The World Explored, the World Suffered Education Issue Nr. 32 July 2020 - Page 36

definition....His deficiencies as a scientist can be traced back to Plato's influence on him--to his retention in disguised form of Plato's theory of essences and to his doctrine of final causes." What Brett is failing to see here is the complex web of description and justification we encounter in the work of Aristotle: four kinds of change(Substantial, Qualitiative, Quantitative, Locomotion), three principles of change and four cause of change(material efficient, formal and final). Brett mentions two of the 4 causes and ignores the other two. He also speaks incorrectly of Quality as being for Aristotle the basic quality of reality thereby ignoring the other three kinds of change in reality. It is Kantian philosophy that best develops the Aristotelian web in a direction which Brett(given the above remarks) ought to object to. But he puzzlingly instead claims the following: "The course of history affords an interesting parallel to the development from Kant to Hegel, the former being more definitely Aristotelian, the latter an admirer of Neoplatonism." The cloud of confusion increases, however when we recall what Brett later in his text has to say about the philosophy of Kant: "Kant's second contribution to the German tradition of psychology was his contention that science is characterised by mathematical as well as by empirical description. His celebrated fusion of the empirical standpoint of Hume with the rationalist standpoint of Wolff involved the aphorism that an empirical inquiry is as scientific as it contains mathematics...It introduced the craze for measurement in psychology.." The above characterisation clearly ignores Kant's reliance on the Aristotelian web of description and justification and it places emphasis upon an aphorism relating to the fact that the Chemistry of Kant's time lacked mathematical support and also at the same time, emphasising Hume's empirical standpoint which incidentally claimed that causation cannot be objectively observed in the world(in contrast to Aristotle's view). Placing the modern scientific craze for measurement at the doorstep of Kant may well be overestimating the roles of Hume and Descartes the mathematician and underestimating the roles of Descartes the rationalist and Aristotle the hylomorphic metaphysician. On the question of consciousness, Brett has the following to say: "The idea of consciousness, in general, was ready to hand in the Neoplatonic tradition. The Aristotelian basis to which scholasticism returned in the thirteenth century was firmer ground and the rejection of the pantheistic tendency was in accordance with the general character of Christian monotheism."