“All men by nature desire to know.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Aristotle entered Plato’s Academy as a 17 year-old student.
He excelled and soon became a teacher. He remained at the Academy until Plato’s death, some 20 years later.
Unlike Plato, Aristotle was preoccupied with “the natural process.”
While Plato used his reason, Aristotle used his senses as well: he go down on all fours and studied frogs and fish, anemones and poppies.
The significance of Aristotle in European culture is due not least to the fact that he created the terminology that scientists use today.
He was the great organizer who founded and classified the various sciences.
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) thought that things that are in the human soul were purely reflections of natural objects. So nature was the real world.
Why does it rain?
You have probably learned that it rains because the moisture in the clouds cools and condenses into raindrops that are drawn to the earth by the force of gravity.
Aristotle would have agreed.
But he would have added that so far you have only mentioned three of the causes.
The “material cause” is the moisture (the clouds) was there at the precise moment when the air cooled.
The “efficient cause” is that the moisture cools, and the “formal cause” is that the “form,” or nature of the water, is to fall to the earth.
But if you stopped there, Aristotle would add that it rains because plants and animals need rain-water in order to grow.
This he called the “final cause.” Aristotle assigns the raindrops a life-task, or “purpose.”
That is not the nature of scientific reasoning today. We say that although food and water are necessary conditions of life for man, it is not the purpose of water or oranges to be food for us.
But Aristotle believed that there is a purpose behind everything in nature.
It rains so that plants can grow; oranges and grapes grow so that people can eat them.