Aristotle and her Philosophy of Science

Aristotle and her Philosophy of Science

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

In the beginning, all sciences were included in philosophy. A philosopher was a person who had knowledge about every science and who had reached a view of life by synthesizing all knowledge.

Aristotle, who wrote books on almost every subject and whose books are accepted as the authority in those fields of science, is an example of this type of philosopher.

If we look at the history of philosophy of science, positivist philosophers of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century limited scientific knowledge to the description of facts. Aristotle, on the contrary, argued that episteme, which means scientific knowledge, is the knowledge of causes, that is, scientific explanation is needed for it to be scientific knowledge.

Aristotle’s theory of science: In this theory, there was no idea of ​​space, time was uncertain, the idea of ​​causation was of metaphysical origin and could not be the basis for the idea of ​​natural law. Physics and Mathematics were tried to be explained within the same logic principles.

Aristotle favors that the person who will study any science should first establish a sound method of thinking; Therefore, before declaring his ideas in knowledge branches such as nature, human, spirit, morality, politics, etc., he made a ranking among the sciences, determined their level of knowledge, thought about the types of existence and then took up writing. If we follow his logic, we can reach the essence of his thoughts more easily.

Aristotle divides the sciences into three: theoretical (theoretike), practical (practice); creator or producer (poietike). According to him, theoretical sciences want knowledge for itself; practical sciences want knowledge as a guide to behavior; the creative sciences want to create something useful or beautiful. But there is another science that is ahead of all three groups, even though it is not included in this distinction, which is logic. Logic is a science at the service of all sciences. Therefore it is an organon; so it’s a tool.

Theoretical sciences are divided into three as theology (metaphysics), natural sciences (physics) and mathematics. Theology deals with things that both have an independent existence and are immutable; that is, substances that exist without any connection with matter (it takes its name from God, who is at the head of these pure substances: theos+logos: theology). The natural sciences (physics) deal with things that are not immutable, even though they have an independent existence; that is, with natural bodies that carry within themselves the source of motion and inertia. The subject of mathematics is things that are immutable but do not have an independent existence; ie numbers and shapes. Aristotle was most concerned with metaphysics and physics, that is, with the sciences related to nature.

The practical sciences consist of such sciences as ethics (ethike), politics (politics), and economics (oikonomike); in other words, it consists of sciences dealing with the personal and social life of man. The most famous of Aristotle’s works in this group are those on morality.

The creative (generative) sciences are poetry and rhetoric; these issues are examined in Aristotle’s works with the same titles.

Logic, which Aristotle sees as the research guide of all sciences, is the main method of correct thinking and a guiding beacon for all sciences.

According to Aristotle, there are two ways of acquiring knowledge: deduction and induction. Deduction is a way of moving from a universal proposition to a particular proposition, from laws to events, from effect to effect (talil, deduction); induction is the method that goes from the particular (the specific) to the general, from individual facts to general propositions (stasis, induction). In induction, the mind moves from the realm of the concrete to the realm of the abstract. Therefore, it reaches universal knowledge from the knowledge of individual objects. According to him, real knowledge is obtained by obtaining the knowledge of the particular from the knowledge of the universal grasped by reason. In other words, it is obtained with a syllogism (syllogismos) that goes from the concrete to the abstract. For example:

“All humans are mortal.
Socrates is human.
So Socrates is mortal.”

For Aristotle, the important thing is to reach perfect knowledge. So what is perfect knowledge to him? This subject, which he mentioned at the beginning of his work called Metaphysics (Primary or Basic Philosophy), led the philosopher to determine their level of knowledge first. According to him, the lowest level of knowledge is “knowledge acquired through the senses.” Because animals can have this kind of knowledge too. In fact, some animals even have a kind of memory to store what they have learned; so they can learn some things. But there is also the quality of acquiring the knowledge above the knowledge that a person obtains through the senses. This too is experience (empeiria). One can gain knowledge by experiencing things.

However, this knowledge is only the knowledge of what we have experienced, that is, some things, and cannot be taught to the other person. In order to acquire this knowledge, people must have the same experiences. There is another level of knowledge for man, and this level is superior to the knowledge gained through experience. This type of knowledge is art or technique (techne). Technique is specialized knowledge in a field. How does a technician or artist (tekhnites) do something?