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Re: [hegel] Re: Distinction Philosophy - Empirical science

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  • Anthony Crifasi
    ... That is not the distinction that he makes in the famous text above. The distinction he makes above is between what is prior to us and what is prior by
    Message 1 of 16 , Aug 24, 2008
      Herman B. Triplegood wrote:

      > Anthony: That is not true. Aristotle quite explicitly treats
      > metaphysical first principles as the most absolutely inerrant and non-
      > hypothetical of all; that is what he explicitly says about the most
      > fundamental of all metaphysical principles at Met. Gamma 1005b15.
      > Hb3g: Maybe the following from the Posterior Analytics will be
      > helpful:
      > "Things are prior and more familiar in two ways; for it is not the
      > same to be prior by nature and prior in relation to us, nor to be
      > more familiar and more familiar to us. I call prior and more familiar
      > in relation to us what is nearer to perception, prior and more
      > familiar simpliciter what is farther away. What is most universal is
      > farthest away, and the particulars are nearest; and these are
      > opposite to each other." [PoA 72a1-5]
      > If the distinction between an epistemological order of priority and
      > the order in which we actually learn is kept in mind,

      That is not the distinction that he makes in the famous text above. The
      distinction he makes above is between what is prior to us and what is
      prior "by nature" of "simpliciter." What is prior by nature are the
      first causes and principles of things (precisely because they are the
      FIRST causes and principles), but that is not what we know first, and
      therefore cannot be where human science begins. For example, Aristotle's
      first mover is the first cause of all motion in the universe, but we
      know about that last, not first.

      > Metaphysics Gamma 1005b15 is not incompatible with what I said, and,
      > I think, it puts the task of doing metaphysics into proper
      > perspective. We have to discover first principles. In that sense,
      > like I said, metaphysics is no less empirical than the particular
      > sciences in that, like the particular sciences, it has to BEGIN with
      > the experiences that we have, and go from there.
      > I did not make it clear that I was talking about the order in which
      > we learn first principles. Obviously, we do not initially know first
      > principles, we come to learn them.

      The first principles that he is talking about in the last chapter of the
      Posterior Analytics are the first principles of *demonstration*, not the
      first principles of *things* (or by nature). So the first principles
      that he is talking about in the Posterior Analytics are indeed those
      which are initially known first.

      > But the fact that this is what we do, that we go toward the first
      > principles, is not a trivial fact either. It requires, at the
      > beginning of that process of learning, or investigation, that we do
      > NOT presume the truth of first principles.

      This confuses the first principles of THINGS (or by nature) with the
      first principles of scientific demonstration. The latter are indeed
      known first, and with more certitude than anything else. (He explicitly
      says that at Posterior Analytics 71b30-72b4).

      Right now, at the
      > beginning, they are NOT axioms, they ARE hypotheses. But that is
      > about to change. We need to keep in mind that what makes the
      > difference between particular sciences and the science of first
      > principles, metaphysics, for Aristotle, is PRECISELY the fact that
      > the particular sciences do PRESUME their first principles, AND that
      > metaphysics, INITIALLY, calls them into question and treats them AS
      > hypotheses, in order to ultimately ground them, non-hypothetically,
      > AS axioms.

      He does say that metaphysics defends the principles of the lower
      sciences, but it defends them precisely by appealing to metaphysical
      principles which are absolutely certain and non-hypothetical (such as
      the principle of non-contradiction). In addition, the defense of the
      first principles of the lower sciences doesn't necessary mean that they
      are merely "assumed" by the lower sciences and not known even at that
      stage. It's just that objections against such principles (no matter how
      ridiculous) don't fall within the scope of those lower sciences, because
      they are more general objections regarding being in general (not, for
      example, merely physical being).

      > Axiomatic doesn't always mean obvious. If it did, a Posterior
      > Analytics, as well as a science, an investigation into, first
      > principles, would be entirely superfluous.

      That again confuses the first principles of THINGS (or by nature) with
      the first principles of knowledge and demonstration.

      > When I said that the texts of the Organon are "all about" first
      > principles, I meant that the clarification and the grounding of first
      > principles is the ultimate GOAL of Aristotle's movement through the
      > texts of the Organon.
      > Where we are headed, and WHY we are headed there, I think, matters.
      > You will, I hope, excuse me, just a little bit, for not being as
      > academically precise as the rest of you. I am a self-learner, as far
      > as philosophy goes. I don't DO philosophy for a living, or teach it,
      > or write articles and books about it, and, regrettably, I only know
      > English, no German, and very little Greek. I am trying to fix some of
      > that. So, I guess that I am, at times, a little rough around the
      > edges. But I am willing to learn. I have done a lot of reading of the
      > primary texts, not your watered down so and so in 90 minutes kind of
      > reading, and a fair amount of discussing here on the lists over the
      > past three or four years, but all of this is never enough. No matter
      > how much you read, how much you talk, you always get your comeuppance
      > when you find out you didn't REALLY understand what you thought you
      > understood after all. I might sound like I am sure about what I am
      > saying. But what philosophizer doesn't usually sound that way? After
      > all, we all want what we say to be the truth, the whole truth, and
      > nothing but the truth. AND, we are all painfually aware, I think,
      > that we are still just going after truth, and that there is no way
      > that any of us ever really HAS the whole truth and nothing but the
      > truth. That doesn't mean we should not strive for it. Believe me, I
      > know how tentative being sure about anything can be. Certainty seldom
      > coincides with veracity. Right? So, just take me with a grain of
      > salt, and put me in my place as needed. I don't know everything.
      > That's for sure.

      Yes, but you know some things. With certitude, and non-hypothetically.
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