Aristotle

Charles Andrews chandrews at igc2.igc.apc.org
Fri Feb 24 11:11:09 MST 1995


    In his latest post (Feb. 24), Chris Sciabarra praises
Aristotle again, this time without any citations or other
evidence. Instead, we get Heilbroner and Marcuse, and alleged
recommendations from Marx, Engels, and Lenin, although it has
been cited how this misrepresents Lenin's judgment.
    Materialism should not be reduced to the Democritean
atomistic conception. Materialism and idealism are opposites. In
Aristotle, idealism is ultimately dominant, and in the end an
idealist abandons dialectics for metaphysics: "there is always a
mover of things moved, and the first mover is itself unmoved."
(Metaphysics, trans. Hope, p. 86.)
    Most revealing is that the post avoids so much as a word of
rebuttal concerning Aristotle's political and class character.
(By someone who signs himself as a visitor at a department of
politics!) Normally, Marxists pay great attention to a thinker's
class character, not as a litmus test, but as crucial in
evaluating the thinker's work (for example, see Lukacs on
Balzac, the great conservative anti-capitalist novelist).
    Whether the topic of the moment is matter and form, or
contradiction in formal logic and in dialectics, Sciabarra's
posts keep confusing the issue with parts and ORGANIC whole (his
capitals). Aristotle certainly noticed while doing his
biological dissections that body parts were part of the whole
body. It would be nice if Sciabarra would present something from
Aristotle on part-and-whole and give us a hint of how
compelling, how insightful, how useful it would be for us to
vault Aristotle to the fore of our studies today. No one here
denies the worth of background study of Aristotle, which is
certainly more valuable than Hook, Heilbroner, and Marcuse.


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