Some Aristotelian-like Presuppositions (rough draft)

by Gordon L. Ziniewicz

1. All living things strive for completion and self-fulfillment.

2. The independent is better than the dependent.

3. The natural is better than the artificial.

4. Art (technique or know-how) assists or supplements nature.

5. Forms are grasped by the mind through observation of concrete things.

6. Human beings are by nature social; they have a natural tendency or desire or inclination (instinct) to be together.

7. Human laws and institutions are artificial and ought to conform to what can be known scientifically about human nature (right functioning).

8. All natural beings have ends or "purposes." Even inanimate things seek their proper place (up or down) by virtue of inner tendencies.

9. Nature is a hierarchy from the relatively unformed to perfect form (God). The formed is better than the unformed (matter).

10. Activity is better than passivity.

11. Circular motion is better than linear motion.

12. The self-moved (besouled) is better than that which is moved by another.

13. Each living being has its own soul (inwardness).

14. Human bodies are animated by human souls; the soul is the life of the body. Enlivened matter is better than lifeless matter.

15. The human soul is non-material, but depends upon the body.

16. Species are eternal; the universe is eternal.

17. Rest, not motion, is the natural state of things.

18. Science is general rather than particular knowledge.

19. Experience is the basis of science.

20. Intellectual detachment both views and frees itself from the immediate environment.

21. God is most independent and self-reliant, needing nothing outside of himself in order to be happy.

22. Dependence indicates imperfection and weakness. All beings, except God, are more or less dependent.

23. The self-reliant and self-sufficient life is best.

24. The eternal is better than the temporal.

25. The unchanging is better than the changing.

26. The species is more important than the individual.

27. The common good is more important than the private good.

28. Scientific contemplation is a private good.

29. Human beings are attached to their environment because they have bodies and are able to soar above their environment because they have minds.

30. Heavenly bodies are superior to earthly bodies.

31. Human mind is inferior to divine mind.

32. God is eternal awareness of awareness.

33. God does not make, govern, or have knowledge of the universe.

34. Human rulers govern cities without a transcendent standard or role model.

35. Human craftsmen make things without a transcendent standard or role model.

36. Human scientists (philosophers) imitate a transcendent role model.

37. Scientific knowledge is higher than practical or productive knowledge. The enjoyment of scientific knowledge is a momentary glimpse of God's unchanging and eternal activity.

38. God is form without matter.

39. The universe needs and admires God.

40. The city needs the ruler and admires the scientist.

41. Violence is natural interference with natural striving. Artificial production is natural for human beings.

42. Fulfillment includes independent activity and continuation of the species.

43. Human fulfillment includes both individual and common good.

44. Perception knows that a thing is. Science asks why it is (four causes or reasons for its being the way it is or happening the way it does).

45. Ends or purposes "move" things without themselves being "moved." Every form is, in a sense, an unmoved mover that attracts and motivates life.

46. Virtue is not knowledge. Knowing something is different from doing it.

47. God has no friends, needs no friends.

48. God is a self-mirroring mirror.

49. God is pure "looking at looking."

50. Truth is higher than justice; theoretical wisdom is superior to and distinct from practical wisdom.

51. The pursuit of truth depends on the stability of morality in the soul and justice in the city, just as the soul is better than but depends upon the well-being of the body.

52. God's knowledge is an "inward-turning" that grasps only itself. Human scientific knowledge is an "outward-turning" that grasps the order of the universe and its species.

53. The philosopher-scientist is attached to the universe as a whole. Human beings and human affairs are seen as part of this whole. Attachment to the whole requires detachment from individual parts.

54. The universal or general ("forest") is more important than the particular ("trees").

55. The particular human mind mirrors or reflects the universal or general.

56. Science is superior to ethics or politics.

57. Knowing is better than thinking.

58. Knowing is enjoyable and leisurely; thinking is work and time-consuming. Leisure is better than work.

59. Neither God nor the universe is "just." Justice is proportion in human affairs.

60. The highest knowledge is knowledge of the highest things.

61. Human beings can be happy, at least for brief moments in this life.

62. God is continuously happy.

63. The philosopher is not a king. Politics is for the sake of philosophy. Moral activity is for the sake of scientific activity. Action is for the sake of contemplation. Motion is for the sake of rest. Work is for the sake of leisure.

64. Happiness is the end of human beings.

65. Happiness includes but is higher than justice.

66. Happiness requires the fulfillment of specifically human tendencies or desires, the highest of which are social and scientific tendencies.

67. The ruler can be relatively happy, but the philosopher can be supremely happy.

68. Happiness requires wealth and good luck.

69. Wealth is a means, not an end.

70. The scientist who goes over in his mind what he already knows does not need anyone or anything outside of himself. The supremely happy scientist needs friends.

71. We need friends to be good to. Friends are opportunities for developing moral virtues (such as generosity).

72. Communities are bound together by friendship.

73. True friends are "other selves" or like-minded equals.

74. True friendship (in the highest sense) is not possible between parents and children (non-equals), husbands and wives; and no friendship is possible between human beings and God.

75. We might wish for ourselves to become God, but we would not wish for our friends to become God. We would not even wish for our friends to become wiser and better than we are. It is better to be admired than to admire. With friendships of inequality, the higher ought to be more loved.

76. Socrates and Crito were not friends in the highest sense.

77. Socrates was relatively, but not supremely, happy and therefore died relatively unfulfilled.


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Copyright © 1997 - 1999 Gordon L. Ziniewicz
This page last updated 10/14/12

Please note: These philosophical commentaries, though still in process, are the intellectual property of Gordon L. Ziniewicz. They may be downloaded and freely distributed in electronic form only, provided no alterations are made to the original text. One print copy may be made for personal use, but further reproduction and distribution of printed copies are prohibited without the permission of the author.