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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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Glossary of Greek Terms

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This section includes detail of some core Greek terms employed by Aristotle. Most definitions are extracted from Liddell and Scott, with a few notes from Martin Heidegger [MH]. More detail on how Aristotle uses these terms will be found in the main text – below are only brief, indicative outlines of these complex philosophically employed terms.

ἀγχίνοια (agchinoia) – quick wit, readiness of mind

αἴσθησις (aisthēsis) – perception by the senses; common name of the senses – touch, hearing, sight, taste, smell; also ἀναισθεσία – insensibility to pleasure or pain

αἰτία (aitia) – cause; [orig.] a charge, accusation; see also συναίτιος (joint cause)

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