Aristotle (born 384BC), who at one point was tutor to Alexander the Great, thought human happiness was only achieved by living in conformity with nature. This symbiotic ideal he transferred to society with mutual aid being fundamental to a moral life, and through this one is self-fulfilled.
Selflessness, it seems, can be selfish. Disagreeing totally with Plato, who thought knowledge innate, Aristotle opted for gaining knowledge through the experience of the senses. And by reasoning upon those experiences, knowledge was gained about the world.
Aristotle was arguably the first known scientist, using observation as the primary tool of understanding. For instance, Aristotle observed that the Earth didn’t seem to move, yet the stars did. Hence, he reasoned that the Earth was stationary and the centre of a cosmology in which the stars revolved around the Earth on a number of crystalline spheres. We now know this to be totally wrong, but with the state of knowledge in his time, it was a sound idea.
Aristotle produced a ‘logic’ still used today, based on the ‘syllogism.’ Beginning with a deduction, he showed how to reach a conclusion through valid premises. Consider the idea in action. It begins with a statement of deduction, such as: ‘All men are mortal.’ To this, you put a premise, such as: Aristotle is a man. The premise leads to a logical conclusion, such as: Aristotle is mortal. However, logic has always had a problem in deciding what is, or is not, a valid deduction.
Consider the following: All philosophers are wise. Aristotle is a philosopher. Therefore Aristotle is wise. The problem is that, whilst valid to say men are mortal, we cannot be sure that all philosophers are wise. We could even say that we cannot be sure all men are mortal. We cannot ever be sure that an immortal man hasn’t existed. It may seem ridiculous that one has, but nothing is absolute.
Hence, it is a fact of logic that all inquiry begins from unproven deduction. Today we live in a material world. But we must remember that it is based on the logical deduction that: God does not exist. By the philosophical standard of which we live, this cannot be proved. Hence, the statement is a deceit.
Indeed, we could argue, here, that it is impossible to make true statements. To highlight the point consider a philosophically radical statement by the 6th century BC Cretan mystic, Epimenides, who said: ‘All Cretans are liars.’ Known as the liar’s paradox, if he is speaking the truth, then he’s lying. Yet, in speaking the truth, the statement is false.
Click link, below, to return