Revised Thesis Preface

This is the revised draft of the preface to my thesis. I might not include it at all, but it was helpful pre-writing. Please let me know what you think, including whether or not I should include this, or something like this. Thank you!

The following thesis is admittedly much influenced by the thought of Aristotle. While Aristotle's influence can be seen in many ways in this thesis rather overtly, nevertheless there is an underlying principle which is at work that cannot (and should not, to my mind) be addressed during the course of the thesis properly speaking. Most generally this principle is that there is an order to the various philosophical disciplines. While there is much to be said about this order, most specifically the order with which I am concerned is the Philosophy of Nature precedes Metaphysics, or first philosophy, in the order of learning.
As contemporary commentator Glen Coughlin claims, “If there is to be any understanding of metaphysics as Aristotle conceived it, or even of Aristotle's conception of metaphysics, it will have to be preceded by a careful study of natural philosophy...” This is for the simple truth that immaterial being does not evidently exist and according to Aristotle “If there were no substances other than those formed by nature, physics (natural philosophy) would be the first science.” Further, it is through the study of mobile being that we arrive at our understanding of immaterial being, as in Aristotle's De Anima, that presupposes much of the Physics. Also at the end of the Physics Aristotle concludes to the first mover and states “Therefore it is apparent that it is indivisible and partless and a thing having no magnitude.” Our knowledge of immaterial being is largely knowledge by negation. The Physics, therefore, concludes to immaterial being, and can say no more about it since its object if mobile being. It is from here that one is must begin first philosophy, or metaphysics.
From these considerations it is clear that in the order of learning, Natural Philosophy must precede Metaphysics. This is simply how to move from the more known to the less known. This is a formative principle behind this thesis.
Throughout this thesis I will be focused on treating the methodology of Natural Philosophy as a natural philosopher, not a metaphysician. The principles I intend to resolve to in order to make my argument will belong to the disciplines of Logic and Natural Philosophy. This approach has both weaknesses and advantages, yet it is important to maintain.
The possible weaknesses that can be encountered by such an approach is that there may be metaphysical objections or problems to some arguments, that will not be sufficiently dealt with. This does not mean that the arguments should lack their proper certainty, or not conclude properly, but rather that there may be what Aristotle terms, ἀπορία, that cannot be resolved, which nevertheless does not disprove what was said.
The great advantage of this approach is that it will assure a narrow and focused discussion that will not be weighed down by digression or confusing side arguments that do not immediately pertani to the task at hand. This will mean that this thesis will likely end with more questions than it began with, but as long as the questions with which I end are different from the ones I began with, I shall consider my work successful.

1 Comment:

  1. John B. said...
    I think this is much improved, Frater. More philosophical, and a lot more focused. It presents clearly the philosophical reasons for why your method is 'other' than current approaches to the subject of natural philosophy. If it fits with the content of your thesis, I would use it.

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