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Aristotelian Epistemology and Geocentrism

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  • techcom@broline.com
    I finally have a little time to address the issue of the claim of a relationship between Aristotelian epistemology and the persistence of geocentrism. In
    Message 1 of 77 , Jan 1, 2004
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      I finally have a little time to address the issue of the claim of a
      relationship between Aristotelian epistemology and the persistence of
      geocentrism.

      "In Aristotle, Greek cosmology achieved its most comprehensive and
      systematic development. His view of the cosmos was a synthesis of his many
      predecessors' insights, from the Ionians' and Empedocles' ideas concerning
      natural elements to Plato's astronomy and the problem of the planets. The
      Earth was the stationary center of the universe, around which the heavenly
      bodies rotated. The whole cosmos was finite and circumscribed by a perfect
      sphere, within which were set the fixed stars. Aristotle based the Earth's
      uniqueness, centrality, and immobility not only on self-evidence and common
      sense, [please note] but also on his theory of the elements.

      "...for Aristotle, Mind was in a sense more fully omnipotent and immanent
      in nature, and in his earlier years he concluded that the ordered
      mathematical perfection of the heavens and the existence of the astral
      deities affirmed the heavens themselves as a visible embodiment of the
      divine. In so doing, he joined together more explicitly the Platonic focus
      on the eternal and mathematical with the tangible world of physical reality
      within which man found himself. He upheld the natural world as a worthy
      expression of the divine, and not, as Plato often strongly implied,
      something merely to be seen through or left behind altogether as an
      encumbrance to absolute knowledge. Despite the generally secular cast of
      this thought, Aristotle defined the role of philosophy in his influential
      work De Philosophia (extant now only in fragments), which was to mold the
      ancient conception of the philosopher's profession: to move from the
      material causes of things, as in natural philosophy, to the formal and
      final causes, as in divine philosophy, and thus to discover the
      intelligible essence of the universe and the purpose behind all change
      [please note as well]."

      Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind (1993), pp. 64-65.

      [Comment: So in this exposition the claim is made that Aristotle's method
      of philosophy and its underlying epistemology leads Aristotle to some
      rather strong assertions about the reality of geocentrism, to the point of
      claiming it as the manifestation of a divine order and the fundamental
      character of the intelligible essence of the universe. Thus the historical
      Western fixation on geocentrism was in part related to the belief placed on
      the validity of the Aristotelian philosophical method and its attendant
      epistemology. The modern transformation of Western epistemology with a
      growing emphasis on empiricism and the gravitation toward a more scientific
      conception of the universe in heliocentrism went hand-in-hand. The Western
      epistemological and metaphysical revolutions in the seventeenth century
      accompanied both the scientific revolution and the adoption of
      heliocentrism among intellectuals. Copernican heliocentrism was already
      current in the sixteenth century but it was the seventeenth-century
      intellectual revolutions, which rejected Aristotelianism and scholasticism
      and embraced rationalism and empiricism, that facilitated the adoption of
      heliocentrism.]

      Joseph G.



      "Excess and defect are characteristic of vice, and the mean of
      virtue."--Aristotle
    • Kosmas Theodorides
      Quick question: How is the word epallattein translated in the scholastic tradition (in latin?), for example Politics, 1295a10. I know that metallaxis is
      Message 77 of 77 , Jan 30, 2004
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        Quick question:
        How is the word "epallattein" translated in the scholastic tradition (in latin?), for example Politics, 1295a10. I know that "metallaxis" is usually rendered "transmutatio" and "parallaxis" as "permutatio" but I am not sure I have seen an equivalent for "epallaxis". Any ideas, greatly appreciated.

        Kosmas Th.





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        In that country are the huge snakes and the lions, and the elephants and bears and asps, the horned asses, the Kunokephaloi (Dog-Headed) and the Headless Men that have their eyes in their chests, as the Libyans say, and the wild men and women, besides many other creatures not fabulous. Herodotus 4.191.3

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