Exam questions :( Watch
‘Aristotle is wrong to believe everything has a purpose’
I’m kind of confused on both of these statements
Because doesn’t everything have a purpose? If we assign even an object a purpose to just be there surely even it has a purpose?
And I don’t know what I’d argue for the first either
Nihilists would go further than Sartre and argue that there is no such thing as purpose and that even the attempt to subjectively create one is a fiction and thus a falsehood.
You can also criticise the idea of purpose with modern science, which struggles to find a place for purpose within its mechanistic materialist view of the universe. Where is purpose? What is it made from? Absurd questions, but then perhaps purpose is a scientifically absurd concept?
Modern science generally is what is used to criticise Aristotle. Aristotle thought that when you push a ball and it stops moving, that shows that its movement 'runs out'. However, the stars and planets do not stop moving, they never 'run out', so something must be sustaining their motion which then, he thought, sustains the motion of things on earth. The prime mover is that sustainer. Aristotle claimed the prime mover was the final cause of the universe. We now know this to be incorrect thanks to Newton. If you throw a ball in empty space, it actually keeps moving until met by an equal and opposite reaction. On earth, that opposite reaction is the friction of the ball with the ground. So the kinetic energy does not run out, it is transferred to heat energy. Aristotle was wrong, however at least his empirical method of observation was not wrong since Newton used that, combining it with empirical experiment. Aristotle's conclusions were incorrect but his empiricist method was taken up by modern science. Nonetheless modern science does not have room for the idea of purpose.
Another key thing you can do in these questions is bring in Plato as a contrasting view to Aristotle and evaluate which one you think is correct, which will then help you have an answer to the question, because If Plato's rationalist a priori approach is correct, then Aristotle's empiricist a posteriori approach is incorrect and vice versa.
More notes here:
You’ve really helped me understand them so thank you so much! It’s much appreciated