Questions in life may not have a definite final answer. This is exactly what the study of Philosophy poses. Thinkers have existed since the days of Socrates trying to answer the most difficult questions in life. Some of these questions do not follow a certain criteria for there to be one correct answer. These types of questions may be opinion based until the end of time. One of these questions is what is the best overall picture of reality? It is the metaphysical question that has been asked by many philosophers throughout history, but there still is no final answer that can be written in stone.
For this reason I disagree with Aristotle’s view on reality because most of his theories have already been disproven. Reality can be different to each unique human mind. Aristotle is one of the greatest philosophers that have ever lived. He offered answers to questions in life from his learning from another great philosopher, Plato. His beliefs of the ultimate nature of reality focused on a teleological universe. This meant that everything was moving towards its telos or goal in life. He said that materials are fully real and are what senseperception reveals.
“Tode ti” was his famous quote meaning this thing here. These real materials in life were all trying to move to their telos. They were very mechanical, and were just moving because it was their goal to reach during their life time. Examples that Aristotle offered dealt with the five ultimate material elements of reality that he established. These elements of reality are earth, water, air, fire, and either. Each of these elements were moving to get to their telos, or final goal in life. He clearly defined the movement of each of these elements.
Earth, such as rocks, fall to the ground to get to the center of the earth. Water also falls to the center of the earth and also lies on top of earth. Air is trying to rise above water. Finally fire is trying to rise to the sky. Aristotle firmly believed that these objects’ motion were another explanation for reality. His greatest belief was his theory that the earth is the center of the universe. His reality was geocentric, meaning that the earth is the center of the universe. All other objects were trying to get to the center of the earth, which was the center of the universe.
Aristotle was very passionate with his studies of the sky and planets. The universe intrigued him, and after years of study he determined that the earth had to be at the center of the universe. This also meant that the sun and all of the other planets revolved around the earth. Although his theory of earth being the center of the universe made complete sense at the time period, he could never correctly guess where each planet was going to be in the sky day to day. This revealed a large problem in his theory, which could never be solved.
Perhaps the reason why everything revolving in his theory did not fit together was due to the fact that the earth was not the center of the universe. Of course today we know that the sun is the center of the universe, and Aristotle’s false theory started a snowball effect with each of his ideas and explanations of reality slowly not making sense and becoming disproved. Philosophers such as Galileo, Rene Descartes, and Newton completely put Aristotle’s ideas and beliefs to bed. This is part of the fact why I disagree with Aristotle, but the other fifty percent is on the basis of my own beliefs.
His teleological and mechanistic ideas for what reality is do not fit into the context of my ideas on this metaphysical question. In my mind everything in the world is not just mechanical in the sense that they are just flowing around, but have a goal that they cannot control that they will eventually arrive at. Free will exists, and the mind gives us the best overall picture of reality. Every mind is also different, which gives living things a different outlook on what reality actually looks like. I believe that Aristotle’s “Tode ti” is correct in that what one sees is what really exists.
Objects in sense perception are fully real. What I do not agree with is what is connected to how objects move in Aristotle’s teleological universe. I do believe that everyone has a purpose in life, and people do have a destiny, but everything is not moving towards its own perfection like Aristotle says. Free will makes nobody perfect in life. People can stride for perfection, but with one goal in life being to be perfect all of the time would make for a very boring and painstaking life. Just imagine waking up every morning and worrying about the things that will have to be done to meet perfection.
The world would not be a fun place to live in with everyone caring for only themselves. There would be no charity in the world that we live in today if people only looked out for their best interests. Poor countries would be stranded to survive and find resources that they do not have to keep their people alive. Kind hearted donations from people would also seize to exist, and homeless and sick people would be left to fight for their own survival. Of course certain groups of people in the world would excel in life, but the majority of the world would be left to rot away.
Just imagine if the people of New Orleans never received aid from the millions of Americans and charities that contributed to the Hurricane Katrina Relief. New Orleans would currently be a third world country with limited human life occupying the area. This is where I feel that free will and human emotions cancels out reality focusing on the telos of life. Every human mind is unique. The way that one thinks determines the choices that one may make. For this reason every individual is different and will live their lives on what their mind is set on. One can never predict what outside source may interfere with the way that one lives their life.
For example a goal in life may be to attend and finish college with a degree, but a death in the family may force one to drop out and help family back home. This may happen because of the human emotion that cancels out the reality focusing on the telos of life. One may now have a different responsibility that involves caring and helping family at home while an important member of the household has passed away. The goal of graduating college may be gone for the time being, but the possibility still exists to return to school after the family crisis becomes stable.
Many people, from personal experiences that I know, do not in fact return to school after they have dropped out. New priorities now exist for them, and they may have a steady job in another industry that they had to take up to support the family. This shows how a cause can have an effect on one’s life, and change the whole human thinking process to move onto a new and different life that is now different from ones initial goal of graduating from college. My belief on elements that exist in this world, also does not agree with Aristotle’s theological belief.
In my opinion, air, earth, fire, and water exist in this world simply because they are essential to human life. Elements like this do not have final goals in life. To believe this, it would mean that each of these elements can think. Only animals and humans can think, and these elements serve in reality to make life possible. The earth today is a very small piece of the actual universe that has been discovered. We are just a dust particle in the endless universe. For this reason it is obviously completely false to say that the earth is the center of the universe.
It is easy to disagree with Aristotle’s false theory of the earth being the center of the universe. He made this assumption without fully knowing the endless space that exits in the universe. Galileo and Rene Descartes fully disproved Aristotle’s theory when they concluded that the sun is actually in the center of the universe, and all planets including earth rotate around it. I believe that reality concerning the universe will never be known by any human being. Technology can only take us so far, and it has made us aware that there are in fact millions of other different universes light years away from the one that we live in.
Who’s to say that the whole universe isn’t just a giant ball floating around in an entirely different area of space? I believe that our world could be like the one in one of Dr. Seuss’s children’s books were the Whos live on a planet that is a speck on top of a pink flower. An entirely different world exists in the form of a speck, and it takes an elephant to prove to the rest of the animals in the jungle that there is an actual whole other world containing life existing on this tiny speck.
The reality is that we could be this speck on a flower in a whole universe that exists in much larger proportions that we could ever imagine. I believe that Aristotle was a great Philosopher. I just do not agree with his theories as applied to the world today, enabling society to answering some of these important questions that exist in philosophy. The human mind is truly an amazing thing that always seems to shock the people that study it. The powers of the mind can be unlimited, and so can the actual picture of reality.
Reality may be different to people with different minds, but in my mind the reality that exists may extend into unknown areas that have yet to be discovered. My reality has no boundaries, no limits, and is infinite. The world that we live in may very well be contained in a pebble that exists on the ground of a much larger world that exists around us. This thought is just one of the unlimited possible realities that may exist. The true reality may never be known by anyone.
Courtney from Study Moose
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