Limits of the aristotelian system
Aristote - 384-322 before J.C.
Aristote was a very important Greek thinker. Its philosophical treaties exerted
a major influence on the Western thought. It professed moderation in behaviour
and the use of logic as a tool for investigation.
(Paragraph extracted from an 'ordinary' encyclopaedia)
"The language Aristotle inherited was of great antiquity, and originated in
periods when knowledge was still more scanty. Being a keen observer, and
scientifically and methodologically inclined, he took this language for granted
and systematized the modes of speaking. This systematization was called 'logic'."
A. Korzybski, Science and Sanity p. 371
Here are the aristotelician system premises:
One can at once see the influence of the linguistic structures related to the
verb 'to be', in the formulation of these premises !
- All that is, is (premise of identity)
- Nothing can at the same time be and not be (premise of contradiction)
- All must either be or not be (premise of the excluded third)
From these ' Laws of Thought' follow:
- the generalized confusion of words with the thing which
they represent (as in "This is a chair"), that we shall call thereafter
identification, or 'confusion of orders of abstractions'.
- the postulation of the universality of the subject-predicate verbal form
(as in "this pencil is red"). This postulate asserts the possibility of reducing
any complex formulation to a set of sentences having this single form,
expressing the 'properties' (predicate) of an object (subject). We will see that
this postulate is generally false since this verbal form cannot account for
asymmetric relations (before, after, more than, less than, etc.).
We shall call this projection and show that it includes a particular case
- the possibility of verbally dividing what cannot be divided empirically
('body'/'soul', 'space' /'time' /'matter', etc). We shall then speak of
© ESGS, 2001.