with footnote footballs, I have a footnote in here that will deal with that. Okay. Now, if a ball loses roundness, it is no longer a ball. You take the air out of a basketball. It's going to be hard to score any points with that, right? It's going to hard. It's going to be hard to keep from traveling if the ball loses its roundness. So it is no longer a ball.

 

[00:51:44] Okay. Let me give you another example. So Aristotle said, what is the essence of the eye? The essence of the eye. Now, what happens if if an eye loses the ability to see? What happens if an eye goes blind? Aristotle says it's no longer an eye. It looks like an eye. You could touch it and it might touch like an eye, but an eye that can't see is an eye. In name only. All right. It's. It may look the same, but it is no longer an eye. So when something loses its essential property, it ceases to exist as the kind of being that it is. When you cut the legs off a chair, it ceases to be a chair. But when you cut the legs off a human being, does that cease to be a human being? And no. And here's the answer. Now we get to a nonessential property. P is a non essential property of S means that if s loses P the nonessential property, it remains kind of being it was here. So here's the point. If you lose a nonessential property, you are still the same being that you were before. For example, you've got a football basketball, let's say, and you paint it red, white and blue. It's still a basketball. You have changed its nonessential properties. Now, let me give you some examples of nonessential human properties. Okay. Baldness is a nonessential human property. When I lost my hair, I still remained a human being. Put that down and give me credit for that. When you guys lose your hair, you will still be a human being. Hey, man, eye color is a nonessential human property. Having two legs is another. If a person, a poor person loses a leg or two, they are still a human being.