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Aristotle In Class Essay Question Answers


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHL200Y1
Professor
Jennifer Whiting

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PHL200 in-class essay exam on March 3 rd
4 possible questions, be prepared to answer all of them
1.Compare Platos conception of Forms to Aristotles conception of forms, paying special
attention to the question whether Aristotles theory succeeds (as Aristotle seems to think it
does) in avoiding the Third Man Argument.
- Platos theory of Forms asserts that the non-material abstract form (or idea), and not the material
world known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality.
- this was supposed to be Platos possible solution to the problem of universals
- Platos Forms are just that and nothing else (ex. Beautiful)
- Platos theory of forms produces the Third Man Argument:
1. One over many assumption: if there exists a plurality of F things, then there is some one thing,
predicated of all, in virtue of which they are all [called] F
2. Self-predication assumption: what is predicated of a plurality of F things is itself F
3. Non-identity assumption: what is predicated of a plurality of things is always different from that of
which it is predicated
- The third man argument argues against the forms because Platos theory of forms leads to an infinite
regress there becomes an infinite hierarchy of forms with each form partaking in the infinite number
of forms in the hierarchy above it
- Aristotle rejected Platos theory of Forms because he found that referring to what is predicated of all
things as a thisleads to an infinite regress in Platos Theory of Forms
- Aristotles conception of forms involved using primary and secondary substances rather than
Formsbecause all things in existence are substance (whether or not they are material or immaterial)
- Aristotles criticism of Platos theory of Forms was that Plato takes ‘what is predicated of all things
(the Form) to be a thisrather than a such, what is predicated of all things should not be a thisbut
rather a sort of thing
- Aristotle offers a distinction between primary (a thisor particular) and secondary substances (a sort
of thingor universal)
- The primary and secondary substances go hand in hand with one another and cannot exist without
each other (primary substances belong to secondary substances)
- for example: an individual man would be considered a primary substance or a thisand the species
man would be considered a secondary substance or a sort of thing
- things can be predicated of primary substances, but not from
- Aristotle denies self predication of secondary substances
- Primary substances cannot be said of or in anything they are a direct answer to the question ti esti?
(what is it?)
- Aristotle saw that universals were necessary and therefore there is a need for some conception of
Forms
- Science depends on demonstration
DEMONSTRATION: valid logic providing scientific knowledge (why we use the forms)
- For Aristotle: only universals (secondary substances and thus primary substances which belong to
them) are required for demonstration, and NOT Platonic Forms
- Aristotle believes in one thing holding over the many as Plato did with his Theory of Forms, however
Aristotle saw that the some one and the same thing holding over several cases should not have the
same name, as they do in Platos Forms
Is Aristotle right to think that his conception of Forms avoids the Third Man Argument in a way
that Platos conception of Forms does not?
Aristotle is right is thinking that his conception of Forms avoids the Third Man Argument in a way that
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