Aristotle’s Understanding of Natural PhilosophyJune 26, 2021
Aristotle’s philosophy of nature, together with metaphysics, undoubtedly constitutes the most important part of his theoretical philosophy.
His works written within this scope make important contributions to the unity that emerged under the name of natural philosophy. Accordingly, where his Physics reveals the general principles, his work On Existence and Extinction reveals four elements, and his book On the Sky reveals his cosmology and astronomy.
The principle that Aristotle takes as a basis in his philosophy of nature or has never forgotten is to describe and explain phenomena. Here again, however, he does not present himself as saying something entirely new and different; Within the scope of Greek philosophy, where there is a strong tradition of denying the existence of the phenomenal world, he takes care to position himself in the contemporary philosophical debate. Indeed, Aristotle in many places perpetuates some fundamental tendencies of the ancient philosophy of nature; in some places it draws on some basic Platonic ideas. But it also says things that have never been said before on some key points.
Accordingly, for example, Aristotle, who argues that nature should be explained by its own principles, from within itself, that is, through a theory of physics, rejects all kinds of physical reductionism and therefore the mathematical atomism that Plato developed in Timaeos. Democritus’ physical atomism seems more preferable to Aristotle, at least outwardly, because it explains what is in nature in terms of something in nature; however, he rejects Democritus’ physical atoms on the grounds that they are nothing but fabrications. He thinks that physics should investigate what nature is, that doubting nature’s existence therefore points to a fundamental error or illusion; therefore, he opposes the approaches of Parmenides and the Eleans, which deny the existence of the physical world. In the field of physics, where the assumption of the existence of natural things in motion and change constitutes the starting point, Aristotle’s two important theories of time; that is, he thinks that he has to develop a third theory, which is an alternative to Democritus’ physical particle theory, with Plato’s mathematical analysis of nature. This is a famous and very simple theory or model of explanation that suggests that there must be at least three elements in the explanation of nature. According to him, an explanation of change or the natural world must contain, respectively, three elements or principles such as ground, form or positive determination and deprivation or negative determination. This is with Parmenides and Plato, who only based on immutability, against the Heraclitusians who do not leave anything permanent or fixed in the universe while emphasizing only change, on a fixed basis that Aristotle calls change as substance or basis, the absence of form being replaced by a positive form. refers to the description.
Aristotle accepts that the things we see around us are constantly changing, that change is one of the most fundamental facts of our experience of the outside world, and develops a certain model of explanation for it. To complete the explanation in question, he puts forward the famous doctrine of the four reasons. For Aristotle, change means coming into existence, growing, decaying and disappearing in addition to change, movement in terms of quantity and quality. On the other hand, some of these changes are natural, while others occur as a result of human creative activity. According to Aristotle, who argues that existing things constantly acquire new forms, new creatures come to the world, and houses and sculptures are made by humans, since the process of change involves gaining a new form, some questions can be asked about the phenomenon of change in order to reveal the reasons. While the answers to these questions constitute a complete scientific explanation of something in Aristotle, they express his famous teaching of four reasons.
According to him, we need four reasons to explain the formation and change in existing things. The first of these is the material cause, the basis or material in which the change occurs. For example, when we consider a statue, the bronze from which the statue is made or the silver from which the plate is made must be their material cause. Secondly, it is necessary to mention the formal reason. For example, as in the case of a certain sculpture, the sculpture has a shape that distinguishes it from other objects. Or, when we think of a man-built house, the plan, definition, or structure of the house, with which it was built, is its formal cause. The third is the agent cause, which corresponds to the source of the movement or change and unites in the same individual. The architect who built the house, the masters who put the bricks, sand and cement together, the sculptor who made the sculpture, the perpetrator. For Aristotle, finally, the purpose or goal of the thing gives us the final or final cause. Accordingly, sculpture ornament or beautiful