The World Explored, the World Suffered Education Issue Nr. 8 July 2018 - Page 21

INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY COURSE: Aristotle part 2—The Metaphysical logic of Philosophical Psychology. Aristotle’s response to dialectical reasoning and the dialectical interaction between the positions of materialism and dualism was hylomorphic theory and its method of metaphysical logic. This method builds upon a correct understanding of the Principle of non-contradiction(PNC) which he characterizes as follows in Book 4, 3-6 of his work Metaphysics: “It is not possible for one and the same thing both to have and not to have one and the same property.” There is also a slightly different formulation of the same principle at 1006b 33- 34: “it is impossible that it should at the same time be true to say of the same thing both that it is human and that it is not human.” The first formulation clearly refers to reality directly and the second formulation appears to take a more circuitous route and refer to what can be “Truly said” of reality thus indicating that the PNC is not merely a logical principle regulating relationships between propositions and statements. For Aristotle the Principle refers directly to reality via our truthful claims about reality. If this is so, and this position is argued by Vasilis Politus in Chapter 5 of his work “Aristotle and the Metaphysics”, then it would appear to follow that logic is subservient to metaphysics and PNC then becomes a principle of what we would call “Metaphysical logic”. PNC on this kind of account, is a source of demonstrative proofs or explanations which itself is not subject to demonstrative proof or explanation. As a corollary of his position in this debate, Politus argues that PNC is not a so called “Transcendental Principle”, i.e. a claim to the effect that something is true of reality because it is true of thought or language. Politus has this to say on p 135: “Aristotle argues(in Chapter 4,4) that if PNC were not true of things then we could not use thoughts and words to signify things, and in general we could not think and speak about things. He concludes that if PNC were not true of things, then thought and language about things would be impossible. PNC is rue of things because it is a necessary condition for the possibility of thought and language about things.” This has the logical consequence that there can be no demonstration or explanation of PNC. On our account we wish to maintain, therefore, that PNC is a principle of metaphysical logic and as a consequence a principle about