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How successful is Aristotle's argument against determinism

How successful is Aristotle's argument against determinism?

Assess Aristotle's view that pleasure increases with the quality of the object.

Evaluate Aristotle's claim that we are 'jointly responsible' for our characters.

Assess Aristotle's view that knowledge exists only when the soul 'becomes' its object.

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1.) How successful is Aristotle's argument against determinism?

I don't know that it's possible to debate how "successful" Aristotle's argument was. How to define "success" is a definite problem. His argument against determinism certainly didn't settle the argument as we are still discussing this issue today and are still divided between the arguments of determinism (fate/karma) and indeterminism (free will/chance). An additional factor complicating the matter is that our understanding of causation, free will and scientific laws are imprecise and ever changing. Add to this the fact that Aristotle was expounding his ideas thousands of years ago without the benefit of so many of the modern tools and understanding that we enjoy.

Aristotle was a voice of change in his culture and time period. In this sense he was successful since he introduced an alternative point of view that not only called into question the existing assumptions about life and the universe but also provided a philosophy that is still considered viable even today, thousands of years later. Prior to Aristotle, the reigning philosophy was determinism. The gods were in charge or alternatively the fates were in charge and man was an inconsequential pawn torn between the gods and the fates. He was not the master of his soul, destiny or even his actions.

Aristotle argued that man is in fact a player in the events that transpire on earth. He claimed that accidents are accidental precisely because they are not predetermined. Human error and choice play a vital direct role in thousands of everyday occurrences and to claim that each one of this is determined rather than impacted by human free will is ludicrous.


2.) Assess Aristotle's view that pleasure increases with the quality of the object.

In contrast to Plato and other philosophers before him who argued that pleasure was an action, Aristotle claimed that pleasure was a feeling that followed an action or worked in tandem with an action. There were two main ideas to Aristotle's view regarding the quality of pleasure. First the object of pleasure must remain intact, must be admirable and excellent, and its quality must remain undiluted. Second, one's ability to act or ...

Solution Summary

Aristotle's argument against determinism is discussed in this response, as well as his views on pleasure and quality of an object, being jointly responsible for our characters, and knowledge as the soul becoming its object. Approximately 1,500 words including references.