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Aristotle on the Meaning of Man

A Philosophical Response to Idealism, Positivism, and Gnosticism

Peter Jackson

Why was (and is) Aristotle «right» and why are we «wrong»? In other words, why are Aristotle’s philosophical reflections on man and the world full, real, and convincing and why is so much of our modern philosophy partial and false? This work offers a detailed assessment of Aristotle’s thought in response to these questions.

Using «man» as a case study, this work shows how Aristotle philosophically treats «him» as a physical, biological, social, political, ethical, creative, poeticising, and philosophising object in the world. It then continues by laying out his consequent conclusions regarding the necessary capacities of natural objects in the world.

Regarding the modern philosophical approach to «man», this work shows that it flows from several directions into narcissism, nihilism, and a desire to control and manipulate the world and other people. In short, this work considers these approaches and seeks to show that Aristotle’s philosophy is «right», true, and commendable and that our modern philosophy is (often) «wrong», vacuous, and distasteful.

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Chapter 1.3: Exploring the Habits of Aristotle’s “Ethical Man”


← 48 | 49 →CHAPTER 1.3

Exploring the Habits of Aristotle’s “Ethical Man”

I have hitherto tried to suggest to the reader that we need to approach Aristotle in the right way, on his own terms, and on the basis that his philosophy is an architectonic which is a philosophical representation of the world which does not merely represent the world conceptually but also addresses (and argues that we need to address as part of our philosophical approach to the world) worldly being at the level of its “scientific” granularity. I add here that even when we consider such matters as “ethics” – i.e. how we live our lives (well) in the world – and such scientific subjects (as I hope to show in a subsequent work) as “zoology” – i.e. how animals live in the world – we should understand that Aristotle’s thinking regarding all such subjects (and all of them together) seeks to establish the philosophical and metaphysical principles which underlie and support (these) fields of knowledge. I suggest (and it will be one of the objectives of my overall project to show) that Aristotle can be read straight on both of the above subjects with great value – i.e. as a moral ethicist and, even, as a zoologist – and I go further and suggest that we should not even approach Aristotle directly in this way but should, rather, approach him indirectly by considering him on his own terms and by considering his work as a fusion of scientific fact and...

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