Aristotelianism, What is Aristotelianism?June 28, 2021
It is possible to answer the question of what is Aristotelianism as follows: Aristotelianism is a philosophical trend that develops in parallel with Plantonism, in the same temporal process. In search of a new worldview, the philosophy of the Renaissance turned to Plato and Aristotle, and both of them were big names to establish the first philosophy as the most powerful thinkers of the classical age.
Aristotle also has a very important role in medieval philosophy; A form of Aristotelianism takes shape in this historical period. In this period, the main point of reference, especially in Scholastic philosophy, is the philosophy of Aristotle. The philosophies of this period, which aimed to ground Christian dogmas with philosophy, found Aristotle as an important source. Therefore, when Aristotle is mentioned, Scholastic philosophy comes to mind at the same time.
Since the philosophy of the Renaissance developed in the struggle with the scholastic, it initially developed a reactionary attitude towards Aristotle; however, since the philosophy of this period generally tends to reevaluate the ancient thought, Aristotle cannot be denied completely.
The relevance of Renaissance philosophy to Aristotle is related to its basic orientation, humanism. Humanism primarily aims to put the texts of ancient philosophy as original and evaluate them as such. In this way, the contributions of medieval philosophy to Aristotle were tried to be sorted out.
We can say that Aristotelianism in Renaissance philosophy emerged in the form of removing the additions of the Middle Ages and Scholastic philosophy to Aristotle. Theodorus Gaza (1400s) is a Byzantine scholar who was one of the initiators of Aristotelianism.
INTELLECTUAL SOURCES OF ARISTOTLEAN CONCEPTION
The understanding of Aristotelianism did not have a specific academy, in this respect, it has different orientations from Platonism. Besides the humanists, the movements called Averroists (Averoists) and Alexandrists are worth mentioning. The first were based on Ibn Rushd’s interpretation of Aristotle in the Middle Ages, in which the influence of Plato was also involved. The second ones were based on Alexandros of Aphrodisias, who was considered the greatest Aristotelian interpreter in late Antiquity. These last two tendencies were evaluated not from Aristotelian direct sources but from their commentators. In the Renaissance period, contradictions and conflicts occur between these Aristotelian orientations.
The center of Aristotelian understanding is Padua, where Averroistism has been influential since the 14th century. All Aristotelian cadres are gathered here. The greatest philosopher of this period was Pietro Pomponazzi (1462-1524). Pomponazzie, who worked at many universities, developed the defense of a naturalist-materialist idea on the immortality of the soul, which is the central debate of Aristotelian understanding. With the idea of ”double righteousness”, he tried to separate the rational from the divine, but he could not avoid being excommunicated by the church. The difference of Aristotelian understanding in Renaissance philosophy from the Middle Ages is that it evaluates Aristotelian philosophy with a non-religious orientation.
Aristotelianism in the Renaissance Period
The important humanistic orientation of the Renaissance in philosophy was to rediscover Aristotle. When the works of Aristotle were read and analyzed from the Greek originals in accordance with the spirit of humanism, it became clear that there were serious differences between the Aristotelian interpretation of the Scholastic world and the real Aristotle. “The system considered to be the strongest foundation of the church was seen to be separate from it in many essential points, and in contrast to official peripatetism, a liberal Aristotelian school, mostly composed of secular elements, emerged” (Weber, 1993: 187).
Renaissance is a process of social mobility deeply influenced by Aristotelian understanding.
The most famous of the Renaissance Aristotelians is undoubtedly Pietro Pomponazzi (1462-1525), also known as Petrus Pomponatius. In his 1516 work On the Immortality of the Soul (Tractatus de immortalitate animae), he argues that the belief in the immortality of individual souls is incompatible with Aristotle’s principles. However, Saint Thomas claimed that this basic dogma of religion was in accordance with Aristotle’s philosophy. In this case, it can be said that Pomponatius was fundamentally opposed to both Saint Thomas and this fundamental dogma of religion. Pomponatius rejects the notion that all human beings are capable of mental perfection, but objects to the view that moral perfection is an ideal that cannot be realized on earth. Everyone’s ability to do the homework required by their job can be understood as competence in this regard. “A conscientious and honorable judge is capable in his field and has achieved his own perfection.” It would be superfluous to use the term ‘absolute’ in this field; absolute perfection is peculiar only to absolute existence.
He finds it wrong to assert the immortality of the soul, based on the idea that the reward for virtue is an eternal reward, that is, going to heaven, and that punishment awaits the wrongdoings.