Aristotle’s Understanding of Knowledge, Philosophy of KnowledgeJune 26, 2021
The understanding of knowledge of Aristotle and his teacher Plato does not differ much. According to Aristotle, knowledge is the knowledge of the unchanging. Aristotle thinks differently from his teacher Plato about knowledge. Plato argued that real beings are ideas and that ideas are outside the world of objects. Aristotle opposes this view. According to him, ideas are not beyond objects, beyond time and space, as Plato suggested.
Ideas are the “essence” found in beings. According to Aristotle, beings have an “essence” and a “form” (form). Form (form) is what Plato calls an idea. With this discourse, Aristotle accepts the existence of ideas. However, he thinks that his ideas are not in another universe, but with the “essence” within the objects. According to him, man has no innate knowledge. However, he has the ability to process the data he has obtained through his senses and to form universal concepts.
He expresses this view as follows; “Knowledge begins with sensation, but knowledge is not sensation. Science and philosophy would never occur if there was no interference of another element, the mind, besides sensation in knowledge. According to Aristotle, the ability to acquire 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.
Aristotle thinks that knowing occurs through the senses and reasoning. According to Aristotle, what is known is substances that have taken form that affect the senses. Man potentially perceives substances and understands what they are through his mind. To know something is to know its causes. Information; According to him, truth is established by reasoning between universal propositions and particular propositions, it is the same as the object to which it is concerned, and is the knowledge of its causes. According to Aristotle, in order to say what something is, it is necessary to associate it with a concept. “This is a table.” The object encountered is defined by the table concept. This definition is possible through the categories existing in the mind. Therefore, it states that the knowledge of the being can be known by the categories belonging to it.
According to Aristotle, what actually 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 form of reasoning deduction.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM)