Aristotle the "pagan"
- I think that the tendency to lable Aristotle as a "pagan philosopher"
is unfortunate. It follows the annoying practice in modern discourse to
emphasize irrelevant characteristics of an individual to demean his
importance. Thus Shakespeare becomes "a dead white male" much like Tim
the blacksmith who cared for his horse. The relevance of Aristotle both
to Aquinas and to modern thought does not consist in his paganism which
he shared with 100% of ancient Greece and 99.9% of the pre Christian
World, but his contribution to rational thought which he raised to its
summit. Setting aside his contribution to logic, political theory,
literary criticism, and philosophy of science, Aristotle's importance
to natural theology is that he is the bedrock on which philosophical
monotheism rests as Aquinas, Averoes, Avicenna, and Maimonides all
recognize. Aquinas referred to him as "the philosopher", not the "pagan
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Anthony Crifasi <crifasian@...> wrote:
> For Aristotle, final causality is exhibited by EVERY natural body, not
> just by ones that exhibit voluntary movement. Even if we leave aside the
> movements of inanimate bodies, there would still be plants, which
> Aristotle says clearly exhibit final causality in how they grow,
> develop, and survive. Aquinas calls this a "natural" appetite, as
> opposed to the rational appetite or will. So unless you are excluding
> teleology from physics and biology (which would basically make you a
> Cartesian), I don't see why you are excluding "the desirable" from
> natural movement.
The point is not excluding teleology from physics so much, although this is exactly what modern physics does, and it is why it is so successful; rather the point is that Aristotle on your reading excludes efficient or moving causality from his discussion of unmoved mover(s) and the spheres. Or to put this interpretation simply, he excludes efficient causality from a full-blown discussion of cosmology and God.
This however is what the Franciscan nominalist tradition beginning with Buridan does not do, and this is why the Franciscan discussion of God and cosmology led to the birth of modern science in all its applications.
I am simply tracing this very interesting development.