Study Guides (238,604)
United States (119,863)
Boston College (3,464)
Philosophy (238)
PHIL 1070 (71)

Thien Dam Philo SPRING FINAL PAPER.docx

5 Pages
Unlock Document

Boston College
PHIL 1070
Marina Denischik

Dam 1 Thien Dam PL071 Denischik 5/3/13 “Three Things” Nowadays, when people forget how to say a word that refers to a certain item, they would sometimes give up thinking about it and end up calling it that…that…that thing. In contrast to that, back in the days, mentioning something as a thing would require more than to just giving up on thinking of the item’s name. If this statement does not apply to everyone back in the days, then it sure as well does apply to three specific philosophers of old times. These philosophers wereAristotle, Descartes, and Heidegger. These three intelligent people had very different ideas of what a ‘thing’could be defined as. Heidegger, borned in the late-1890, perceived a thing in a backwards view of how people perceived things. He referred to a thing as defined by its thingness. Descartes, borned in the mid-1950, can see defining a thing when he describes his example of a piece of wax and its effect on the body and soul.Aristotle, borned in 384 BC, defines a thing in terms of its traits and how it comes to be.Agreater analysis will be examined as to how these three philosophers define a thing and how Aristotle’s analysis can connect with Heidegger and Descartes’definitions. When talking about a thing,Aristotle brings about a perfect definition for traits and characteristics of it. In his book The Metaphysics,Aristotle teases out these traits by first saying that a thing is a substance. By substance,Aristotle says that it is what makes the thing what it is; Dam 2 substance is the essence of a thing. He proceeds to divide substance in two components: matter and form. Matters are elements of which something is made.An example to help better understand this concept is a chair.Achair’s matter is wood because woods are put together to make the chair. The second component of substance, form, is the structure or shape that the matter takes. Using the same example, the chair would be the form because wood is taking that certain shape. Both of these components are inseparable modules to make a substance. Aristotle continues to explain the how a substance comes into being. He explains this with four causes to which he calls the Theory of Causation. The first is the material cause which is the matter to which the form is made out of. The second is the formal cause which is the blueprint required to create the form from the matter. The third cause is the efficient cause (or immediate cause) which describes what, or who, makes the form. The last is the final cause which asks for the ultimate purpose of a thing coming to be.Aristotle explains the Theory of Causation to bring a further understanding of the process of a thing coming to be and its ultimate goal in the world. This concept will be used later to bring about a connection with Heidegger’s definition of a thing Another important concept thatAristotle introduces about a thing is that substances, in its form, contains a primary substance and a secondary substance. WhatAristotle says about a primary substance is that this term refers to particular objects.As opposed to primary substances, secondary substance refers to an unparticular object.An example of these two concepts can be seen in Socrates and man. Socrates, an individual, is a particular person. The word man, which represents every single male, is not so particular. In this case, Socrates would be the primary substance and man would be a secondary substance. These two concepts of substance will be used to analyze a connection with Descartes’definition of a thing. Dam 3 Descartes, unlikeAristotle, does not give a definite answer to what a thing is. Descartes, however, teases out a definition in his book Meditations gives an example of a piece of wax to give the reader a better appreciation of his concept of the body and soul. To get a better understanding of this example, one has to understand what Descartes is trying to prove with his example. In the example, Descartes is trying to prove that human’s intellect, our soul, is stronger than the body. The reason why is because the body, which consist of our senses and imagination, cannot be trusted. In the example of a piece of wax, Descartes describes the wax as having a smell of honey, a solid figure, a small stature, and a stiff nature. However, when the wax is presented with fire, all the senses once perceived is now distorted and changed. The wax now does not smell like honey, it is in liquid form, it is large in size, and is soft is texture.Although this is the case, we still call it wax. Descartes says that our senses do not determine that because obvious
More Less

Related notes for PHIL 1070

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.