Monday, October 21, 2013

Plato and Aristotle

Aristotle's teacher was Plato.  Plato taught that the soul is what causes movement.  In simplified form, his argument is that only living things can move themselves, and all living things have souls, therefore, the soul is what causes things to move.

Aristotle thought Plato's thoughts on this subject were mostly garbage.  Aristotle particularly disliked Plato's conclusion that the universe moves in an orderly fashion, therefore, it must have a soul.  Aristotle outright rejected the idea of a "universe soul" that causes the universe to move, or a god that physically moves the universe.

This leads to the question of how movement works.  Is it all physical?  Humans can certainly be moved to action by non-physical things, such as ideas, the soul, or the subconscious.  How do we account for those movements?  Is it "cheating" to say "oh, those are just random chemical reactions in the brain"?

The problem we run into is the fact that all movement can't be physical.  That just leads to a huge chain of movement, going from one thing to another.  The chain can't go on forever, so it has to stop or start somewhere.  Logically speaking, it can't stop with something physical, because that would just be another link on the chain; therefore, it must stop with something non-physical.

And that's why Aristotle claims there must be a non-physical thing, which affects the physical world.  There is no other way to explain the existence of movement.  He rejects the idea of a god like Atlas, who physically moves the universe, because such a god would, in turn, be affected by the world.  As everyone points out, it's illogical that Atlas can stand on the world, at the same time he holds the world two meters away from his feet.

1 comment:

William D said...

Thy logic ringeth true xD
At any rate, there has to be someone who created the law and order of the universe, so there must be a God. The motion of the universe must have been set into motion by someone... or something, that is, God.
An unmoved object requires a cause of motion
Therefore a mover exists
Maybe this mover was moved by another mover, but there cannot be an infinite chain of movers
Therefore, there must be one first unmoved mover, that is, God.
That is one of the arguments I can present to this cause. If people ask for more proof, some things aren't contained in the Bible, and were handed down traditionally by word of mouth since apostolic times. Catholics don't believe solely in the Bible, hence, I may not be able to provide strong enough evidence to you. Plus I am no where near as logical as Michael ;-; xD