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In Contrast to Plato Unlike Plato, Aristotle believed that sensory perceptions in the human soul are reflections ofobjects, and thoughts in consciousness are based on what we have already seen. He believed that humanshave the innate power of reason, and the innate faculty of organizing things into categories and classes,but no innate ideas. No Innate Ideas Plato believed that the idea "chicken" came before the sensory world's chicken, but Aristotle refusedthis theory. The form of chicken is eternal, but every chicken "flows," meaning it can't live forever. Theform chicken is made up of a chicken's characteristics, such as cackling and laying eggs. Therefore the formcan not exist on its own, and can not be separated from any chicken.
According to Aristotle, reality consists of separate things that constitute a unity of form andsubstance, which is what the object is made of. A chicken's substance, for example, would be its feathers,flesh, beak, etc. Unlike form, substance still remains when a creature dies, and it as well has the potentialto realize a specific form. Every change in nature is transformation from potential to the actual. For eggsample, a chicken'segg has the potentiality to become a chicken, or to realise its form. In the case of nonliving organisms, anexample to think about is that a stone's form is to fall to the ground.The Final Cause Aristotle believed that there were four causes for the occurrences of life: the material cause, theefficient cause, the formal cause, and the final cause.
When rain falls, the material cause is that themoisture is there when the air is cooling. The efficient cause is that moisture cools, the formal cause is the"form" of water is to fall, and the final cause is that so that plants can grow.Nature's Scale E.g. Cats: Living Plants Creatures Animals Humans In Aristotle's mind, there were no sharp boundaries in the natural world. His scale ranked livingorganisms from plants and simple animals to complicated animals, with man at the top of the scale,because man can grow and absorb food like plants and animals can, but also has specific human traits (i.e.,he can think rationally).Women Another difference between Plato and Aristotle was that Aristotle believed that women wereunfinished versions of man, and that children inherited solely the male's characteristics because males areactive in reproduction and females are passive. Aristotle believed that females were like the soil for thehuman seed to grow in - that man provided form, and woman substance. Unfortunately, Aristotle'sviews held sway during the Middle Ages, which was a major reason for the sexism of the time.Ethics The only way to achieve happiness in Aristotle's mind was to use all of one's capabilities. Therewere three forms of happiness: 1) A life of pleasure and enjoyment.2) A life as a free and responsible citizen.3) A life as a thinker and a philosopher.Aristotle rejected an imbalance of these, and said that one must have all three to be truly happy.
He alsoinsisted that this sort of balance was important in human relationships, and advocated what he called the"Golden Mean." This meant finding a middle ground for everything; for example, not to be cowardly orrash, but courageous.Politics Aristotle claimed that man was a "political animal," and that there were three good forms ofconstitution: monarchy (one head of state), aristocracy (a larger or smaller group of leaders), and polity(democracy). However, there were conditions with each of these suggestions: a monarchy must not become"tyranny," where the leader governs to his own advantage; an aristocracy must not become an"oligarchy," where a select few are in charge; and a democracy must not become a mob rule..
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