Pliny the Elder’s Contribution in Literature
Pliny the Elder affected the world in many many ways. With everything that he did I think he deserves the “Thinkers” award. Welcome to this journey while you learn about how he impacted the world and how that led him to a wonderful success. Pliny the Elder was born in Como, Italy , previously known as novum comum. He was born in c.23 AD and sadly died in c.79 AD. He spent his childhood in early Rome and then went to Germany to serve in the Roman cavalry. He switched to law and then became a scholar because of his love for writing. He was a very curious man and spent much of his life collecting information about many things making more than 100 volumes describing this wealth of material.
Pliny the Elder’s most important and famous contribution was his book, Natural History. It has 37 books or volumes. He got his information from many sources. He got some of his information from Aristotle and some he got when he was in Germany for his military career. He collected many fictional and non fictional information which made him famous. He took many non important and non related facts and turned them into something very interesting and important. All of his books had many grammatical errors though and eventually the leading scientists rejected his theories because they questioned his claims.
His books helped develop many things we know about life today. Without him, we would be clueless about how ,much, of nature works. Along with his exaggerated, claims, and fables his belief in magic helped shape interesting theories. Many scientists used this as a guideline for their scientific experiments. They shaped new theories with help his theories and then made new discoveries. Although it has many grammar mistakes, many scientists used this as a model to guide them. People who looked up to him included writers, his fables and tales intrigued them. Some following writers include William Shakespeare and John Milton. Sadly, scientists that used his books are not known though there were many. One of the very important methods he helped develop was called the doctrine of signatures: A similarity between the external appearance of a plant, animal, or mineral and the external symptoms of a disease indicated how the plant was beneficial.
With that said, if I were to give Pliny the Elder and IB profile award, I would give him the one for thinker. I would give him that because he took different aspects of one thing that nobody really cared about, and made it creative but helpful. He made a reasonable decision with what he had. He wrote his books thinking uniquely but smartly. His very famous book “Natural History” helped develop many theories and finding we know today. Although he didn’t invent many of his findings he was the base of others’ helping us know as much as we know now.
Aristotle and Realism in Education
Aristotle is known as the father of Realism. To understand fully his work, we should at least have a glimpse of his life in his early days. He was born in 384 B.C.E. in Stagira, Greece. He is a son of a physician at court of Macedon. Thus, by birth and by blood he is really a man of wisdom. As one of the Apostles told us in one of his writings in the Bible, “Greeks love and seek after wisdom.” At seventeen he already sit on the foot of one of the great philosopher in his time, Plato. For almost three decade, Aristotle learned from Plato at his Academy. He was one of the brilliant students of Plato. In 338 B.C.E. When he was about 46 years old, he was summoned by the King of Macedon, King Philip II to be the tutor of his son Alexander, who later on was known as Alexander the Great. Alexander became one of the world’s greatest military leader, used his military ingenuity and his exceptional education received from among others, Aristotle, to marshal his forces in battles where he emerged victorious. With this alone, Aristotle’s achievement is remarkable indeed.
In 335 B.C.E., when Aristotle was about 49 years old, he founded his own school in Athens called “Lyceum.” It was here that his students conducted researches in different areas of science like botany, biology, in mathematics and logic, music and arts, medicine and astronomy, and even in social science, psychology and metaphysics. It was also in this school where Aristotle spent most of the rest of his life, studying, teaching and writing. His quest for knowledge was inevitable when he said his favorite dictum “ All men by nature desire to know.” For him knowing is vital, knowledge is important. His quest for truth paved the way for him to do research in many areas. Aristotle is a pioneer in many fields of inquiries. His contribution in the area of logic, physics, economics, psychology, political science, meteorology, metaphysics, ethics, and rhetoric has influenced our present day education. His work was such an almost unbelievable achievement for an individual.
Although indebted to his mentor, Aristotle developed the view that ideas are important yet a proper study of matter may lead us to better and more distinct ideas. He also thought that matter exist even if there is no mind which is aware of it He theorized that matter is certainly an independent reality. He also dismissed Plato’s theory of ideal forms. Aristotle argued that it is not logical to talk about an invisible world which we do not know that it ever exist. The core subject of realism is that; reality, knowledge and values exist outside the human mind.
He also established some principles of realism. Ideas or forms exist without matter but no matter exist without form or idea. This means that each piece of matter has a distinct and particular property for example, people are different in size, appearance and no two persons are alike yet they share the same universal form of being humans. The universal form is the essence or idea which is the non-material side of a material object which identifies it with the other objects of their group. Unlike Plato, Aristotle achieved the understanding of reality of all things by studying material things through the senses. Plato did it by reasoning. Furthermore, Aristotle claimed that the universal form of things never change, only matter change thus, he described that form as the soul or life. And that soul has a purpose.
Parts of the Soul According to Aristotle
Aristotle begins his analysis of the parts of the soul by examining the Nutrition of the soul. He says that if we are to say what the understanding, the perceptive, or the nutritive part is—first we must define what it is to understand and perceive. So he begins his examination of the Nutrition of the soul by determining objects “corresponding to nutrition, sense, and understanding” (De Anima 414b). Aristotle establishes that the nutritive part of the soul belongs to other living things as well and is the first and most widely shared potentiality of the soul—the one that allows all things to live.
The most natural function of a living thing is to reproduce—the nutritive part of the soul drives this function. The soul is the “cause” of the body—“the source of motion, as what something is for, and as the substance of ensouled bodies” (De Anima 415a). A soul must be the substance of ensouled bodies as the “being of living things is their living” (De Anima 415a)—the soul is by definition the spark of life in a body. The soul is the cause of what something is for because the body is in fact an organ of the soul—as an organ it will serve the purposes of the soul. For both reason, the soul is the source of locomotion as locomotion allows many living things to regenerate, reproduce, and nourish although not all living things have this ability of locomotion.
Aristotle then refutes Empedocles, who said that plants roots go down because the earth naturally moves downward—saying that if the earth moves downward and fire pulls upward eventually the two would pull apart. What holds opposite forces together is the soul—“the cause of growing and being nourished”.
In taking the idea of “contrary nourishing contrary”—Aristotle comes to the conclusion that when one thing is consumed—one thing nourishes while the other is nourished. The thing that is being consumed is the thing that is truly affected, not the thing being nourished—this is because nourishment is only used for generation and preservation. Preservation is not a change in potentiality and generation does not affect the substance of the thing being nourished as it produces a new being.
Aristotle further explains his point by distinguishing three things—what is nourished, what it is nourished by, and what nourishes. What nourishes is the first soul, what is nourished is the ensouled body, and what it is nourished by is the nourishment.
Aristotle then moves on to perception. Perception occurs “in being moved or affected” meaning that we can understand something or feel something when a sense is triggered. The question comes up is how can we perceive the concept of senses when not perceiving the senses themselves. Aristotle explains this by saying that perceiving is spoken about in two ways—potentiality and actuality. The same way we know something is combustible without actually burning it, so can be perceive things by intuition bringing them to fruition.
Aristotle then distinguishes types of potentiality and actuality. One form of perception is innate knowledge—“he is a man and should know”. Another form of perception is technical and empirical knowledge. Both have different potentialities, the first has a correct “genus and matter”—instincts—while the other has the potentiality to learn. In these different potentialities, each is affected differently by their potentiality—the first has instincts that affect his potentiality, however the potentiality to learn does not affect potentiality any more than “a builder is altered in building”.
When someone is led from the potentiality of learning to the actuality of learning—it is not a case of being affected but rather a case of being fulfilled—a change from a state of deprivation to a state of fulfillment of nature.
An object that we can perceive is perceived in three ways. Two ways are intrinsic and one in coincidental. The first intrinsic perception is one with which we cannot be deceived or deceived of their basic existence—sight, hearing, touch. Motion, rest, number, shape, size, and any other concepts not proper to any one sense is the second intrinsic perception. Coincidental perception occurs when two concepts coincide and thereby become perceived to be related, a physically perceptible idea connects to an imperceptible concept. “Pale things is the son of Daires” thereby the son of Daires coincides with the pale thing that we perceive.
We do not perceive anything that is dry or wet, hard or soft, but only excesses in either direction. Anything that is ‘normal’ or intermediate is ignored or not perceived. Senses discriminate amongst objects against things that are considered normal. For example, things are neither pale nor dark but a composite of both.
Each sense receives the perceptible forms of an object without the matter of the object. Wax, takes on the form of an object it is melted on without taking the matter of that object. Form and matter are one in an object, same as organ and potentiality are one but their beings are different.
Having separate beings is the reason senses can be destroyed by an excesses in objects of perception—if object is too great for sense organ, but potentiality can be affected even if sense organ is hampered.
Aristotle ends his point in saying that things that cannot perceive things tend not to be affected by those things because the potentiality cannot react to things that come their way. For example, odor does not affect those things that cannot smell.
Femininity in the Age of Now? Would Plato and Aristotle Approve?
Art is something that has been known to evoke different emotions from each and every person, how one deals with these emotions though, is up to them. The way we should deal with these emotions evoked, and how we should treat artists who devote their time, energy, lives to their work is to respect them. What that respect means, varies in today’s world of art, some believing that artists need to paid thousands for the amount of effort they put into their esteemed craft, others feeling that artists should simply create for the passion. These two worldviews mimic an older extreme philosophical viewpoints of aesthetics and the artists themselves. Plato and Aristotle had drastically differing views on the arts and how they should be regulated and artists should be treated.
Plato’s view point on the arts was extreme to say the least. Plato believed that art was simply an escape from reality. When he looked at the Athenians around him, and their love for the arts, he saw the way that it transported them to a fictional universe, and allowed them to forget reality and invoked strong emotions from them. Plato felt that art was dangerous as he agreed with his teacher Socrates, that people couldn’t differentiate reality from fantasy. Plato saw art as a hindrance on people’s ability to understand reality and the truth. Plato felt that art was 3 removals from nature, farthest from reality. He felt that art in itself was a delusion that the Athenian people became enraptured in and couldn’t distinguish from reality. Plato felt that artists themselves needed to be held accountable for their art and the emotions they invoked. He felt that the government should step in and censor artists, effectively controlling the levels of emotions they evoke within people.
Aristotle had a different view on the arts and artists then Plato. Aristotle agreed with Plato that artist’s evoke emotion, but rather then trying to criticize them, and censor them he felt that we should admire and encourage this talent. Aristotle felt that having feelings triggered by artistic performances allowed us to release these powerful emotions. He did believe that this release should be done in moderation, and controlled circumstances, and he felt that art was a worthy outlet for the release. Aristotle believed that art was imitation, but did not put a negative light onto it. Rather, he felt that it allowed us to focus on unfamiliar things, and encouraged us to focus on the world around us. He felt that art forms such as plays, allowed us an opportunity to experience emotions indirectly. For example, in a tragedies we see characters we respect go through hardships and emotions of pity and fear are aroused within us. Aristotle felt that these emotions built up until we reach a state that Aristotle coins ‘catharsis’, or the moment when pent up feelings generated from an art form, in this case a play are able to break free. To Aristotle, art was a way to allow emotions to spill free in a controlled way.
Art today is something that has evolved into so many different forms beyond what Aristotle and Plato could have ever imagined. Art has expanded so much, with subgenres forming within music, acting, painting, sculpting and more. In this current age, we celebrate artists on various levels, some artists are able to make it, with their works being celebrated in museums and galleries, however there are an excess of artists struggling to make it within that. Social media is a concept that has taken over the world in recent years, with various platforms connecting millions around the world. Platforms such as Instagram have grown immensely in popularity, and effectively with their growth, have allowed artists a platform to share their art. One of the artists that has effectively been able to grow and share her art on this platform, is London based artist Polly Nor, who has collected 1 million followers of her art on the platform.
Polly is an artist who according to her website “ best known for her dark and satirical drawings of women and their demons”, her art consists of “and drawn, digital illustrations and sculpture work. Interweaving themes of identity, female sexuality and emotional turmoil throughout her work” Through her Instagram, (@pollynor) her works often feature women, naked, with fat deposits in their hips and stomachs, their breasts bare and sagging,and their bodies covered in hair. Her most recent series depicts a woman being awoken on her period only to find a snake eating her vagina, causing blood to come out in excess.
Despite her popularity, Pollynor work is nothing if not controversial. Her work definitely evokes emotions from those who consume her art. Polly’s art tackles viewpoints of women that society rejects. In her work, the woman is depicted as having beady eyes, heavy wrinkles, bags under her eyes, fat around her stomach, tiny breasts that sag and messy hair. This contradicts what society deems ‘beautiful’, completely, there is no supermodel, or woman of goddess like beauty,but rather just a normal girl. Her work depicts a snake crawling up and feasting upon this woman’s vagina, and her bleeding symbolism of her period. Up until now, and too an extent today, women’s menstrual cycles are often deemed as disgusting, and glossed over. However, in her work Polly faces the issue head on, forcing her audience to give attention to, and face not only the fact of menstruation, but also how it feels to be a woman in this situation. Polly’s art is graphic to say the least, her art’s depiction of women in the nude, and their relationship with themselves and their bodies in non-conventional. Her work is controversial in its focus on the woman’s body and parts of it that society shapes and censors itself from. She does not simply draw women, she draws their experiences in their feminity – the parts that we usually say ‘ew’ or ‘gross’ at, and brings them to life beautifully. On her postings of her art on Instagram, she is given support, through her comments, however there are so many more that wonder where this story she tells is going, what is happening and more. Her art forces people to question what they know, and what they have been shielded from. Her art itself tests Instagram’s policy agreement, while in their policy they state that “ Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK” they also state that “We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks.” (Instagram Community Guidelines) Her work directly challenges this guidelines, and pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable.
Aristotle’s viewpoint of Poly’s work would welcome it, and celebrate it. Her work is a way for people to indirectly understand the emotions that women go through, in their struggles. Women are able to relate with her work, whereas men are able to understand the feelings and pain that go along with being a woman, in this case on her menstrual cycle and the pain one feels while on it. This would be a way to understand emotions that we would not normally experience, and effectively rid ourselves of them temporarily. Polly’s work would most likely be considered similar to a tragedy in that it effectively stimulates feelings of pity and outrage. The perception she gives through her art of women’s struggles allows others to relate and vent out their emotions, that they would not be able to otherwise feel. He would see her work as a way for people to achieve catharsis as they are able to have feelings of anger, sadness, and empowerment from her artwork, and are able to release it as she effectively tells a story through each piece of artwork. In the case of the piece with the snake and the period, we are able to understand the feelings of one’s period, and how it is discovers and feels through the woman’s discovery and the snake’s presence. Aristotle would most likely approve of the platform that Poly chooses to share her artwork on as he felt that art needed to be shared in an environment where it could be consumed in moderation. Instagram provides this platform and is able to moderate artwork in its community.
Plato would most likely want to censor Poly’s work and hold heavy criticism for Instagram as a platform in itself. Given his viewpoint on art, Plato would see it as a way of separating what a woman’s bodily functions and natural form is from what a woman should be like. He would want Instagram as a mass media to censor itself as he himself saw the dangers of mass media’s influence. He would see Poly’s work as a distraction from the reality of the world, that her work was not realistic in its depiction, as it is unrealistic for a woman to feel blood from her vagina only to then see a snake eating her. This graphic display would invoke emotions that he deemed unnecessary in the pursuit of the truth. He would see the beautiful art displayed in this woman’s suffering and struggle with her menstrual cycle as something that would just bring up unnecessary emotions that are not relevant to us. His viewpoint that people are too ignorant to differentiate art from reality, would lead him to call for it’s censorship. This view would lead him to call for more censorship beyond the level of censorship that Instagram already has within its community. He would probably feel that people can’t handle the vulgarity and extremities presented in Poly’s works. And if he even agreed with the concept of social media sites such as Instagram, they would be heavily regulated, instead of being a place where people can share content, content would be reviewed and most likely simply push for an education where people can achieve the truth.
In today’s age, art and media have evolved far beyond what Aristotle and Plato could have ever imagined it to be, yet their philosophies on the arts still apply. There is a divide of where we should recognize art, and where we should censor it, how far we should allow this invoking of emotions before it goes a step to far. Artists like Polly Nor effectively play with that line of controversy, and are currently using mass media in order to share their works, and are able to invoke emotion from a larger groups of people that they ever could. While Plato would most likely disapprove, and Aristotle celebrate it, I believe that it is a beautiful thing to witness, as we are able to see different perspectives from all around the world through art and mass media.
Aristotle’s Understanding of Epic and Tragedy
Of all poetic compostions Aristotle ranked Epic and tragedy as the best. From the evidence of the surviving part of his ‘poetics’ we can affirm that Aristotle was more in favour of tragedy than Epic. Aristotle method of approach was analytic, and he dissets the art of poetry into its components, their nature, presentation, medium, and its moral and asthetic effect. The distinction that he makes are sharp and clear. Aristotle’s sees almost all the features of Epic poetry in tragedy. He defines tragedy as “an imitation of an action that is serious, complete and of a certain magnitude, in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative, through pity and fear affecting the proper purgation (Katharsis) of these emotions.”
It is a highly condensed definition containing all the essential features of tragedy. The first word ‘imitation’ contains the cardinal principle of the art of poetic production. Aristotle’s word is mimesis, which he has borrowed from Plato. It means representation or what the later generations preferred to call an imaginative recreation of the world and man. The word describes the nature of poetry as ‘an imitative’ art; it means that what the poet does is an imitation or representation. This word contains all that there is to be said about the art of poetry and no other poet or critic has been able to make a better description of the poetic process.
The second word is ‘action’, which Aristotle describes as ‘human action’. So it is different from description or narrative. It is chiefly on account of the action that it is a representation of person. The human agents in the tragedy display certain distinctive qualities both of character and thought. The representation of action is the plot of the tragedy. The next word is ‘serious’. Tragedy deals with serious matters, and not with trivial matters as in comedies. It can be a tragedy only if the matter it embodies is serious.
“Complete in itself” means, first that it has a beginning, a middle and an end. It has all the relevant details needed for its unity. There cannot be any irrelevant part, and no omission of essential part is allowed. All the meaning of the action should be contained in the words spoken by the characters and the chorus. No extra information should be provided by any other means. The action must have certain amplitude. It must not be too short or too long there is scope for addition of irrelevant material. The amplitude is determined by the consequential relation of events for their proper development, and for the satisfaction of probability.
The next point is the appropriateness of the language of the tragedy. As tragedy is a serious art; its language should be powerful, evocative, and specially adapted to convey the experience of the characters. So it must be embellished with stylistic ornaments. The word and images must be selected with great insight or imagination. The words ‘in the form of dialogue, or with a mixture of lyrics and songs that help the action and not narrated as in the Epic. The incidents happen or are revealed through the words of the characters or by what happens to them.’
“Through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotion” define the function of tragedy. It is the tragic action that produces the emotions of pity and fear. Our pity is awakened by undeserved misfortune, and our fear for the suffering of someone just like ourselves-pity for the undeserving sufferer and fear for the man like ourselves.
“Effecting the proper purgation of these emotion” is a statement that has been subject to wild fancies and misguided interpretation. The two purgation (Katharsis) is the effect of the tragedy on the mind of the audience (and in a sense in the mind of the tragic hero if he survives- as Oedipus). Aristotle meant it as the right ending of tragedy. Katharsis is the kind of pleasure consists in the relief produced when the excessive flow of pity and fear subside, or when these emotions find relief in tears. The excess emotions are purged away and the mind experiences deep clam. (The suffering of Oedipus makes him a philosopher, a visionary, one who has discovered the meaning of life). It should be noted that Aristotle discusses ‘pity’ and ‘fear’ in some detail, but does not pause to explain ‘Katharsis’. It may not be an omission; it shows Aristotle’s strict adherence to the purpose and nature of literary criticism. He adopted a strictly analytic method, and aimed at exhibiting all the technical details of poetic composition. To explain the meaning of the effect of tragedy is a philosophic interpretation. Literature is expected to give us aesthetic pleasure and not philosophic wisdom. That is (perhaps) why Aristotle ended it there.
Analysis of Aristotle’s Concept of Virtue Ethics and Joy
What is the Concept of Virtue Ethics?
The focal point of Aristotle’s moral framework is for mankind to understand their good and moral character. This is achieved by practicing our remarkable attribute, which is the ability to reason, so by studying and practicing good moral conduct we will become virtuous. At present, virtue ethics is one of three main moral ethics strategies. Originally, it can be defined as the one that stresses the virtues and moral character, as opposed to the one which emphasizes on rules such as Kant or emphasizes the results of behavior as in Consequentialism. Virtue Ethics, as with most ethical ideas, offers a method for telling the right from wrong and gives an outline on the best way to carry on and act morally even with the legitimate difficulties of life. Virtue Ethics spreads out the judicious establishment of how and why practicing righteousness is morally better than practicing bad habit, and stresses that ethically acting is an ability.
Aristotle And the Ethical Goal
Seeking a decent life for the wellbeing of its own is the highest end. Aristotle calls this end goal Eudaimonia. This is more than just ‘joy.’ Joy and satisfaction are commonly attached to the feelings and hence are dependent upon our temperament and enthusiasm. Occasionally we are happy, occasionally we are sad. Eudaimonia rises above this. Eudaimonia is felt, indeed, however it is to a greater degree of demeanor or method for being. Nobody attempts to live well for some further objective; rather, being eudaimon is the Highest end according to Aristotle, and every single subordinate objective – wellbeing, riches, and other such assets are looked for in light of the fact that they advance prosperity, not on the grounds that they are what prosperity consists of.
The concept of eudaimonia, a key term in ancient Greek moral philosophy, is standardly translated as “happiness” or “flourishing” and occasionally as “well-being.” Each translation has its disadvantages. The trouble with “flourishing” is that animals and even plants can flourish but eudaimonia is possible only for rational beings. The trouble with “happiness” is that in ordinary conversation it connotes something subjectively determined. It is for me, not for you, to pronounce on whether I am happy.”
Man is a Political Animal
Aristotle is a famous philosopher, whose students’ lecture notes were made into a book called “Politics”. In the first chapter (Book I), he argues that man is a political animal. What he means by this is that men are sociable beings that need community to become a self-sufficient and structured state through which they achieve their telos of virtuous reasoning by exercising collective high moral standards through their communal laws and beliefs of justice. I believe he’s right in the sense that men do need each other to be self-sufficient as a whole, and create socially accepted rules of right and wrong, which they must use virtuous reasoning to create just laws.
I also agree that men need to reason virtuously as a means to keep the community’s laws just and lawful. However, I do not believe that it is their life purpose or telos to do so, but that their purpose is more of a subjective meaning of life that varies between individuals based on experience, personal insights and socially constructed ideas.
Firstly, humans are sociable animals because, in an evolutionary perspective, sexual urges lead men and women to mate and create life. This means they cannot live without one another because it would be the end of mankind. They have the natural impulse, like animals, to have children as a means of leaving a legacy of themselves behind. He goes on to explain that all men have social instincts that push them to want community with others because their nuclear family can’t meet all of their needs; only their basic daily needs. Community is created by the assembly of families, which creates villages, which then re-assemble again and create a community of villages together large enough to become a State. He argues that men create States so they can meet their community’s needs for life and be self-sufficient as a whole. They do so to maintain a good life with virtuous reasoning with each other, which is man’s purpose (telos). Furthermore, speech is what fundamentally differentiates humans from animals and gives way for communication, which is the main tool to create community. It lets us discuss and reason between ourselves about beliefs as a community and decide what is right or wrong, just or unjust. In turn, theses collective beliefs and human associations is what creates families and a state. Communities create a sense of what’s good or bad because man will always try and do or achieve what they believe is good. Therefore, we need community to be self-sufficient because alone we cannot be, without being part of a whole.
Otherwise, if you are self-sufficient Aristotle says “must be either beast or a god” because man has a social instinct that pushes him to want community and be self-sufficient as a whole with others, which is why man is a political animal. Moreover, Aristotle believes man is born with the intelligence and moral qualities that can be used for good or bad. It’s why he argues that man should strive to be virtuous, meaning having high moral standards, because he’s gifted with intelligence and moral qualities that can be used to be justice or injustice. This is why being virtuous is important to Aristotle because with high morality man can make betters laws, which lead to a better living and if separate from virtue can lead to disaster. Additionally, justice is what connects man with state and in turn it tells them what is just, which is the meaning of political order.
A system of beliefs that determines justice is how political societies organize themselves. This is why Aristotle believes man is a political animal because they need a community with shared virtuous beliefs about what’s good and bad to make a state that’s self-sufficient. It promotes virtuous thinking through beliefs that advocate justice as a means to live a life with a deeper sense of happiness and virtue.
Secondly, I do believe in the first arguments he makes where man is a social beings through evolutionary reasons and natural impulse because they are animals at the basis of their being who need each other to survive and reproduce. Moreover, he is justified to believe that man needs community and not just their family to fulfill all their needs because the community allows them to meet all their community needs collectively like need for life and become self-sufficient as a whole because they can’t be on their own.
I agree that speech is the main tool that made man connect with other, which led to community by speaking to each other and establishing a sense of right and wrong as a whole. Furthermore, I acknowledge that man is innately born with a certain intelligence and moral qualities, which they can choose to be used for better or for worst.
Also, I do agree that they should strive to have higher moral standards because thinking virtuously leads to people and a system that promotes justice and lawfulness. In turn, it creates a stable society because without virtue man would lead us into injustice and disaster.
On the other hand, when it comes to virtuous thinking as their whole purpose of being on earth. I do not think this is the species life purpose as a whole at all, but I do believe it’s very important for their society’s well-being and structure to think virtuously because it leads to virtuous laws and a better societal structure. I think their life purpose or telos, is a subjective one that only the individual knows or decides what it is, through life experiences, personal insights and socially constructed ideas he has been taught through family and society. Furthermore, throughout the text Aristotle is applying all these concepts and ideas, especially virtuous thinking, to man alone; except the general evolutionary perspective. Therefore, I absolutely do not agree that only men can reason properly and virtuously because contrary to his beliefs. Women can be logical and not let their emotions over ride their whole reasoning, as he believes it does.
All in all, I agree with Aristotle’s statements in general, but I specifically do not agree with his idea that our life purpose is reasoning virtuously because in my opinion it’s too general to be someone’s life purpose, but it should be an important part of their moral fiber. As well as, I definitely do not agree on the fact that women cannot reason as properly as men.
In conclusion, Aristotle’s statement that man is a political animal is well justified throughout his book. He argues that they are social animal that need community to meet each other’s communal needs like the need for life and self-sufficiency as a whole and establish a meaning of right and wrong that ties them together as a community and a state. Moreover, Aristotle says man is born with a sociable instinct that makes him yearn for community and intelligence with moral qualities, which he can use to be just or unjust in the world. Therefore, he believes virtuous thinking is our purpose in life as a species and necessary to create just laws, in turn creates a better societal structure. A system of beliefs that determines justice is how political societies organize themselves, which is why man is a political animal.
Analysis of the Contrasting Concepts of Happiness of Aristotle and Epicurus
While ancient Greece brought forth a variety of influential contributions to the western civilizations, one of its most notable donations was the philosophy. Ideas of in which we think about the world, universe and society were up-roared within these ancient times. It was during this time where men like Aristotle and Epicurus begun to shape the world with their notions of study.
Aristotle was born in the northern region of Greece in 384 B.C. where his father was the physician to the king. Aristotle spent nearly two decades in Plato’s Institution eventually starting his own school in Athens. He took a particular turn to the biological entities, which was unlike Plato. Quite frankly, he grew up to disagree with Plato almost entirely. Nevertheless, Aristotle throughout his lectures came to ask what the “Supreme good for man” was. Then came this idea of eudemonia commonly known as happiness present day. For Aristotle, happiness was rounded about several ideas. Overall, happiness is a final good that every person hopes to grasp. Aristotle contributes the idea that complete happiness will occur with a fulfilling human function that is aided by virtuous acts. While good health, good friends, and family could ultimately allow for happiness in ones life, Aristotle never equates pleasure with such being. For Aristotle pleasure is something of only momentary value whereas he believes such feeling of happiness is a feeling that must last much longer. Happiness rather constitutes the function of the man. If we were to live our lives with the goal of simply breathing, then we would be unhappy. Our function as people is to be rational. It is of course this rationality that distinguishes us from farm animals and allows us to be everything we can be. This will only happen if you take on certain challenges that establish your skills and develop your capacities demonstrating reason. As for Aristotle, happiness is the ultimate end and purpose for ones existence. It cannot be achieved until ones end of life hence it being a goal and not temporary status. This just gives further evidence to us being teleological beings that find excellence structured with function.
On the contrary, Epicurus was another great Greek philosopher who had a different notion on happiness. Epicurus supported the idea that pleasure and lack of pain can contribute to a complete happiness. Life is indeed pleasure-full when the mid is free from fears and the body is content with satisfactions according to Epicurus. He presents us with a tetropharmakos. Included are the notions of not fearing the gods as to gods are perfect and happy and would not hurt people. To not worry about death as while people exist death is not present, but while death is present, people aren’t present. What is good is easy to get. These natural desires keep us away from pain and we can push that pain away by focusing on pleasure. Then lastly, he presents us with the idea that what is terrible are easy to endure. What is terrible causes pain and we can push that pain away by focusing on pleasure. Epicurus liked the idyllic setting and put emphasis on the pleasures of being outdoors, talking, arguing philosophical questions, and leading a relaxed life of intellectual engagement with like-minded friends. Epicurus found that the main source of unhappiness was the anxiety we held about death but that we shouldn’t follow moral codes dictated by the gods because we would vanish even sooner than our bodies once death was upon us. We must use our reason to see the way things really are and once we do is when we will be freed form these fears and enjoy mental happiness. As for when we are alive, the body has a way of telling us how we should live. We naturally seek life’s pleasure and shy away from the pains. Well this is all included in 4 categories. Natural goods, necessary goods, unnatural goods, and unnecessary goods. We seek natural and necessary pleasures, while also seeking natural and unnecessary pleases in slight moderations. It is living this way that Epicurus argues to use reason to seek long term-pleasures that will contribute to your health and well being. You’ll have a long and happy life and that should be all anyone should want.
Although Aristotle and Epicurus disagree upon the issue of happiness, I find that Aristotle demonstrates the true meaning of happiness to a greater extent than Epicurus. While one may be happy in their early life and miserable in their elder life, it is looked up correctly to assume one had a eudemonia of a life only at the end of ones life. It would be incorrect to claim happiness when your life is still happeneing. There is no doubt that we are rational animals. With Aristotle, happiness can be found with function of the person. Our fuction as humans is rationality. It is this idea that allows us to take on and meet certain challenges, honoring your skills and ultimately developing your capacities. And ultimately theres virtue. For aristoltle, virtue is happiness. And virtue is acheivede by maintaining the mean. The doctrine of the mean is composed of avoiding excess and deficeinecy in ones behavior attitude. Finding the middle path and then will you find the mean between the extremes. With one of the most important virtues being friendship, a successful relationship will bring you happiness.
Aristotle – an Ancient Greek Philosopher
Aristotle was an ancient greek philosopher, and is credited for inventing the systems that became the structure for Christian Scholasticism and medieval Islamic philosophy. Tutored Alexander The Great and was tremendously influential in the Middle Ages ( ¨Aristotle¨). His definition of a Tragedy was that in order to have one, it must have tragic and scary experiences to connect with the audience and make them think of their own sorrows; creating emotional ties towards the tragedy (¨Aristotle¨). Anagnorisis, a critical discovery in a play that alters ignorance to knowledge (¨Anagnorisis¨). Hamartia, also called the tragic flaw, is the fatal flaw or mistake leading to the downfall of a hero or the protagonist (¨Hamartia¨). Peripeteia, a sudden reversal or turning point which can help close a drama (¨Peripeteia¨). Hubris, the addition of physical violence to humiliate or degrade a character in a play (¨Hubris¨). Catharsis, the purification or cleansing of your feelings, or any extreme change in emotion that ends with renewal and restoration (¨Catharsis¨).
Dionysus and the Dionysian Festival
The early Greeks made almost every part of the world have to do with a god, natural or cultural. The earth, oceans, rivers, mountains are likely linked to a god respectively (¨Greek Religion¨). With the importance of Dionysus in art and literature, two festivals were held to honor him; one of which was the Dionysian Festival (¨Dionysus¨). Events like tragedy and comedy were held in Athens to honor Dionysus (¨Dionysus¨). The Ritual Dramas were written on the same spectacular adventures of greek heroes each festival; Whoever could act the best drama wins (¨Dramatic Literature¨). The three categories of Greek drama, Comedy, Tragedies and Satyr Plays. Were all used to entertain crowds during the middle ages in Athens (¨Dionysus¨).
Thespis being the first actor in Greek drama, was often referred to as the inventor of tragedy. He was also the first to integrate a choral song into his actor´s speeches (¨Thespis¨). Now with music much more people could come enjoy and a pattern of innovation started occurring. Aeschylus, raised the stakes and heavily improved the current art of tragedy at that time with poetry and theatrical power (¨Aeschylus¨). This means that each play became much more sophisticated and less provincial when it comes to depth. Sophocles, his greatest invention was using props and scenery to create a sense of immersion for the audience which is still very much used to this day (¨Sophocles¨).Each Dramatists introduced a new concept and helped advance much of what is Greek Theater today. Euripides, along with the other two dramatists, many of his plays survived the fire and for that reason many stories have been realized and much has been learned about ancient greek (“Rome”).
Greek TheaterGreek Chorus, a group of specialized workers, who sing in a collective voice in dramatic action or any other major parts; their purpose is mostly in comedy, satyr plays and tragedies (¨Greek Drama¨). A Strophe refers to the first part of the ode in an Ancient Greek Tragedy, the antistrophe and finally epode. These are all sung by the chorus and add depth to the overall play (¨Greek Drama¨). The structure a theater in a play contain the Theatron, where the audience watches from ( stands ), both Parados and the Skene and the Orchestra, where the chorus would interact with the actors near the Skene (¨Dramatic Structure¨). Theatrical machinery was used like the deus ex machina where an actor could be brought to the stage. During the Hellenistic period, the greeks also used portable and moveable equipment (¨Dramatic Structure¨). Greek Masks were a significant element in worshiping Dionysus in Athens, probably mainly used at festivals and events to signify their love and trust for the greek god (¨Greek Religion¨).
Oedipus BackgroundThe Oracle of Delphi ( or pythia) was the name of a high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi who additionally also served as the the oracle. This is now the most important Shrine in all of Greece (´Greek Religion¨). Oedipus Rex is a story about fate. At first the king and queen of Thebes have a baby, and they get an oracle to foresee the future of Oedipus. The oracle says that he will somehow end up killing his father and marrying his mother. Being surprised, the mom and dad send Oedipus to another family at a farm so this wish is not fulfilled. One thing leads to another… Oedipus finds his father on the way to the city and kills him, and then Oedipus figures out a huge puzzle and gets married with the queen. After having a baby with the queen, the oracle comes back and tells the mother that ¨ fate has been met¨. This story became one of the most popular dramas to date (¨Greek Drama¨).
- Britannica School, s.v. “Aeschylus,” accessed September 30, 2018, Web.”Anagnorisis.” Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 11 Aug. 2018, Web. Accessed 27 Sep. 2018.
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- “Dramatic literature.” Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 12 Aug. 2010, Web. Accessed 27 Sep. 2018.
- “Greek drama.” Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 28 Dec. 2017, Web. Accessed 27 Sep. 2018.
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- “Hubris.” Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 2 Dec. 2014, Web. Accessed 27 Sep. 2018.
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Critical Response to the Aristotle’s Idea of Nature of Reality
It is the summer months. The sun is shining, yet it is not too hot. I see a beautiful orange tree and decided to eat a fruit off it. It tastes delicious. The entire day has been perfect and the experience has been relaxing and enjoyable. However, how do I know that the day is perfect? How can I be certain that what is surrounding me is real? Are they real because my senses have made it so based on appearances? These questions all fall under the metaphysics branch of philosophy, which seeks information on the abstract ideals that are beyond the physical world, and it also falls under epistemology. This branch is concerned with defining the theory of knowledge.
According to Plato, the world around us is ridden with biased perceptions. Plato believes in a dualistic view of the world. One realm is called the Becoming, where everything in the world is taken in through our senses. “This Becoming reality is taken in through our senses, and it is impossible to develop any genuine knowledge of it because we can merely describe its changing nature as it appears to us”. This world is what we take in through sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing which would make it seem like it would hold validity in the discussion of the nature of reality. However, Plato describes how this is incorrect due to the fact that in Becoming, everything is changing and nothing has permanence. It is a world of opinions and biased perceptions. For instance, if a handful of people witnessed the same event, they would each have very different thoughts about the experience. It is factual that everyone could have differing opinions even if they are experiencing the same thing. What I may think is enjoyable could be the complete opposite for somebody else. While this world is subject to bias, the world of Being holds more value. In the world of Being, there are universal truths. It is a realm that is “eternal, unchanging, and knowable through the faculty of reason”. Plato speculates that in this realm, everything is true in its matter and we are incapable of having biased opinions. The soul has moved on to seek perfection and absolute truth.
While Plato supported the dualistic view, his student, Aristotle, objected it. Aristotle believed that “the net result of this division would be to devalue the world of experience as something ‘less real’ and unworthy of serious, systematic study”. For Aristotle, the world made up from our sense is the true nature of reality. All of the things we are able to take in through sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing are what give us the absolute knowledge of reality. There is no supernatural world where our souls drift off to. “For Aristotle, there is no separate, supernatural reality”. Everything we need to know about the world is right in front us and we must delve deeper and explore what the physical world has to offer. Aristotle fears that Plato’s dualistic view deters humans from gaining any sort of knowledge from the physical world around us. He rejects all of the previous metaphysical beliefs such as the soul moving on after the body has died to this eternal world where all knowledge must only be “recollected”. The factual evidence surrounds us and it is that evidence that humans must use to describe the nature of reality.
Though Plato’s argument is valid, based upon the fact that if our opinions of the world are biased and always changing, then we cannot truly understand the nature of reality, it does lack in soundness. Therefore, we should not take his argument at face-value. Plato makes the huge assumption that since the world around us has no factual foundation, then we must seek it in the eternal life. How can that be proven? He has no evidence that proves this theory, it is just a personal belief. That, in and of itself, is a biased perception so would that not be what we as humans should avoid? If biased conceptions are what are keeping us back from true knowledge, then there is no reason why we should take his argument seriously. Plato has no proof to support his claim of this eternal life, therefore we have to assume that it is just his personal belief. He also assumes that all humans possess an innate knowledge of the world that we acquired in a past life and it only has to be recollected. Again, that would be correct if we knew that reincarnation and the after-life were real. There is no way of knowing that humans possessed these universal truths because we do not have this memory of a life before the one we are living currently. It is only a speculation, an assumption, and it provides a hindrance in Plato’s argument. Aristotle, on the other hand, discredited the idea of this eternal world. He provides both a valid and sound argument when he states that the answers to the world lay in what is in front of us. Since the things in front of us, that possess matter, are what can be physically perceived then the knowledge of reality does not have to be achieved in this abstract world of eternity. Aristotle says “although we can separate ‘morality’ and ‘living things’ intellectually, they cannot be separated in reality”. In other words, morality and living things cannot exist without the other. They are not independent states where one can be carried into an immaterial world that possesses ultimate reality. Every knowledge that can be conceived of the world is tangible and organized by our senses. While this is more fathomable than an invisible realm, the complete disregard of it is even an assumption. Once again, while there is no evidence supporting this claim, there is also no evidence disproving it either. Aristotle also makes the assumption that we have a soul based upon the fact that each of our organs has a purpose for the sake of the soul. How do we know that humans possess souls? And if they do, how can we be certain that the matter and organs that composite a human being are only there to serve said soul?
Plato’s claim that the physical world is made up of biased opinions is one that I find myself agreeing with. For instance, this beautiful day that I encountered is only a matter of my personal opinion. To me a perfect day consists of ninety-degree weather with no cloud in the sky. However, there is without a doubt someone in the world who disagrees with this reasoning. Someone could have the belief that the perfect day consists of four feet of snow with a high temperature of thirty degrees. These conceptions are only a matter of biases, so how can we be certain that our senses are real? Or if the day is really the way I experience it to be when there are so many others who can disagree? Though I do agree that our conceptions of the world are too biased to hold actual value, I find myself disagreeing with Plato that there is an eternal realm of universal truth and that all knowledge only has to be recollected from previous lives. What is the universal truth? Surely since there are so many differing opinions then it is safe to say that the universal truth does not really exist. Also, how can I be sure that I possess this innate knowledge? To Plato, I can only recollect this knowledge if asked about it so does that mean I must wait until someone asks the right question? How can I know I possess this knowledge if I cannot remember my previous life and if there is no proof of eternal life?
There really is no way of knowing until the time comes. On the other hand, if I had experienced the day with Aristotle, he would be certain that the appearances I am experiencing are reality. The beautiful day and the delicious fruit are personal to me and they are a part of my reality. To some extent, I do believe that the senses I experience are my reality, but the keyword is my. I do not think it can be a universal reality to everyone though. There are so many differing opinions in the world, so how is what I’m experiencing anything but subjective? The perfect day to me is being outside on a sunny day but a perfect day for others could be sitting inside while a thunderstorm rages on outside. The orange to me could taste sweet and tangy, but to others it could taste too sour and tart. The world that we experience through our senses is extremely personal to us so I find myself disagreeing with Aristotle, though his argument is something tangible that we can understand rather than immaterial and superstitious.