Was Aristotle full of shit when it came to Plato? Here are just a few examples:

Was Aristotle full of shit when it came to Plato? Here are just a few examples:

1.) Aristotle criticizes the theory of Forms by saying that it is absurd for one substance to be both one and many; and his solution is that the forms of natural things are not, in themselves, substance, but a qualification of matter. But Plato himself did not see the Forms as being substance in any way analogous to sensible particulars, and he explains in the Parmenides how Forms can be one in one way, and many in another. This same line of reasoning solves the Third Man. Aristotle even says, "for there to be forms they can't be substances [i.e. particulars]", and Plato agreed and denied that idea.

2.) Aristotle faults Plato for the theory of anamnesis. But take a gander at Aristotle's own ideas: by acquaintance with sensible things we come to know eternal forms which are themselves grounded in a divine intellect, the imperfect and changing perceptibles being explained and caused by these forms. But isn't that nearly the essence of Plato's theory? Plato, too, thought we began to learn from sensible things and that this then "reminded" us of something that doesn't exist in itself in the world of sense. It's not that there's no difference here, but it's smaller than Aristotle makes out.

3.) Aristotle says Plato was wrong because he considered things of sense to be constantly changing, so effecting the separation of Form and composite. Aristotle said a thing could be unchanging in one respect, i.e. the form and essence, and changing in another. But that's Plato's point, and Plato saw the forms as being both immanent and transcendent, where Aristotle makes it seem like he maintains only the latter. It is true that they form a composite, but the form qua form is abstract and eternal, just like "1+1=2" is eternal. And as it turns out that's exactly what Aristotle says himself: the incomposite forms are always actual, although they are not substantial. So both of them see transcendent, divine forms being present in matter; Aristotle just can't bring himself to see how a numerically singular form might be multiplied. And yet his own forms, collapsed within the divine intellect, function in the same way.

He relentlessly exaggerates his differences with Plato; and then he also plagiarizes him every other paragraph without giving credit. Or he'll take clearly metaphorical passages literally - there's a place in the Meteorology where he takes down the myth at the end of the Phaedo and how improbable it is and rivers can't flow both up and down etc. Or was Aristotle playing 4-D chess, like some later neoplatonists would say, criticizing not the true Plato but a strawman? What does IQfy say?

Mike Stoklasa's Worst Fan Shirt $21.68

Tip Your Landlord Shirt $21.68

Mike Stoklasa's Worst Fan Shirt $21.68

  1. 6 days ago
    Anonymous

    >explains in the Parmenides
    >Let thus much be said; and further let us affirm what seems to be the truth, that, whether one is or is not, one and the others in relation to themselves and one another, all of them, in every way, are and are not, and appear to be and appear not to be.
    ah, clear as day

    • 6 days ago
      Anonymous

      Fair enough, but in other places too. Like in Republic X he talks about how there is only one form for each thing, and not an infinite regress, because the form is of a different order than the sensible thing. Or Aristotle tries to say it would be absurd if Forms had any essence because then all the elements of their definition, including differentiae, would have to be Forms, so the Forms would not be primary. But in the Sophist Plato explicitly accepts the idea that Forms are complex - only the first principle is absolutely simple.

      As far as the Parmenides goes, I didn't understand it before reading Aristotle but then it's pretty clear what it's about, the way the One acts on the indefinite dyad while remaining One etc.

      Regarding 3 -

      Aristotle just fails at understanding Plato. A form is a form from the beginning of time and doesn't randomly spring into existence. I saw an Aristotlean make that claim here once and it was the dumbest thing I ever read.

      The funny thing there is that neither Aristotle nor Plato believed that forms could come into existence or ever fail to exist, and the consequence is that they both grounded this world in an intelligible one. The only real difference is that Aristotle collapsed all his forms within one being, the unmoved mover, where they exist "virtually"; while Plato thought they existed in this way, but also separately. It's a legitimate dispute, but Aristotle makes it look like he's blowing Plato to smithereens when he's really just modifying and trying to improve it (albeit he was a legit genius and whatnot).

      • 6 days ago
        Anonymous

        My knowledge of the matter is what the guy described in the thread. He said that like evolution where a new animal comes into existence, the form itself diverges into a different form. He implied the physical creation of a form in this world mirrored its creation in the world of forms.

        • 6 days ago
          Anonymous

          Neither Plato nor Aristotle believed in evolution though so this wasn't even a consideration for them. However in a way Aristotle did talk about a related issue - he says that while "horse" and "donkey" are unique natural Forms, the mule is like an intermediate between them and legitimate in its own way. Any Form is essentially a composition of contraries, so much so that in Meta I Aristotle says species in a genus are logically and really contrary to each other in the same way colors are. So with that understanding, there would be nothing impossible with a new Form in some sense coming into being that had not been there before; but both Aristotle and Plato would have said the form itself did not come into being, rather it became actualized in the world but existed beforehand, both within the nous poetikos and as a potency in matter.

          • 6 days ago
            Anonymous

            This is why unicorns exist and anyone with a unicorn in his coat of arms is based.
            The plane of forms is the possibility space given by the rules. The mind can traverse its branches and the earth can embody them.

          • 6 days ago
            Anonymous

            If you wanted to be particular, the form of a unicorn could exist if you imagine it even if actual unicorns don’t exist on a physical plane. The entire idea is bonkers and Plato was a dipstick.

          • 6 days ago
            Anonymous

            Anything reproducible in a mind or computer already exists as part of the landscape of the possibility space given by the rules. Limiting the rules like by adding assumptions allows us to explore subsets of that space like geometry.

  2. 6 days ago
    Anonymous

    Regarding 3 -

    Aristotle just fails at understanding Plato. A form is a form from the beginning of time and doesn't randomly spring into existence. I saw an Aristotlean make that claim here once and it was the dumbest thing I ever read.

  3. 6 days ago
    Anonymous

    Dialogue as an epistemical tool seems sillier and honestly a circle-jerk when compared to long-form paragraphical essays anyways, revert back to the platonic tradition of having a chat with the homies

    • 6 days ago
      Anonymous

      Aristotle wrote incredibly narcissistic dialogues starring himself but they are fortunately now lost to posterity.

      • 6 days ago
        Anonymous

        I've read all the fragments and that's not the impression I got. They were well-written and interesting. The one I really wish we still had is "peri Ideon", which is a transcription/interpretation of Plato's benighted lecture On the Good. Story goes that he gave a public talk with that title and all these people showed up thinking he'd tell them the secret to happiness, some self-help thing. But no, it was all about astronomical orbits and triangles and the conclusion was that "the Good is One". The audience was reportedly annoyed.

        • 6 days ago
          Anonymous

          I would be annoyed too if someone jumped from triangles and astronomical objects to a platitude. I wanna know more about the divine dude, frick the one

          • 6 days ago
            Anonymous

            People who think the One or the unmoved mover are boring abstractions don't understand what they're criticizing, really. Just talking about it isn't the same thing as knowing it, both Plato and Aristotle wrote about contemplation. And saying "the Good is One" isn't a platitude it's a metaphysical thesis.

          • 6 days ago
            Anonymous

            Dude. Fire is a triangle in a parallel universe

            Thank you, Plato. So deep

          • 6 days ago
            Anonymous

            Keep talking friend. Every post you make, that's another fire triangle that will be inserted inside of you.

  4. 6 days ago
    Anonymous

    >Was Aristotle full of shit
    Yes.

  5. 6 days ago
    Anonymous

    >Or he'll take clearly metaphorical passages literally
    he did this on purpose because he didn't believe metaphors had a place in philosophy

  6. 6 days ago
    Anonymous

    >and his solution is that the forms of natural things are not, in themselves, substance, but a qualification of matter.
    Doesn't Aristotle's definition of substance place more importance on form? You can have a substance with pure form, e.g. unmoved mover, active intellect, etc. But you cannot have a substance with pure matter, e.g. prime matter (which isn't real according to Aristotle).
    >But Plato himself did not see the Forms as being substance in any way analogous to sensible particulars,
    I think Plato begins his work with an emphasis on the generality of forms. But then later on he determines both universals and particulars to be "forms" while dropping a focus on forms in order to focus on the "greater kinds", e.g. motion, rest, etc. The forms become less the basis of particular substance, or even a general kind of substance, but what grants substantiality in general (syncategorematic is a good term).
    >Aristotle even says, "for there to be forms they can't be substances [i.e. particulars]", and Plato agreed and denied that idea.
    I don't even know why Aristotle would say that because he recognized two kinds of substances, primary (particulars) and secondary (universals).
    >This same line of reasoning solves the Third Man.
    The weird thing about Aristotle's argument is that, as you mentioned, it's an argument brought up by Plato himself! There's a few more instances of similar things like that happening, such as Statesman where Plato brings up the problem of the homonymy of good and competition for what is good, since many things are good in their own way. Just like the TMA, Aristotle brings up this argument in Nicomachean Ethics as if it's his own, but clearly Plato introduced it. There's even a clear precursor to the Doctrine of the Mean with the concept of the due measure, also in the Statesman.
    >2.) Aristotle faults Plato for the theory of anamnesis. But take a gander at Aristotle's own ideas: by acquaintance with sensible things we come to know eternal forms which are themselves grounded in a divine intellect, the imperfect and changing perceptibles being explained and caused by these forms. But isn't that nearly the essence of Plato's theory? Plato, too, thought we began to learn from sensible things and that this then "reminded" us of something that doesn't exist in itself in the world of sense. It's not that there's no difference here, but it's smaller than Aristotle makes out.
    Hit the nail on the head IMO. The fact that the unmoved mover basically "is" the universe, grounds all thought, and is the end of all things basically makes Aristotle a kind of ideal pantheist in a similar vein to Plato.

    There have been other posters who've made similar but more scholarly critiques pointing out places where Aristotle seems to be either ignorant of Plato (which is hard to believe) or dishonest towards Plato (which would be a mark against his character). It's hard to understand why he disagrees with Plato in the ways that he did.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *