Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The philosophy of Aristotle, or any later modification of it. Aristotelianism is a kind of metaphysical evolutionism. Its central idea is the distinction of act and power (actuality and potentiality). The nature of the world as a whole, as well as every part of it, may be illustrated by the analogy of the growth of a tree from a seed. The tree has a sort of being in the seed—a potential being: it exists in it in power only. That which is actualized in the perfected development from the seed—the tree—exists in act or actuality. This perfected development—the entelechy—is the characteristic nature of the thing which places it in some natural species, and which is its form, or that element of the thing which makes it to be the kind of thing that it is. The other element, which merely makes the thing to be, is its matter, which, as unformed, is identified by Aristotle with the power or potentiality of a germ. Every event is an act of development. Most events take place under the influence of an external efficient cause, and their character is determined by an end. Matter, form, efficient cause, and end are the four Aristotelian causes or principles. But not all events are brought about by external efficient causes. Some happen by fortuitous spontaneity, and are not determined by any causes whatever. Other events come to pass naturally, that is, by a self-determined growth. Besides that which is moved but does not cause motion, and that which is both moved and causes motion, there must needs be a tertium quid, which is not moved, yet causes motion; and this is God, or pure act (actuality) without undeveloped potentiality. The soul is the entelechy, or perfect flower, of the body. It has three parts, the vegetative (or merely vital), the sensible, and the rational. The reason is not a mere belonging of the individual; it exists before the body, and, as the active reason, is common to all persons upon the tablets of whose passive reason it writes its dicta. Space and time are mere logical elements of motion. Aristotle is justly called the father of logic, although there were some vague logical doctrines before him, and although his system is now largely superseded. He holds the only excellent reasoning to be syllogism, and all other kinds of reasoning to be imperfect approximations to syllogism. Particular facts are first and best known to us, but general truths are first and best known in themselves. Science must set out with certain fixed first principles, which are definitions. Knowledge is a development from impressions of sense, to the formation of which reason and experience both contribute. Things are of ten classes, substances, relations, quantities, qualities, etc. See
category. Different genera are subdivided upon different principles, so that there are no cross-divisions in the real classification of natures. It is possible to so collate passages from Aristotle as to make him appear as an inductive logician; but the whole cast of his mind was such as to lead him to underrate the importance of induction. He lays much stress on the principle of excluded middle, which he treats as a corollary of the principle of contradiction; and he has a general leaning to hard and rather wooden distinctions. The most important of his ethical doctrines are that happiness lies in the working out of one's inwardness, and that every virtue is a golden mean between two vices.
GNU Webster's 1913
- The philosophy of Aristotle, otherwise called the Peripatetic philosophy.
- n. (philosophy) the philosophy of Aristotle that deals with logic and metaphysics and ethics and poetics and politics and natural science
“The philosophico-theological ideas of those who employed this method were very diverse, encompassing varying degrees of Neo-platonism and Neo-aristotelianism, and several of them, including St. Thomas, were at times suspected of heresy.”
“Also I'm in favour of a return to the speculative dogmatic science of medieval post-moorish aristotelianism.”
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“speculative dogmatic science of medieval post-moorish aristotelianism”
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