Aristotle and Rationalism (Rationality)June 29, 2021
Aristotle was a student of Plato and a philosopher who followed his teacher in many fields.
As it is known, for Plato, knowledge is the knowledge of the unchangeable. Even though Aristotle, a student of Plato, thought differently from his teacher on some issues, he followed the path of his teacher and defined and handled knowledge as the knowledge of the unchanging. For example, Plato argued that real beings are ideas and that ideas are outside the world of objects. Aristotle, on the other hand, opposed this view and argued that ideas are not outside objects, beyond time and space, as Plato suggested, but exist within beings.
Ideas are the “essence” found in beings. According to Aristotle, beings have an “essence” and a “form” (form). Form (form) is what Plato calls the idea for Aristotle. With this statement, Aristotle accepts the existence of ideas. However, Aristotle, who thinks that his ideas are not in another universe, but with the “essence” in the objects, differs from his teacher here.
According to Aristotle, man has no innate knowledge. However, it has the ability to process the data obtained through the sense organs and to form universal concepts (such as ideas). Aristotle expresses this view as follows: “Knowledge begins with sensation, but knowledge is not sensation. Science and philosophy can never come into existence if there is no intervention of another element, the mind, besides sensation in knowledge.
According to Aristotle, the thing capable of acquiring knowledge is the mind. The mind is also divided into two as passive (passive) and active (active). The passive mind, that is, the senses, gives the material of knowledge, and it is the active mind that shapes it. There are some basic patterns (categories) that are innate in the human mind. Thanks to these patterns, human forms knowledge and presents it in the form of general concepts.
According to Aristotle, what really exists are individual things: man, blackboard, bus on the road, etc. Ideas that we do not see have no reality. However, it is necessary to obtain universal propositions by combining those that exist one by one under a concept. Because, thanks to these universal propositions, information can be reached. Since universal propositions consist of singular propositions, what needs to be done is to produce singulars from universals. He calls this way of reasoning deduction.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Year 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Year 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook