Happy to Have New Work on The Freethink Tank

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Author: girlzillawrites

I am a philosophy professor and writer with a diverse set of research interests. My favorite courses to conduct are all introductory: critical thinking, symbolic logic, ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, social and political philosophy, and ethics. My philosophical loves are Kant and Kierkegaard, but I happen to be smitten pretty much with whoever I'm reading at the moment.

One thought on “Happy to Have New Work on The Freethink Tank”

  1. “In short, nature is purposeful; it has an end, function, characteristic activity, or telos.”

    One problem with this is that I have discovered that purpose exists always, and only, in relation to something else — usually, something greater than itself. To say that “nature is purposeful” is to suggest that there is something greater than nature and also something that is beyond nature that is something “other” than nature — something meta-physical, like a “mind.”

    But I think that Aristotle got things backwards. It is the metaphysical that is purposeful, rather than nature. For nature is ontologically prior, though from the distorted lens of consciousness we think that all things — even time itself — begins and ends with us. But it does not. Nature is greater than Mind. We may not explicitly admit this truth, but it is a latent belief. In fact, the stability of the Mind is often established by deferring to Nature, chaotic as she is.

    And this is the difference between Plato and Aristotle. Aristotle is “teleological” as you say, while Plato urged us to leave the mind-cave behind us (even if we return to it later) and to try to see the sun as what it is itself. That is Platonic Existentialism, and it frees us from the dogmatic slumber of Aristotelian metaphysics (or, rather, it prevents us from getting too comfortable in that slumber in the first place). And it requires us to see beyond things like purpose, as well as our judgements of “good and evil.”

    I also want to make a distinction between “ethics” and “morality.” I say that “ethics” is the part of justice that is in service to the humanity, while “morality” is the part of justice that is in service to nature (or, “the gods”). While there may be some overlap, it is possible that some things that are ethical may be immoral, and vice versa. Much grief has been had (and perhaps much blood spilt) over a mistake that some people make, which is that “ethics” and “morality” are totally one, ie that convention is what is also natural. But, presumably, this is what happens whenever the Mind seeks to reinforce its legitimacy by deferring to Nature…

What do you think?