I'm off on another paper, put the last one on hold for a bit.
The Enlightenment hated metaphysics. Hume specifically hated Plato and Aristotle. Here is one take:
Emma Goldman writes: "It may seem a wild paradox, and yet it is pathetically true, that this real, visible world and our life should have been so long under the influence of metaphysical speculation, rather than of physical demonstrable forces."
The so-called "philosophes" of the Enlightenment, totally rejected "metaphysics" as nonsense, i.e. Helvetius. The problem is because metaphysics has a natural theology and leads to God. Philosophy of the modern age is not "philosophy" but sophistry.
I'm trying to understand metaphysics. But as we all know Aristotle did not even use this word. He uses something else. The translator uses the word "speculation", but surely the English connotation of the word, is not the Greek meaning. In English, it is used on Wall Street where people are "speculating" on futures and stocks.
I ii, 10; 982b 15f; Loeb pg 13 ...for speculation of this kind began with a view to recreation and pastime, at a time when practically all the necessities of life were already supplied.
VI i 11; 1026a 20; Loeb, pg 297 The speculative sciences, then, are to be preferred to the other sciences, and "theology" to the other speculative sciences.
But this is the verse I want to talk about:
XI, vii 9; 1064b 1; Loeb, pg 87 Evidently, then, there are three kinds of speculative science, physics, mathematics, theology. The highest class of science is the speculative (theoriticon), and of the speculative sciences themselves the highest is the last named, because it deals with the most important side of reality;
Is it right that the translator uses the word "speculative"? What is "theoriticon"? Is "theoriticon" another way of saying "metaphysics" or is metaphysics saying "theoriticon"? Or is this the word "Theory"? Or is this "metaphysics" really "Theology" in Aristotles meaning? The word "theory" in English has the connotation that is a conjecture and not a law or principle. What does theory mean in the Greek?
In this term "physus" that Aristotle used is not what we use the term now as. Physics has to do with the physical nature of atoms and how they interact, astronomy, thermodynamics, kinetic energy etc.
Again, reading Aristotle's words, has no meaning in today's English. Am I right?
What am I saying? Aristotle reached the idea of the Prime Mover, a proof of God, through "metaphysics" of Change. There is "Cause and Effect" and there is "Potency" and "Act". Now, all of these things cause and effect, we can see with our naked eye and potency and act are in nature. We humans use seeds. We use seeds according to their potency. I don't throw out watermelon seeds and expect grain to come up. Again, we only pick fruit that is ripe, (in the fullness of Act). So all the things Aristotle used to come to the knowledge of the prime mover is through nature. I called "Cause and effect" a natural law.
Now, what Aristotle did was "extrapolate", not speculate, Right? Is there a Greek word of extrapolate? What Aristotle did was apply logic from beginning natural things which we abstracted from and extrapolated them to its natural conclusion.
Is Aristotle's "physis" the "metaphysical principles of nature" or "the metaphysical laws of nature"...
My question boils down to this, Metaphysics is based IN nature. All Aristotle is doing is applying logic to extrapolate to a deeper meaning from things found in Nature!
This is tying into the "Laws of Nature". Is Metaphysics really "Theoreticon" or is it "Speculation", or do none of these words work, and is Metaphysics a good word to use? Tons of stuff. Aristotle's Metaphysics is TIED TO Nature, to the principles in Nature and he extrapolates. So they are false who seek to deconstruct metaphysics.
Dear Wheeler, you write that "philosophy of the modern age is not 'philosophy' but sophistry." This is too dangerous a generalization. Was Jaspers, for example, a sophist, or an atheist? It would be more accurate to say that modern thinking suffers from a greater tendency towards atheism and in general toward smallness, even if it does not become sophistical.
"Theoriticon" is an adjective, plural, genitive: "of the theoretical". Theoreticai (theoretical) sciences are defined by Aristotle as opposed to prakticai (practical). Check 993b. Theoreticai sciences regard pure knowledge, especially what is absolutely and always true, while prakticai regard action, what one should do here and now.
Protagoras was an atheist and he was called a Sophist. Another atheist was Diagoras of Melos and he also was called a Sophist.
Plato in his dialogues is trying to establish "True Philosophy" that phrase occurs many times. Aristotle is continuing Plato's work for he also attacks Protagoras as Plato does. Aristotle's supposed "Metaphysics" books is really the continuing of Plato's work of attacking atheists/sophists. Aristotle is quite glad in saying (Metaphysics, XI viii 3; 1064b 25; Loeb, II vol, page 91) ""Plato was not far wrong in saying that the sophist spends his time in the study of unreality."
People have not caught on to this. Plato and Aristotle reject that Atheists can be philosophers.
I know nothing of Karl Jaspers, if that is him whom you are referring to. If he is an atheist, he is a sophist, an intellectual, but he is not a philosopher. This is the paper I am writing, "Why no Atheist is a philosopher". I have several proofs already, I'm just marching thru my section of metaphysics. They threw it all out. I'm having to proof metaphysics in order to show how vapid these people are.
I would add that modern philosophy suffers from another, yet related problem. Philosophy as understood by the Ancients was an ontological quest to discover truth, namely the One, the Logos, the origin of Being.
It is this fundamental aspect that modern philosophical thought lacks, because it has been taken over by Science. It is science that, today, seeks to answer questions related to Time, Space, the Origin of all things (debates around the Big Bang and the so-called "God particle" are but the most telling examples), while philosophical thought has been, to use Hannah Arendt's argument, rejected to a secondary role, simply describing and theoreticizing in a coherent system of thought what has already been discovered about Mankind and the world. We may criticize this statement as perhaps too wide-sweeping, yet it is true that philosophy today is so far removed from what it meant to Socrates and Plato (the love of Wisdom, wisdom being the power that rules the cosmos, having concrete and practical implications upon our lives) that the word philosophy may not be, indeed, the most appropriate one.
Of course, science being grounded in a very different principle (a sensory experience leading to generalized Doubt), its ontological quest itself may just be thin air. All this creates a feeling of distance, of abstraction in all intellectual endeavors, so that men are pushed back towards some kind of transcendent beliefs, whatever they may be, sects and cults of all sorts. Herein lies, I think, the root of the crisis of (post) modern society. How long it will take to realize is unknown.