marți, 19 iulie 2011

Aristotle's Metaphysics, 980a1-6


‘All men by nature desire to know’ – The nature of man appears at the very beginning of Aristotle’s first book of Metaphysics. Such place could be count as an expression of Aristotle’s purpose to ground his new science of being on the natural existence of man. We may also see a tendency shared by any individual, namely that of founding any issued statement on a ground that both surpasses and encompasses his position.  At the same time, the practice of communication reaches its level of openness and efficiency in the moments when persons do not confine themselves to some firm grounds of this type. We cannot prolong a conversation and even a friendship with someone who conceives himself or herself in a strong relation to a superior being or domain and recognizes his or her intimacy with it. Therefore, any statement supported by an invocation of a sort of authority as that of nature should be questioned about its capacity to cope with an efficient language. There is not an intention to reduce a discourse to the value of conversation, but rather to guard its capacity to bind the difference of the things as conversations do in an exemplary way, because of their basis on the multiplicity of different individuals.

At least in part, Aristotle’s invocation of nature escapes the above mentioned tendency. Because he refers to an aspect of human nature that is itself contrary to a nature of man, which someone might easily classify among superior and encompassing entities. He names the activity of desiring and not a reputed natural property as it could be the faculty of reasoning. However, Aristotle regresses from the action of desiring to the claim of a faculty beginning with the second sentence, since he refers to ‘our senses’. The act of desiring is subdued to the senses and, from this point on, it is left out a conception of knowledge able to take into account the human nature in its common appearance, as a desirable one and as a capacity to move lively through different theoretical and practical items. Or, as Aristotle himself states in the same paragraph, it is omitted the natural penchant to reveal ‘many differences between things’.

The lively movement could be discovered in the acts which we usually place in the domain of senses. The preference or love for the senses themselves is motivated just for such lively attitude to the things. Knowledge is a byproduct of the well apprehension assured by the sensorial activity in connection with thoughts and words. Aristotle’s oscillation between the sober invocation of the nature of man and the sheer presentation of its desirability could drive to an interpretation of his new born first philosophy as a theory in fact partially attentive to what stays on a pre-theoretical level of apprehension.