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.

 

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

 



publicado por Francisco Limpo Queiroz às 10:14
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Segunda-feira, 13 de Dezembro de 2010
The non dialectical thought of Simon Blackburn

 

In his book “Truth, a Guide for the Perplexed” Simon Blackburn proposes a chart of theories in each area of knowledge– for example: mathematics, ethics, aesthetics, probability, chemistry,  biology – and presents the schema bellow designed. He writes:

 

«Any map of alternatives must be provisional, but there is good reason to attempt to draw one. In the chart overleaf the central topic is discrebed as our area of discourse and commitment. In other words, the phenomenon about which theories cluster is the fact of our sayings and thoughts.» (...) 

 «

Eliminativism (1)                                      Realism(2)  

                                                                                                                                                 

          AREA OF DISCOURSE AND COMMITMENT

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 Constructivism  (3)                                   Quietism (4)

 

 

1) Eliminativism: (Get ride of it!)

2) Realism (Get it right, then talk of truth, ontology, reality, fact...)

3) Constructivism: (Keep on playing, but...) also fictionalism, instrumentalism, pragmatism, expressivism...

4) Quietism (No contest) Soggy pluralism    »   (Simon Blackburn, A Guide for the Perplexed, Penguin Books, page 113)

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

In the chart above, stays a mistaken division of theories, consequence of the non dialectical thought of Simon Blackburn. He confuses different levels, mixing genus with species of other genus, separating genus which mutually intersect. For example, quietism is not contrary to realism - in his last philosophical phase, Wittgenstein was realist and quietist - and can not be placed as it is (bellow realism) on the chart above. Realism belongs to the genus ontology and quietism belongs to the genus praxiology (this term means the discipline centred in action/ no action). Quietism is opposite to epistemological Mobilism.

 

Constructivism belongs to a genus different from realism, not absolutely extrinsic to it: there is a constructivist realism and a non constructivist (or static) realism. So, in some way, a part of constructivism is included in realism like a species: the realism constructivist. How can Blackburn exteriorize constructivism from realism, if the first is simultaneously inside and outside realism? There is a realist constructivism, an idealist constructivism and a phenomenological constructivism. And eliminativism belongs to  genus ergoloy: it is not opossite to realism, because there is an elimiminativist realism... In fact, we can be a constructivist, eliminativist and quietist realist at the same time. These four terms are not excluding each other as Blackburn supposed. This one does not distinguish the contraries from the intermediates. He ignores dialectical reasoning.

 

 «  www.filosofar.blogs.sapo.pt
f.limpo.queiroz@sapo.pt

 

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

 

 



publicado por Francisco Limpo Queiroz às 10:32
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Domingo, 11 de Abril de 2010
Objectivism is not the contrary of relativism (Confused Views in the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy-VII)

In the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy Simon Blackburn defines ethical objectivism as if it was the contrary of relativism:

 

«Ethical objectivism. The view that the claims of ethics are objectively true; they are not “relative” to a a subject or a culture, nor purely subjective in their nature, in opposition to error theories, scepticism and relativism. The central problem is finding the source of the required objectivity.»(Simon Blackburn, Dictionary of Philosophy, Oxford, Page 121 ).

 There is a mistake, a missing of dialectics in Simon Blackburn: the contrary of objectivism is not relativism. It is subjectivism, the singular and intimate view of each person. Relativism means the theory which sustains that the truth varies according to the societies, according to each social class and political, philosophical, cultural or religious group within the same society, the continents and the ages, the space and the time, but possesses objectivity: for example, space is relative in the theory of Einstein, is “round” near great masses and “straight” far away them, but in all cases is objective, has objectivity and relativity. Objectivity does not mean immutability as Blackburn supposes. The changes express relativity of things and stadiums but conserve objectivity. For example: the water can assume a solid, liquid or gas shape and this is relativism (the changes of the same essence) and simultaneously is objectivism (a reality outside our minds perceived by all with unanimity).  So relativism is not opposite to objectivism, because they coexist in the same phenomena without mutual exclusion.

Blackburn confuses objectivism with absolutism, based on immutability. Objectivity is a property of relativism and of absolutism / no relativism, I mean : objectivism is genus and relativism and no relativism are species partially contained in it.

 

 

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



publicado por Francisco Limpo Queiroz às 11:23
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