aristotle_logic and metaphysic.pdf

of 4
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
BOOK REVI EWS 103 what Plato says about temperance (and the virtues in general) can be better understood by seeing that what he is often doing is examining the similarities and differences be- tween the two types of art. The above distinctions and comments alone by no means solve the problems surrounding the definition of temperance in the Charmides as a science of sciences, but they perhaps point in a fruitful direction. Of
  BOOK REVIEWS 103 what Plato says about temperance (and the virtues in general) can be better understood by seeing that what he is often doing is examining the similarities and differences be- tween the two types of art. The above distinctions and comments alone by no means solve the problems surrounding the definition of temperance in the Charmides as a science of sciences, but they perhaps point in a fruitful direction. Of particular value in this edition are the many notes which give some information about the historical persons and places referred to in the Laches and Charmides and the notes that refer to and comment on the literature relevant to the two dialogues. GEORGIOS ANAGNOSTOPOULOS University o/ Cali/ornia, San Diego Logic and Metaphysics in Aristotle. Aristotle s Treatment o] Types o~ Equivocity and its Relevance to His Metaphysical Theories. By Walter I_~szl. (Padova: Editrice Antenore, 1970. Pp. xiii+601.) This voluminous work combines a logical inquiry with a rather militant campaign. The way in which they are linked raises some very interesting problems. The logical side begins modestly with Aristotle's distinction (Categories 1) between homonymy and synonymy (or, from the point of view of terms, the equivocal and the univocal). Then a middle zone emerges in the later writings. Its most familiar denizens are analogous meaning and what has come to be called focal meaning. For example, matter and form in Aristotle's usage are to be understood in the former way, while being and one, the central metaphysical terms as well as good are cases of the latter. Aristotle never tires of telling us that being is said in many senses. But it is not sheer equivocation. It is like medical which has a basic reference to health but in one term or context refers to the condition of the patient, in another to what is pro- ductive of health, in another to an instrument used in treatment, in another to a person engaged in the health profession, and so on. This is the paradigm case of focal mean- ing. The logical issue posed by Leszl is then whether focal meaning is to fall on the side of synonymy or on the side of homonymy. He explores different subtle analyses of the situation, some of which have accumulated and some of which constitute his own advanced probing. One assigns a single nature to the term that has focal meaning -- medical in its various uses is synonymous. Another opts for straight homonymy-- medical means something different in a medical instrument and a medical man. A third gives a complexity account, finding a single nature with different additions for the different uses. A fourth finds a mixture, yielding something in between. The author is all along fighting for a homonymous theory of focal meaning, with a functional ex- planation of the extensions that are involved. The analytic strength of the book lies in the fine-line study of the different structures in the proposed solutions. It is prefaced with a survey of Aristotle on meaning and definition. It gives serious attention to the role of the categories as ultimate types of being, and it includes excellent critiques of special interpretations; for example, seeing focal meaning as a model-copy situation. And of course throughout there is ample marshalling of Aristotelian passages and intimate disputes about their interpretation. The aim of the book is not merely to expound the logical issues but to study their metaphysical import. This plunges us into the campaign which has historical as well as ontological dimensions. In Jaeger's picture of Aristotle's development, the Platonic elements find their place at the beginning. But in recent revolts against Jaeger's theory, there are attempts to find Platonic elements in the mature Aristotelian doctrine,  104 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY especially when Aristotle advances a science of being qua being in etaphysics r and E. This looks as if Aristotle is treating being as somehow having a single nature. More- over, the nee-Platonic tradition and the theological interpreters of Aristotle have always tried to bring being in line with the unitary divine. Now a fixed point in Aristotle is that being is not a genus, that the categories are the highest genera, that the unity of being (like that of one or good) is either analogical or focal. The more these logical notions can be given a single-essence interpretation, the more Platonizing will Aristotle become and the more congenial to the neo-Platonizing and theological tradition. As Leszl sees it, there is a welding of logical and linguistic tools to make focal meaning be a case of synonymy. In that event, being has one nature and the Aristotelian revolt against Plato is annulled. The logical status of focal meaning as a form of homonymy becomes the flaming sword to bar such regression. In the battle, Leszl tends somewhat unfairly to lump together all the writers who could be useful to the other side, whether they are outright partisans of Plato or genuinely interested in reaching historical con- clusions through capturing logical shades in different parts of the corpus. Much of the argument throughout the book is extremely repetitious, the same thing being said against different opponents. One would have expected so vast a battle to be fought on the full field of the whole of Aristotle s philosophy. Surprisingly, Leszl fights with only logical tools--plus of course copious passages from the texts. More attention might have been paid to the actual outcome of Aristotle s science of being qua being--for example, the treatment of the basic axioms in etaphysics 1- --rather than merely to programmatic disputes about how such a science of metaphysics is possible. Certainly, the actual science of metaphysics that Aristotle constructs gives no ground for Leszl s fears. Perhaps arith- metic can serve as a paradigm case here. There is a science of number; but even the possibility that (in some attenuated sense) number can be applied to everything would not yield the immediate conclusion that all is number and all is reducible to and de- ducible from number. Leszl spends considerable energy arguing against reduction to and deduction from an ultimate single nature of being, without really clarifying how these methodological concepts would actually function. But if even the logical pos- sibility of such a system would not entail its actuality, the grounds of controversy can not be limited to the logical alone. On the other hand, there emerges in the book a fruitful expansion of the phenom- ena to be considered in assessing focal meaning. The scope of the material grows to include not only the central notions of being and the one, but the sense in which there is community among imaginary men and real men, between perfect forms and de- generate forms designated by the same term, between the undeveloped and the de- veloped, between members in a developing series (as Aristotle regards different levels of soul or the succession of numbers) which are not taken to be species of one genus, between imperfect constitutions and the ideal constitution, between a severed hand and a living hand. In this process, the writer s concept/on becomes loosened up and he moves somewhat to a contextual mode of analysis in which the conflicting in- terpretations among which he is trying to decide might better have been conceived as varied types, some fitting in one context and some in others. In fact we may be inclined to suspect at the end that Aristotle was wise in not providing a systematic treatment of focal meaning because there may be no systematic unity involved. It is in a way un- fortunate that so felicitous an English term was invented for the paradigm case, since it spurs the attempt to find a unified treatment, when in fact all sorts of intermediate modes of relating the meaning of terms to different contexts are coming to the surface. Of course Aristotle gives us the phrase which sets the enterprise going--a word used in many senses but by reference to or relative to one thing (~tprg Ev). But there is enough variety in his idea of relation and of the one to allow many modes of relation and many forms of unity. To range more systematically over the corpus in such an  BOOK REVIEWS 105 inquiry with special attention to application in the physical writings as well as the logical might prove extremely helpful. ABRAHAM EDEL The Graduate School CUNY Gotteserkenntnis und Gottesbegriff in den philosophischen Schri[ten des Nikolaus von Kues. By Siegfried Dangelmayr. Monographien zur philosophischen Forschung, Band 54. (Meisenheim am Glan: Verlag Anton Hain, 1969. Pp. 321) This dense and learned monograph examines the knowledge and concept of God in the metaphysics of Nicholas of Cues. Since God is in every respect the central principle in this thinker, this work serves as an introduction to his entire philosophy and theology. Solidly based on srcinal texts, this work offers a wealth of information and interpretation of Nicholas' thought, although without much historical background. The first part of the work, on knowledge of God, follows to some extent the chro- nology of Nicholas' writings, beginning with De docta ignorantia. The author rightly sees Nicholas as part of the long neo-Platonic tradition of the Middle Ages. In that philosophy, the Platonic Good is identified with the infinite Christian God. Since God is infinite, our knowledge does not bear upon him absolutely. Nicholas calls this learned ignorance : since our knowing, intelligere bears only upon relations, it does not embrace God, who is above all oppositions and relations (p. 28). In any philosophy of neo-Platonic inspiration, the being of the many lies in their relation to the one. So, to know creatures is to understand them as constituted by their relation to God, not by any being which is intrinsic to creatures. In this theology, which is both specula- tive and mystical, creatures are mysteries, aenigmata (p. 153), through which the one, or God, unfolds himself into a many by means of his creative word, Verbum (p. 77). The author lays this out with great skill, notwithstanding some historical errors, such as his notion that Plotinus identified the One with the highest being, Sein when that sage in fact says and means quite the opposite. Nevertheless, the constant tendency to interpret Nicholas in terms of Hegel and Fichte diminishes the merit of this work. Hegel's absoluter Geist (p. 52) or das absolute Wissen (p. 55) are not hinted at by Nicholas, who would be astonished to hear that God is absolute concept, Begriff (p. 137). In the second part of this work, many of Dangelmayr's analyses are excellent and accurate. Nicholas calls God can-is, possest a term he coined to suggest that God is not pure act (as in Thomas, for example), but rather is above the distinction of act and potency (p. 305). Act and potency are only special cases of otherness, or many-ness, or relatedness, and God precedes the whole distinction between being and ability to be (p. 293). The few comparisons with Thomas are very suggestive and make the reader wish for more. In Thomas, God is being itself, ipsurn esse since ability to be, posse is only a relation to esse. In Nicholas, God is the posse which precedes any ability to be something. Ability to be, in turn, must precede any actual being. In Nicholas' peculiar neo-Platonic terminology, God is not identified with being but with ability to be, which precedes all the relative and finite beings. Thus being finds its source and explanation in God's universal presence; he is the posse prior to the distinction between being and not-being. In the latter haft of the book, however, Dangelmayr's tendency to interpret Nicholas as an Hegelian, come to torment us before the time, becomes quite unbearable. To ascribe to Nicholas the notion of the unfolding of the self-reflection of thought (p. 307) is simply to substitute Hegel's philosophy in place of the srcinal. Other examples
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks