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Aristotle and slavery


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#1 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 04:47 PM

For those of you expert on Aristotle I need some input.

See the following portion from -Politics-.

http://www.cleverley...aribk1_4_6.html

Why did Aristotle favor or apologize for slavery. Did he have a basis in reason?

Why did Rand, who was against slavery give Aristotle such high marks/

Ba'al Chatzaf
אויב מיין באָבע האט בייצים זי וואָלט זיין מיין זיידע

#2 Roger Bissell

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 05:51 PM

Here is what Leonard Peikoff wrote on the issue in lecture 5 of "Objectivism Through Induction":

[Questioner]"You mentioned that Ancient Greece and America were the only egoistic societies. Doesn’t slavery in Greece and in the South in America detract from that?” [Peikoff]Well, it detracts from their consistency, except that, in both these places, slavery was a matter of anthropology, not of ethics, and we’re classifying them ethically. In other words, the Greeks did not think that the slaves were fully human. They were from barbarian cultures. And to them, there were the full humans, and then there were the savages that they didn’t think were fully human. Aristotle went so far as to say they had a different category of intelligence. And the same in America…did not think that blacks were full humans. Now, these…this is profoundly mistaken beliefs, but they were not a violation of an ethical principle, they were a failure to grasp what belongs under “egoism.” And, of course, in America, when they did discover that, they abolished slavery. So, I do not think that slavery…slavery detracts from the correctness of the practice, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that egoism is the proper description of them morally, within the context of their knowledge.


Rand and Peikoff excuse Aristotle and the ancient Greeks because of their relative ignorance and innocence, in terms of anthropology (what is fully human, and what not). Personally, I don't think Peikoff's remarks ring as true for the Founding Fathers. I think they were seriously morally conflicted about the issue of slavery, viz. the slaves they held. So, that is "their bad." However, Aristotle and the ancient Greeks had no such compunctions, because they had a much more primitively developed concept of "rights" as well as what constitutes a full-fledged "human being."

As you must know, Rand and Peikoff give Aristotle such "high marks" ~generally~ speaking because of his fundamentally rational, powerful views on logic, epistemology, and objectivity (adhering to reality). I think Aristotle was one of the absolutely most incredible geniuses the human race ever produced. We're all standing on his shoulders, even as we wipe off the clay from his feet that clinged on as we clambored upward. At least, speaking for myself, ~I~ am.

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Objectivism, properly used, is a tool for living, not a weapon with which to bash those one disagrees with.

#3 David Lee

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 06:30 PM

editing... jeez, this new format for OL looks good but is not user friendly eh?

Edited by David Lee, 10 September 2011 - 07:08 PM.

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#4 David Lee

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 07:09 PM

For those of you expert on Aristotle I need some input.

See the following portion from -Politics-.

http://www.cleverley...aribk1_4_6.html

Why did Aristotle favor or apologize for slavery. Did he have a basis in reason?

Why did Rand, who was against slavery give Aristotle such high marks/

Ba'al Chatzaf

For those of you expert on Aristotle I need some input.

See the following portion from -Politics-.

http://www.cleverley...aribk1_4_6.html

Why did Aristotle favor or apologize for slavery. Did he have a basis in reason?

Why did Rand, who was against slavery give Aristotle such high marks/

Ba'al Chatzaf

Aristotle had a rational basis alright. He correctly observed that some men are meant to be slaves (by nature) since they lack certain abilities or capacities that would enable them to live a full and free life such as intelligence that would not merely allow them to do hard labor but plan strategically and make decisions that would be most effective (one that can control nature by its fullest capacity).Here:"Nature would like to distinguish between the bodies of freemen and slaves, making the one strong for servile labor, the other upright, and although useless for such services, useful for political life in the arts both of war and peace." I believe that he was also rejecting the notion that some people are meant to be slaves because of the ability of other men to inflict harm and in this sense, slavery is indeed wrong. As I always tell my colleagues, "The boss knows how and can do our jobs but we, at present (or ever) can't perform her job as she does it."


Aristotle did not cite concrete cases and I take this to be a hint that 'slaves' or his slaves back then are more like employees. He says, "The abuse of this authority is injurious to both; for the interests of part and whole, of body and soul, are the same, and the slave is a part of the master, a living but separated part of his bodily frame. Hence, where the relation of master and slave between them is natural they are friends and have a common interest, but where it rests merely on law and force the reverse is true." In our household, a woman comes in to do the dishes and almost anything else that we need her to do or assist us. I think that it is still noble to be employed (or in Aristotle's time: enslaved) since if no men found you to be of any worth, you could be a beggar or worse.Having your abilities be recognized and appreciated and praised by another fellow is one of the joys of being a man. Having someone pay you with gratitude and his productive ability is a goal one must strive for since it equalizes you both and in that sense, the relationship of master and slave is negated you are traders and at most: friends.


I believe a true 'master' does not seek to enslave other men but calls out to those who are true with themselves enough to be a part of his whole goal and aid same as when companies post job ads.


Rand recognized Aristotle's honesty and if by using the text you provided, so would I for The Philosopher yet again clearly defines the reason why we (or the men of his era) needed slaves: "For if every instrument could accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others, like the statues of Daedalus, or the tripods of Hephaestus, which, says the poet, "of their own accord entered the assembly of the Gods" if, in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not want servants, nor masters slaves."


Hence, during Rand's time and more so ours, we already have non-living slaves such as appliances, computers and machines to do the hard labor for us. This extenuates the need for slaves or servants same as the necessity of employing people who only work for 8 hours a day/ 5 days a week and whom you pay because they have skills which cannot simply be accomplished by the machines (at least not in the same manner) which you, as the employer envision as a man who only another man can fathom. These robots free up man's mind and allow him to pursue greater personal achievements such that those who have a privation in mind and/or body can still engage in active and productive work - this state is what we call living.


Around the world, there are still servants who live in or nearby their employers quarters such as butlers and maids who at their employer's beck and call come to aid. Notice that they would still call them 'master' or 'mistress' to indicate that they are wholly owned by them at a certain period or their attention is focused on another's interest. This is the same as when you are in your employers office, you are expected to accomplish the work given and in your spare time may still do what you wish such as taking a break or going to the johns - which I believe is similar to how The Philosopher treated his 'slaves'.


In a related matter, most men have dropped the "I can only pay you with food and lodging…" act in order to acknowledge that they have their own lives to deal with and so as such you pay them with a standard of trade which is money albeit this may be a matter of discussion elsewhere.

I advice those who read the text on the link to please put it in proper context and look for the possibility of how the language of Aristotle may persist today.

Edited by David Lee, 10 September 2011 - 09:07 PM.

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#5 George H. Smith

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 08:52 PM

For those of you expert on Aristotle I need some input. See the following portion from -Politics-. http://www.cleverley...aribk1_4_6.html Why did Aristotle favor or apologize for slavery. Did he have a basis in reason? Why did Rand, who was against slavery give Aristotle such high marks/ Ba'al Chatzaf



Aristotle argued that non-Greek "barbarians" are naturally inferior to Greeks, and that they are actually better off performing mundane work as slaves, because they can thereby partake of the benefits of a vastly superior civilization.

Similar "slavery is good for you" arguments can be found in pro-slavery arguments in antebellum America. To put it crudely: If you are extremely stupid, you would be better off -- you would have a better chance of being happy -- by being the slave of a really smart person than by stumbling through life on your own. So what if you disagree and don't want to be a slave? Well, this just means that you are too stupid to understand and appreciate Aristotle's argument. A classic Catch-22.

Can Aristotle's position be excused because of ignorance? Whenever we hear this kind of argument about historical context, we need to find out whether anti-slavery arguments were made by contemporaries of Aristotle -- and they were. It would therefore appear that some Greek thinkers managed to escape the same influences that confined Aristotle

In point of fact, Aristotle was an out-and-out statist. This will be evident to anyone who reads the many outrageous policies that he advocated in the Politics. Although Aristotle was better than Plato on some issues-- for example, he criticized Plato's almost maniacal defense of uniformity and Plato's arguments for the benefits that would accrue by the abolition of private property among the Guardian class -- he continued Plato's call for a comprehensive and compulsory system of state education, based on the Spartan model, while (like Plato) noting that children are the property of the State.

I searched through some old files and found this summary that I wrote a few years ago. These are unpublished notes. The following is but a sample of how horrendous Aristotle's political views really were:



...Hence when Aristotle proposes laws that should govern an ideal state, he doesn’t view their effect on personal freedom as important enough even to consider. As a philosopher who has discovered what is needed for a good life, both for society and for the individual, he merely needs to call for the codification and enforcement of these conditions in the form of coercive laws. These include the following:

The first category of laws is concerned with producing “the healthiest possible bodies in the nurseries of the state.” The age of marriage for women should be around eighteen; for men, thirty-seven. Marriages should take place during winter, and married couples must “render service to the state by bringing children into the world.”[ii] Pregnant women should engage in moderate exercise by being required to make daily pilgrimages to a religious shrine. But they should not exert their minds, because this might have an undesirable influence on the intellectual abilities of their children. “There should certainly be a law to prevent the rearing of deformed children,” but infanticide should be against the law when used merely as a method of population control. Instead, laws should limit the size of the family. When this limit is exceeded, the pregnant woman should be compelled to abort by inducing a miscarriage (provided “sense and life” have not yet begun in the embryo).[iii]

The physical health of children should be closely supervised. For example, they should be habituated from an early age to endure cold weather, not only because this is conducive to their health but also because it hardens them “in advance for military service.”[iv] Superintendents of education should determine the proper games for young children (which should be neither laborious nor effeminate), as well as which stories are appropriate for them. In short, “The superintendents of education must exercise a general control over the way in which children pass their time.”[v]

In addition to providing a detailed scheme of education, both physical and moral, for children, the legislator must also prohibit corrupting influences. The use of bad language should be proscribed “everywhere in our state,” and those who speak or act indecently “must be punished accordingly.” (Younger violators should be subjected to physical punishment, whereas older violators should “undergo indignities of a degrading character.”) And, by the same logic, indecent pictures, paintings, statues, and plays should also be prohibited. [vi]

Politics 1334b (p. 324).

[ii] Politics 1335b (p. 327)

[iii] Politics 1335b (p. 327).

[iv] Politics 1336a (p. 328).

[v] Politics
1336a (p. 329).

[i][vi] [i]Politics

1336b (pp. 329-30).



Ghs

#6 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 03:10 AM


Aristotle had a rational basis alright. He correctly observed that some men are meant to be slaves (by nature) since they lack certain abilities or capacities that would enable them to live a full and free life such as intelligence that would not merely allow them to do hard labor but plan strategically and make decisions that would be most effective (one that can control nature by its fullest capacity)


Nature is not sentient and nature does not "mean" or intend anything. Only people mean or intend this or that.. So if a person "meant by nature" to be a slave is enslaved it is another person who took advantage of his lack of ability that enslaves him. Shall we permit slavery under law? If not, why not? If so, who makes the decision that so and so is not fit to be free?

Is it not the case that the slave is compelled to labor and then denied the fruit of his labor? If so, what makes that different from theft? If a person is unable to defend his property, is it justified to take his property from him?

We see that Aristotle subscribes to the insane notion that Nature (i.e. the physical cosmos) has intentions and goals. In short Aristotle is wrong about this. Just as wrong as he was about the motion of massive bodies. Why did Rand give such high marks to anyone who subscribes to such gross errors?

Ba'al Chatzaf
אויב מיין באָבע האט בייצים זי וואָלט זיין מיין זיידע

#7 David Lee

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 06:45 AM



Aristotle had a rational basis alright. He correctly observed that some men are meant to be slaves (by nature) since they lack certain abilities or capacities that would enable them to live a full and free life such as intelligence that would not merely allow them to do hard labor but plan strategically and make decisions that would be most effective (one that can control nature by its fullest capacity)


Nature is not sentient and nature does not "mean" or intend anything. Only people mean or intend this or that.. So if a person "meant by nature" to be a slave is enslaved it is another person who took advantage of his lack of ability that enslaves him. Shall we permit slavery under law? If not, why not? If so, who makes the decision that so and so is not fit to be free?

Is it not the case that the slave is compelled to labor and then denied the fruit of his labor? If so, what makes that different from theft? If a person is unable to defend his property, is it justified to take his property from him?

We see that Aristotle subscribes to the insane notion that Nature (i.e. the physical cosmos) has intentions and goals. In short Aristotle is wrong about this. Just as wrong as he was about the motion of massive bodies. Why did Rand give such high marks to anyone who subscribes to such gross errors?

Ba'al Chatzaf


Oh alright, I missed a word there (by their nature) i.e. their characteristic which in this case is intelligence. Have you never taken advantage of someone else and always told them what exactly you were up to when you patronize their service? Do employers tell their employees how much or little his business make so that they know their exact contribution to the profit for the sake of fairness and "not to feel like/be enslaved"? I find that absurd since employees are not privy to such information and thus can be said to lack the knowledge or insight.

In another sense, that can be equated to intelligence and in the case of slavery, a slave will not be able to fully grasp wider abstractions and are stuck to the concretes by their nature (level of intelligence). They live by a hand-to-mouth existence except for a slaves who were bright - which could still hope to someday buy his freedom (as taught in my history class, this was the practiced in days long gone).

True enough, nature cannot "intend", it is what it just is or appears to be. Aristotle was rejecting the notion of keeping slaves by force. Again: "Hence, where the relation of master and slave between them is natural they are friends and have a common interest, but where it rests merely on law and force the reverse is true. " He actually points out a relationship we come to understand now as employer-employee and no one denies anyone the credit he is due.

Yes, a slave (employee) is compelled to labor. Compelled by whom/what? His own accord and will and reason and by the contract. Have you not ever heard of a "corporate slave" or when a business owner says, "This company is mine." is he not also referring to the people who work for him? Deny the fruit of his labor? Hardly. If we agree that I'd give you a loaf of bread if you run errands for me and I fed you, what have I denied you of? If I did, you can always run away or die trying (if the master is evil). Such questions, my friend, rest on the premise of a malevolent universe where masters rule by force and sadism which, in Aristotle's case, is highly doubtful.

No one should be allowed to keep slaves by force but I say if there are those at present who would like to be employed as such should be free to take on the burden of responsibility for their choice and actions. The only requirement that I would have to assert is that any and all agreements must be drawn clearly for both parties (in a language they both understand) and in a legally binding fashion (with witnesses I suppose is enough) - a contract.

Aristotle is wrong about a lot of things - as we have proven now. But during his era could you have proven him wrong using the same means he had? I must admit, I am not an expert on his writings, but the source text you presented as evidence in my court of law favors his arguments. Were The Philosopher be around to this day, do you honestly think that his biases and prejudices (conclusions and generalizations) would have thwarted his reason? His ability to recognize facts as facts? Will the founder of Moderate Realism evade reality given ample evidence as so many philosophers and people have done and are still doing right this moment?

A person can be born into slavery but he is a slave only up to the point where he fails to recognize that he does not need to be one (if he is bright and courageous enough to buy his way out). A parent cannot "own" a child forever and keep him within his household when the child clearly wants to leave and has the means to live independently. Doing such indicates force and pathology and evil on the parents to be met by force as well. This is my position when it comes to parent-child relationship. How much more for master and slave?

Edited by David Lee, 12 September 2011 - 12:24 AM.

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#8 Roger Bissell

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 11:52 AM



Aristotle had a rational basis alright. He correctly observed that some men are meant to be slaves (by nature) since they lack certain abilities or capacities that would enable them to live a full and free life such as intelligence that would not merely allow them to do hard labor but plan strategically and make decisions that would be most effective (one that can control nature by its fullest capacity)


Nature is not sentient and nature does not "mean" or intend anything. Only people mean or intend this or that.. So if a person "meant by nature" to be a slave is enslaved it is another person who took advantage of his lack of ability that enslaves him. Shall we permit slavery under law? If not, why not? If so, who makes the decision that so and so is not fit to be free?

Is it not the case that the slave is compelled to labor and then denied the fruit of his labor? If so, what makes that different from theft? If a person is unable to defend his property, is it justified to take his property from him?

We see that Aristotle subscribes to the insane notion that Nature (i.e. the physical cosmos) has intentions and goals. In short Aristotle is wrong about this. Just as wrong as he was about the motion of massive bodies. Why did Rand give such high marks to anyone who subscribes to such gross errors?

Ba'al Chatzaf


Context, Ba'al. Your scathing denunciation of Aristotle is highly anachronistic. In the early days of civilization, it takes world-class genius to be right about ~anything~, and Aristotle was right about ~so much~. Yet, you are blistering him because he wasn't right about ~everything~, including some of your concerns.

His views about massive bodies or slavery were NOT consequential to the development of modern science and individual rights, but his epistemology and logic WERE.

By contrast, Immanuel Kant believed in rights and limited government, even something like not using other people as means to your ends, but those views were not how he influenced subsequent developments in liberty or science. Instead, it was his "Copernican Revolution" that said consciousness is not for perceiving reality, and Aristotle and Rand maintain, but for constructing it.

Do you really want to hold Aristotle's feet to the fire for incorrect views in science or politics, when the most important contribution ~anyone~ could make in philosophy is to teach us how to think -- and thus to correct our errors?

Sorry, Ba'al, your scorn for the Master of Those Who Know does not pass the smell test.

REB
Objectivism, properly used, is a tool for living, not a weapon with which to bash those one disagrees with.

#9 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 01:23 PM


Sorry, Ba'al, your scorn for the Master of Those Who Know does not pass the smell test.

REB


My scorn smells better than Aristotle's neglect to do simple experiments to test his theories. Experiment that could have been done with the technology available in his time. For example how about the howler that heavy bodies fall faster than lighter bodies and in proportion to their weight. A ten year old Greek kid could have drop a one pound stone and a ten pound stone off the roof of the nearest temple to Athena to disprove that howler. The Master of Those Who Know, apparently did know enough to check his work.

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אויב מיין באָבע האט בייצים זי וואָלט זיין מיין זיידע

#10 Roger Bissell

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 01:54 PM



Sorry, Ba'al, your scorn for the Master of Those Who Know does not pass the smell test.

REB


My scorn smells better than Aristotle's neglect to do simple experiments to test his theories. Experiment that could have been done with the technology available in his time. For example how about the howler that heavy bodies fall faster than lighter bodies and in proportion to their weight. A ten year old Greek kid could have drop a one pound stone and a ten pound stone off the roof of the nearest temple to Athena to disprove that howler. The Master of Those Who Know, apparently did know enough to check his work.

Ba'al Chatzaf


You are straining at a gnat (Aristotle's faulty physics) in order to swallow an elephant (Aristotle supposedly doesn't deserve "high marks").

Aristotle was not omniscient or infallible. So? What is more significant and worthy of attention -- Aristotle's valid and monumentally positive contributions to the human race -- or his relatively minor errors? His laying the groundwork for scientific methodology -- or his own inability to apply it consistently?

Was Rand wrong for also giving "high marks" to that slave-master -- and, oh yes, the writer of the Declaration of Independence -- Thomas Jefferson?

The imperfect good is not the enemy of the perfect better. Except perhaps in Leonard Peikoff's mind -- and even then, not in regard to Aristotle or Jefferson.

REB

P.S. -- BTW, why not also scorn one of the towering giants of modern science, Isaac Newton, because he had the "insane," boneheaded view that space and time were absolute? I.e., because he wasn't Albert Einstein? (whose view that space and time are relative was ~also~ held by Aristotle. "High marks" to Aristotle for that, or are you going to dismiss his insightful view from over 2000 years ago?)
Objectivism, properly used, is a tool for living, not a weapon with which to bash those one disagrees with.

#11 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 05:33 PM


Aristotle was not omniscient or infallible. So? What is more significant and worthy of attention -- Aristotle's valid and monumentally positive contributions to the human race -- or his relatively minor errors? His laying the groundwork for scientific methodology -- or his own inability to apply it consistently?



REB

P.S. -- BTW, why not also scorn one of the towering giants of modern science, Isaac Newton, because he had the "insane," boneheaded view that space and time were absolute? I.e., because he wasn't Albert Einstein? (whose view that space and time are relative was ~also~ held by Aristotle. "High marks" to Aristotle for that, or are you going to dismiss his insightful view from over 2000 years ago?)


Aristotle's errors held up physical science for over a thousand years.

Newton's errors could not be uncovered until the science of electrodynamics was developed. Einstein was lead to the special theory of relativity by Maxwell-Faraday electrodynamic field theory. The conservation laws uncovered by Newton still hold even in relativity. Momentum and Energy are conserved. The advance of technology driven by Newtonian mechanics lead to the technology the uncovered the truer nature of space and time.

Whereas Aristotle's errors held up science. Why? Aristotle was an a priorist. simple as that. He believed common sense and straightforward observation would reveal a priori truth. He was wrong. Aristotle had the "the Greek disease" -- things which sounded self evident were self evident. But that is not the way the world works

The open path to correct dynamics was initially seen by Archimedes who was Galileo's inspiration. Galileo picked up where Archimedes stopped and gave us dynamics, a correct science of motion and mass.

Ba'al Chatzaf
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#12 David Lee

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 12:41 AM



Sorry, Ba'al, your scorn for the Master of Those Who Know does not pass the smell test.

REB


My scorn smells better than Aristotle's neglect to do simple experiments to test his theories. Experiment that could have been done with the technology available in his time. For example how about the howler that heavy bodies fall faster than lighter bodies and in proportion to their weight. A ten year old Greek kid could have drop a one pound stone and a ten pound stone off the roof of the nearest temple to Athena to disprove that howler. The Master of Those Who Know, apparently did know enough to check his work.

Ba'al Chatzaf


Are we picking on Aristotle's physics now? Do you have a source text/link for that? It would be better if we move this into another room then. Maybe someone asked him or quoted him when he said offhand about his thoughts on falling bodies. It became so wildly popular that he thought he was right (since it is a logical presumption - at the very least anyway) and it got included in his texts. What if the experiment was between a feather and a rock? Surely, that is mistaken but hey, could you blame the guy? How about the dropping mechanism and timer? Do you know how to calibrate the timing of the assistants or device and measure the fall by the second with a sundial? Pray tell...

Wait, wait, how about his fondness of and treatise on cryptozoology huh? How about that? I bet some biologists/evolutionist would love to strangle him if he wasn't dead yet eh?

Are you gonna wail on his gravestone and curse him or bow down to pay respects if you see it Ba'al?

Edited by David Lee, 12 September 2011 - 06:12 AM.

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#13 whYNOT

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 08:03 AM

Sorry, Ba'al, your scorn for the Master of Those Who Know does not pass the smell test. REB

My scorn smells better than Aristotle's neglect to do simple experiments to test his theories. Experiment that could have been done with the technology available in his time. For example how about the howler that heavy bodies fall faster than lighter bodies and in proportion to their weight. A ten year old Greek kid could have drop a one pound stone and a ten pound stone off the roof of the nearest temple to Athena to disprove that howler. The Master of Those Who Know, apparently did know enough to check his work. Ba'al Chatzaf

Are we picking on Aristotle's physics now? Do you have a source text/link for that? It would be better if we move this into another room then. Maybe someone asked him or quoted him when he said offhand about his thoughts on falling bodies. It became so wildly popular that he thought he was right (since it is a logical presumption - at the very least anyway) and it got included in his texts. What if the experiment was between a feather and a rock? Surely, that is mistaken but hey, could you blame the guy? How about the dropping mechanism and timer? Do you know how to calibrate the timing of the assistants or device and measure the fall by the second with a sundial? Pray tell... Wait, wait, how about his fondness of and treatise on cryptozoology huh? How about that? I bet some biologists/evolutionist would love to strangle him if he wasn't dead yet eh? Are you gonna wail on his gravestone and curse him or bow down to pay respects if you see it Ba'al?


You mean Aristotle did not have a state of the art Omega sundial stop-watch? Serves him right..
Ba'al appears to hold the touchingly innocent belief that all knowledge is "received."
We are so used to standing on the shoulders of a succession of giants, that it is too easy to forget that Ari was an original giant.
"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge". Nicolaus Copernicus (An original objectivist) 1473-1543 ***No man may be smaller than his philosophy...***

#14 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 10:01 AM


You mean Aristotle did not have a state of the art Omega sundial stop-watch? Serves him right..
Ba'al appears to hold the touchingly innocent belief that all knowledge is "received."
We are so used to standing on the shoulders of a succession of giants, that it is too easy to forget that Ari was an original giant.


Dead wrong! Knowledge is clawed out of reality by wit and brute force. Nothing is "received". It has to be work for.

I was Aristotle who believed in a prior principles. Every thing about us is a posteriori..

Ba'al Chatzaf
אויב מיין באָבע האט בייצים זי וואָלט זיין מיין זיידע

#15 whYNOT

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 01:43 PM



You mean Aristotle did not have a state of the art Omega sundial stop-watch? Serves him right..
Ba'al appears to hold the touchingly innocent belief that all knowledge is "received."
We are so used to standing on the shoulders of a succession of giants, that it is too easy to forget that Ari was an original giant.


Dead wrong! Knowledge is clawed out of reality by wit and brute force. Nothing is "received". It has to be work for.

I was Aristotle who believed in a prior principles. Every thing about us is a posteriori..

Ba'al Chatzaf


Ba'al,

This is pure empiricism - as distinct from the scientific empirical method - and is not true.
A priorism, similarly induction, is probably more important to science today (which I realize is your field), than it was even to Aristotle. (Although he did also conduct deductive experiments.)*
Considering that was 2300 years ago, with nobody for him to refer to, it is amazing he got more right, than wrong, though when he was wrong, he was very wrong - as we can see with hindsight.
It's been estimated that only about one third of his work has survived.

All that above and beyond his most enduring work in logic and epistemology.

*I was interested to find out recently that he had constructed and studied a 'camera obscura'.


Tony
"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge". Nicolaus Copernicus (An original objectivist) 1473-1543 ***No man may be smaller than his philosophy...***

#16 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 02:13 PM

It's been estimated that only about one third of his work has survived.

All that above and beyond his most enduring work in logic and epistemology.

*I was interested to find out recently that he had constructed and studied a 'camera obscura'.


Tony


How? No lenses in those days. And the Greeks believed that light came out of the eye.

All that survives are the Cliff Notes. Aristotle wrote dialogues in Platonic Style according to Cato. No exist today.

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#17 Merlin Jetton

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 02:32 PM


I was interested to find out recently that he had constructed and studied a 'camera obscura'.


How? No lenses in those days.


No lens required.

As a pinhole is made smaller, the image gets sharper, but the projected image becomes dimmer. With too small a pinhole the sharpness again becomes worse due to diffraction. Some practical camera obscuras use a lens rather than a pinhole because it allows a larger aperture, giving a usable brightness while maintaining focus. (See pinhole camera for construction information.)

The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 to 322 BCE) understood the optical principle of the pinhole camera.[3] He viewed the crescent shape of a partially eclipsed sun projected on the ground through the holes in a sieve, and the gaps between leaves of a plane tree.

The camera obscura was known to earlier scholars since the time of Mozi and Aristotle.[4] Euclid's Optics (ca 300 BC), presupposed the camera obscura as a demonstration that light travels in straight lines.[5]

In the 4th century BC, Aristotle noted that "sunlight travelling through small openings between the leaves of a tree, the holes of a sieve, the openings wickerwork, and even interlaced fingers will create circular patches of light on the ground." In the 4th century AD, Theon of Alexandria observed how "candlelight passing through a pinhole will create an illuminated spot on a screen that is directly in line with the aperture and the center of the candle" (source).



#18 Roger Bissell

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 03:35 PM

This is a really bizarre post -- or maybe way too hastily written?



You mean Aristotle did not have a state of the art Omega sundial stop-watch? Serves him right..
Ba'al appears to hold the touchingly innocent belief that all knowledge is "received."
We are so used to standing on the shoulders of a succession of giants, that it is too easy to forget that Ari was an original giant.


Dead wrong! Knowledge is clawed out of reality by wit and brute force. Nothing is "received". It has to be work for.


Work...for whom?

I was Aristotle who believed in a prior principles.


So ~that~ explains why you're so hard on poor Aristotle. It's ~self-loathing~!! C'mon, Ba'al, lighten up, buddy. You're not that bad! :-)

As for "a prior [sic] principles," I think Aristotle formed his generalizations and axioms the same way the rest of us do -- one leg at a time. (Empirically.) He was just more clever than most about validating them. (E.g., he knew you couldn't prove the Law of Contradiction, but he showed by Reaffirmation Through Denial that even trying to reject it required that you tacitly assume it's truth.)

Every thing about us is a posteriori..

Ba'al Chatzaf


Even our genes?

REB
Objectivism, properly used, is a tool for living, not a weapon with which to bash those one disagrees with.

#19 Merlin Jetton

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 04:17 PM


Every thing about us is a posteriori..

Even our genes?

Yes, genes (sp?) cover the posterior, except for some young men and boys. :smile:

Edited by Merlin Jetton, 12 September 2011 - 04:18 PM.


#20 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 05:01 PM


Even our genes?

REB


Our genome is formed -after- the fact or event of conception.

Our knowledge is formed after the the facts or events of perception and integration of perceptions. We never get knowledge out of thin air and our so called first principles are formulated after a struggle with the facts we encounter. Principles never come for free. They must be worked at and worked for.

Many of the ancient Greeks enamored with their gift of gab believed that the world (cosmos) could be -deduced- from first principles. Following the lead of the geometers who were inspired by Pythagoras early and Eudoxus later on the believed that could derive knowledge from self evident axioms. In our 16 th century it became clear that the so-called self evident axioms of geometry were not the least bit self evident. Several equally consistent and mutually contradictory geometric systems existed.

Ba'al Chatzaf
אויב מיין באָבע האט בייצים זי וואָלט זיין מיין זיידע




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