Segunda-feira, 17 de Junho de 2013
Russel´s inaccuracies about what is a universal on Aristotle

Bertrand Russel wrote about Aristotle´s distinction between substance (ousía) and universal (kathoulou, in Greek):


«What is signified by a proper name is a "substance", while what is signified by an adjective or class-name, such as "human" or "man" is called a "universal". A substance is a "this", but a universal is a "such" - it indicates the sort of thing, not the actual particular thing. A universal is not a substance, because it is not a "This" ». (Russell, History of Western Philosophy, page 160)


There is a mistake on Russel´s thoughts about Aristotle. "Man" is  not an universal but a specie, i.e, a common form of similar objects, in the case, human bodies. In fact, Aristotle never consideres the essence as a universal - for example: the essence horse, the form of all real horses, is not a universal - although he considers sometimes the genus - for example: animal - as a universal. He wrote, refuting the theory of separated Ideas from sensible world of Plato:


« But perhaps the universal, while it cannot be substance in the way in which the essence is so, can be present in this, e.g., animal can be present in man and horse. Then clearly there is a formula of the universal. And it makes no difference even if there is not a formula of everything that is in the substance: for none the less the universal will be the substance of anything. Man is the substance of the individual man in whom is present; therefore the same will happen again, for a substance, e.g., animal, must be the substance of that in which it is present as something peculiar to it. And further it is impossible and absurd that the "this", i.e., the substance, if it consists of parts, should not consist of substances nor  of what is a "this", but of quality; for that which is  not substance, i.e., the quality, will be then prior to substance and to the "this". Which is impossible; for neither in formula nor in time nor in coming to be can the affections be prior to the substance; for then they would be separable from it. » (Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book VII, 1038b, 15-30, The Complete Works of Aristotle, volume II, Princeton/ Bollingen Series; the bold is put by me)


We must know how to interpret accurately this text . Aristotle is  criticizing the theory of Plato who sustained that archethypes - i.e., pure and immaterial forms, such as Man, Tree, and qualities, such as Kindness, Justice- are substances, i.e, individual essences. And he is also criticzing Plato  for not prioritizing the archetypes. To Aristotle, on considering a Man with Courage, it is impossible that Courage (a quality) is prior to Man (a essence) because Courage only exist in Men (or in Animals).


On Aristotle, the universal is a quality, nor a form or essence, neither a substance or materialized and individualized form . Animal is a quality, not a form. In fact, animal holds multiple forms different from each other. And the universals as such, above all genera, such as the one and the being, are qualities.


© (Direitos de autor para Francisco Limpo de Faria Queiroz)


publicado por Francisco Limpo Queiroz às 10:14
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Sexta-feira, 24 de Maio de 2013
Bertrand Russell ´s misconception about universals

In Middle Age, Sain Thomas of Aquin postulated five transcendentals, ie, five universal ideas or objective qualities which are present in everything: res, unum, aliquid, bonum, verum. For example: everything (a rose, a castel, a room, a country, a person, a philosophy, etc) is a one (unum), constitutes an unity. The transcendentals are universals but not all universals are transcendentals. In his book "The Problems of Philosophy", Bertrand Russell considers whitness as an universal. He wrote:


«We can think of an universal and our thinking then exists in a perfectly ordinary sense, like any other mental act. Suppose, for example, that we are thinking about whiteness. (...) In the strict sense, it is not whiteness that is in our mind, but the act of thinking of whiteness. (...)»


«We shall find it convenient only to speak of things existing when they are in time, that is to say, when we can point to some time at which they exist (not excluding the possibility of existing at all times), Thus thoughts and feelings, minds and physical objects exist. But universals do not exist in this sense; we shall say that they subsist or have being, where "being" is opposed to "existence" as being timeless. The world of universals, therefore, may be also described as the world of being. The world of being is unchangeable, rigid, exact, delightful for mathematicien, the logicien, the builder of metaphysical sistems, and all who love perfection more than life. The world of existence is fleeting, vague, without sharp boundaries, without any clear plan or arrangement, but it contains all thoughts and feelings, all the data of sense, all the physical objects, everything than can do good or harm, everything that makes any difference to the value of life and the world» (Bertrand Russell, «The problems of philosophy», page 56-57, Oxford University Press; the bold is put by me).


Russell clearly adopts the position of Plato: the universals are placed as essences in a supersensible world, out of the time. The position of Russell is contrary to dialectical thinking whereby one divides into two, ie, in this case, the universal exists simultaneously in the world of static being  and in the world of mental and material becoming. Russell argues that the universal property exists only in the world of static being. It is a misconception. Whiteness is an universal because it is present in every white physical objects and not because of being an archetype out of time and space. This criticism is from Aristotle.


© (Direitos de autor para Francisco Limpo de Faria Queiroz)


publicado por Francisco Limpo Queiroz às 08:50
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Sábado, 15 de Dezembro de 2012
Misconceptions on Max Scheler ´s theory

.Notwithstanding being a thinker of high quality, German phenomenologist Max Scheler (August 22, 1874 - May 19, 1928), slides on the ice of some theoretical mistakes on explaining the different  onto-gnosiological currents. He wrote:


"A third principle of sociology of knowledge, which is simultaneously a knowledge theory, asserts that there is a law of fixed order  at the origin of our knowledge of reality, ie, " capable of action ", and in the concretion of spheres typical  and constant of human consciousness and its correlative object spheres. Let´s indicate what are the spheres of being and objects mutually irreducible  before enumerating the law. They are: a) the sphere of Absolute real and valuable, the Holy b) the sphere of contemporary, ancestors and descendants, ie, the sphere of society and history, or of the "other", c) the spheres of the world outer and the inner world with the sphere of his own body and his environment; d) the  sphere of what is considered "alive"; e) the sphere of the dead corporeal world that appears as "dead." The theory of knowledge did several tests untill today- there is no reason why exposing it here - to reduce each other these spheres of being, whose content changes as naturally in a constant way in history: either the inside world to the outside world (Conte , Mach, Avenarius, materialism); either the outside world to the inside world (Berkeley, Fichte, Descartes); either the sphere of absolute to other spheres  (for example, trying to "infer" casualy existence and essence from a divin principle) either the world's life from previous world  (as the "introafectiv" theory  of life, for example, in Descartes and in Lipps); either admiting   the existence of contemporaneous to previous existence of the inner world and of outer corporeal world  (theory of awareness of other consciences by means of  analogic inference introafection); either  the distinction between subject and object in general to the previous existence of the "next", to which someone "introjects" first integral he part of the environment, by example, "this tree", soon to be internalized by the own person by the viewer's (Avenarius);  either  the own"body" to a mere associative coordenation and of self perception of the I and of organic sensations and the own body's  perceived from outside. '


"All these tests are, in principle. erroneous. The spheres  are irreducible and as given spheres,  the same primary mode with entire consciousness. What, yes, we can show to the fullest extent is that there is an order to give up and to precede these spheres, which is subject to an essential  law and remains  constant throughout all the possible evolution of man . I mean: each sphere is already "achieved" in the entire state of evolution, when the other sphere is not yet, and is implemented in a specific way when the other is still so undefined. Secondly, the reality of an object of a certain essence within each of these spheres can still "be questioned", or you can let it "undecided" when it can not be doubting, or you can  leave undecided the reality of an object of a certain essence in other spheres. Leaving therefore aside, the place of the sphere of the Absolute, in this order, the following law is valid, fundamental for the purposes of our sociology of knowledge: the "social sphere of contemporaneous " and the "historic sphere of  ancestors" precede in this sense all other spheres: a) in reality b) in a content and in given content  . The "You" is the most fundamental category of existence in human thinking. '


"Therefore, among the primitive, is applied equally to all phenomena of nature; all nature is primarily for them an expressive field and a "language"of spirits and demons hidden behind the phenomena. I add some other equally important laws of precedence: 1) The sphere of outside world always precedes the one of the inner world. 2) The world regarded as "alive" always precedes the world regarded as "dead", ie simply "not alive." 3) The outside world of other contemporary subjects  always precedes what  "I" as individual possess and what i "know" precisely about  the outside world; and not least the world outside of "my" contemporary always precedes the  interior world of "my" contemporaries. 4) The inner world of contemporary, ancestors and posterity (as prospect of expectation) always precedes my own inner world as a sphere. That means: all self analysis is - as Thomas Hobbes saw clearly - only a "drive me" with myself as if I were "other"; the self analysis is not a self observation is not an assumption, but a consequence and imitation of the of the observation of others. 5) My own body and every alien body precedes as expressive field (not as tangible object) any distinction between body and soul (ie, "inner world") '(Max Scheler, Sociology of Knowledge, p. 60 - 62, Editorial Leviatán, Buenos Aires, 1991, the emphasis in bold is put by me).


There are some inaccuracies in the text. Scheler confuses many plans here: the one of factual ontology, up to date, (realism, idealism, phenomenology, or neutral monism /empirio-criticism) with the ontogenesis (spiritualism / nousalism, materialism, nousmaterialism). He mixes different kinds of genres, which is anti dialectical. The supreme gender ontology is divided into several species - updated ontology (being present), ontogenesis (the principles of being or paramount being ) ontology of the future - each of which is a genre subdivided in species.


Moreover, it is incorrect to say that the currents that reduce the inside world to the outside world are exemplified in Mach and Avenarius. These two theorists of empirio-criticism, the precursor of logical positivism, merge the inside with the outside,  eliminating both, on sustaining that the material bodies are complex of sensations. We do not see that the interior is reduced to the outside ... and the reverse doesn´t happen in empirio-criticism? This one is neither realism (ontological dualism) - Scheler calls this, with some imprecision, materialism - nor idealism (ontological simple monism ).


Also it is not exact to classify Descartes  as one speciman of the philosophers that reduce the external world to the inner world: Descartes only did this reduction in the  moment of absolute doubt - and in subsequent moments of "I think therefore I am " and of  "If I exist as mind and I possess some perfections, there must exist a being more perfect that me that created me, God " - because, at the end of his reasonings on this subject, he admitted that there exists a world outside of matter, though free from color, odor, weight, hardness, taste, sound (critical realism of primary and secondary qualities).


Moreover, if the realism. idealism, Empirio-criticism of Avenarius and Mach and phenomenology (perceived in the sentence above: either the Existence of contemporaneous admiting to previous Existence of the inner world and outer of corporeal world (theory of awareness of other consciences by means of analogic inference introafection) are "erroneous", what remains in pure gnosiology? Scheler drift to sociology, to sociological principle of the individual depending on the masses or social class of the interior and the exterior of the function, and does not explain, in fact, what is his gnosiological position.


On the other hand, when writing "3) The outside world of other contemporary subjects always precedes what " I "possess as individual and what I know precisely about the outside world", Scheler is denying that creativity and knowledge of an individual can overcome and precede - in the ontological sense of the word: be original, to be before - the creativity and knowledge of his contemporaries.  It is the same mistake that Hegel committed on saying that an individual, however he is creative, can never exceed the spirit of his people.





Scheler wrote further:


"Admitting reality and a certain constitution of society and of history within which there is a man  is, Therefore, far from on founding to admit  reality A Certain admit constitution of the so called the" corporeal world "or the contents of Certain interiorself perception, the many continues to believe yet. It was in vain that there existed numerous philosophers who deny that there is a real world, extensive, dead (Plato and Aristotle, Berkeley and Fichte, Kant and Leibniz, etc..) but very few that deny the existence of a real animal or even a plant. "(Max Scheler, Sociology of Knowledge, p. 62, Leviatán Editorial, Buenos Aires, 1991, the emphasis in bold is put by me) 


Schele tries, in this excerpt,  to demarcate from realism ("corporeal world" in itself or self subsisting) and from idealism (the material world as "inner self percepction") and affirms the supremacy of vitalism, in the sense that the universe is alive . But vitalism is a species of a genus different from ontological genus whose species are realism and idealism and phenomenology. There is a vialistic realism and no vitalistic realism, i.e, a mechanical or mechano-chemical realism.


About Plato, Scheler errs on saying that he denied the reality of a dead and exterior world. And on Aristotle, Scheler is also wrong because the Greek philosopher admitted that this space is extensive, extramental, filled with matter of various natures.

Plato's conception of the world is a realistic view, "materialist" if we want to say it in a way a bit surly: matter is real and exists independently of human minds. Moreover, it is eternal, and stays before humanity existence. Plato is the antithesis of Kant, on onto-gnosiology. It seems Schopenhauer did not   stress sufficiently this difference between them, before exalting the similarities. Plato is realistic, whereas Kant is idealistic.

The so-called idealism of Plato should be designated, yes, realism of Ideas-object. These forms are objective, transcendent, which occupy a place outside of human minds, on the invisible and highest sky. In Plato's theory, there is, indeed, an extensive  worl, originally dead: a space filled with a diffuse matter, shapeless, the Chora. It amazes that Scheler alignes Aristotle and Plato, realistic, next to Berkeley, Kant and Fichte, idealistics. It is a serious lack of clarity.The doctorates in philosophy don´t filter, don´t debug, the lode gold of intellectual thought from the gangue of metaphysical or logical errors. Scheler, one of the few that deserves a title of doctor of philosophy at the university ideal, committed, nonetheless, paralogisms.


© (Direitos de autor para Francisco Limpo de Faria Queiroz)

publicado por Francisco Limpo Queiroz às 11:55
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