Translate

11.12.16

Dear Dr Ross. You wrote here http://www.friesian.com/universl.htm : However, a stricter empiricism again creates the difficulty that the apparent "form" of an object cannot provide knowledge of an end (an entelechy) that is only implicit in the present object, and so hidden to present knowledge.

This seems to be the only statement in that essay about the problems with Aristotle.
I thought there were more serious problems with Aristotle like this: from Stanford: Some maintain that Aristotle’s theory is ultimately inconsistent, on the grounds that it is committed to all three of the following propositions:
(i)Substance is form.
(ii)Form is universal.
(iii)No universal is a substance.
(eio. No U (universal) is S (substance). Some F (form) is S. Some F are  U, but some  are not.)
That is F is not a subset of U. But F and S intersect. There are some forms that are substances.



This seems important because the  Maimonides is considered to be going with Aristotle. It does not seem that he would have missed these problems. Is there perhaps ways to answer these things? Or Perhaps Maimonides was aware of these problems and therefore took a kind of Middle Path between Aristotle and the Neo-Platonists. Sincerely Avraham Rosenblum

Aristotles forms must be hidden in part, for we cannot tell from the inspection of an acorn what the grown tree will look like.  The Aristotelian form thus becomes separate from its obvious meaning in Greek, i.e. eidos as image.  Since Aristotle wants to be a kind of Empiricist, with the form derived in some way from the perception of the object, the universal that is mentally abstracted from the image carries with it things that are not actually visible.

In a Kantian theory,  what we know about universals will only apply to phenomenal objects.  The status of abstract (universal) objects among things-in-themselves is left open, as with other matters of transcendence.  At the same time, hidden features of universals obviously cannot be abstracted directly from perception.  Thus, what the oak will look like is a matter of speculation, scientific investigation, or just waiting around for the tree to grow from the acorn.  What scientific investigation has learned, of course, is that the form of the oak is determined by the DNA in the acorn.  The entelechy has a physical basis, but this could be not gathered from the mere inspection of the acorn.  Aristotleentelechy was thus for real, but not in the way he thought.

I would agree that Aristotle affirms (i) and (ii), but I dont really see (iii).  Universals are forms, and forms are substance.  I think that Maimonides is actually a Neoplatonist, where the chain of Being is grades of form, and universality, from the four elements up to the One.

So I am curious why you, or anyone, would say that No universal is a substance in Aristotle.

Best wishes,
KR


Dear Dr Ross. I thank you for your detailed reply. My basic idea that Aristotle hold no universal is a form comes from Marc Cohen  in the entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia Aristotle's Metaphysics. where he traces this idea to  book Z chapter 13 of the Metaphysics.Sincerely Avraham Rosenblum


Im not entirely sure what this means.   in Aristotle can only be a universal, since it can only be general.  Individual things are combinations of form and matter, with the matter accounting for individuality and spatial extension.  Are  you saying that Marc Cohen traces the idea that form is not a universal to Metaphysics Z?  This would be very strange.  Forms can be individual things if they are sui generis, unique of their kind.  But only God, and then the Intelligences that drive the planets, are of this kind  although St. Thomas, naturally, added human souls.

KR


Appendix:

(i)Substance is form.
(ii)Form is universal.
(iii)No universal is a substance.

"Substance" is the major term. "Form" is the middle term. "Universal" is the minor term.

[I have trouble understanding this. Either (i) means "All substance is form." All substances are in the category of form, [A]. Or perhaps it means, "Some substance is form." [I].

Same with (ii) either: "All form is in the category of universals." [A] or "Some forms are in the category of universals." [I]
(iii) seems to mean:  "There is no intersection between  the set of universals and the set of all substance." [E]

So we have a lot of possibilities to go through. Let's start with AAE. The middle is distributed. But there is the illicit process of the minor term..
Perhaps it is rather IIE. Then that would be the fallacy of the undistributed middle. Neither premise refers to every member of the middle term.

Perhaps it is AIE. Same problem. The middle term is not distributed.

Perhaps it is IAE.  Form is distributed in the second premise but not universal. That seems to be a fallacy of the minor term. You say something in the conclusion about every member of the minor term but not in the second premise.

So that is what Marc Cohen means. That there is no way to make sense of all three propositions.

Perhaps Aristotle means this:
(EIO-4. No U (universal) is S (substance). Some F (form) is S. Some F are not U but some might be?)