FOM: Aristotle; critique of Platonism in mathematics

Robert Tragesser RTragesser at
Wed Jan 21 08:33:29 EST 1998

 "Tragesser in his posting of 20
Jan 1998 02:55:52 expressed doubts because Aristotle's "being" is
equivocal. Look here, it's not really that bad. 
-- Steve"

        The point of my subsequent posting,  on Aristotle vs.
Galileo, was to anticipate exactly this overly easy dismissal of
the equivocity of "being".  The division of being into temporal/eternal,
sublunary/extralunary was actually "that bad."  The shift
from Aristotle's logic of contrariety (which actually could be seen as
strongly dependent on Aristotle's distributive conception of being,
that each individual substance has its own essence or "arche" which
intrinsically determines its "natural -- by nature -- change,  in contrast 
to externally forced and unnatural change) to G's geometric-arithmetic
forced a weakening of the distributive conception being and brought
the Heavens crashing down to Earth. 
        At the same time,  I think that Aristotle was the all time
greatest "thought experimenter" and logical
genius who was really interested in solving fundamental problems
(in real time) rather than playing with them.  I suspect he would have been
rather excited by Galileo, provided we don't read Galileo as a proto-
(global)mechanist.--  Aristotle was most deeply preoccupied with
understanding living organisms.  In the opening pages of the Two
World Systems,  Galileo does rather pointedly keep clear of any implication
that his new mathematical "logic" is supposed to take in living beings
(as the later death-dealing mechanistic "biologists" were to try to do).

-robert tragesser

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