Nature (philosophy)

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Nature has two inter-related meanings in philosophy. On the one hand, it means the set of all things which are natural, or subject to the normal working of the laws of nature. On the other hand, it means the essential properties and causes of individual things.

Nature Universe events since the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago

Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, or material world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. Although humans are part of nature, human activity is often understood as a separate category from other natural phenomena.

Philosophy Study of general and fundamental questions

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

In philosophy, essence is the property or set of properties that make an entity or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the entity or substance has contingently, without which the substance can still retain its identity. The concept originates rigorously with Aristotle, who used the Greek expression to ti ên einai or sometimes the shorter phrase to ti esti for the same idea. This phrase presented such difficulties for its Latin translators that they coined the word essentia to represent the whole expression. For Aristotle and his scholastic followers, the notion of essence is closely linked to that of definition.

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How to understand the meaning and significance of nature has been a consistent theme of discussion within the history of Western Civilization, in the philosophical fields of metaphysics and epistemology, as well as in theology and science. The study of natural things and the regular laws which seem to govern them, as opposed to discussion about what it means to be natural, is the area of natural science.

Metaphysics Branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of reality

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality. The word "metaphysics" comes from two Greek words that, together, literally mean "after or behind or among [the study of] the natural". It has been suggested that the term might have been coined by a first century CE editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle’s works into the treatise we now know by the name Metaphysics.

Epistemology A branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.

Theology Study of the nature of deities and religious belief

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also especially with epistemology, and asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

The word "nature" derives from Latin nātūra , a philosophical term derived from the verb for birth, which was used as a translation for the earlier (pre-Socratic) Greek term phusis , derived from the verb for natural growth. Already in classical times, philosophical use of these words combined two related meanings which have in common that they refer to the way in which things happen by themselves, "naturally", without "interference" from human deliberation, divine intervention, or anything outside what is considered normal for the natural things being considered.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Birth process of giving birth to one or more offspring

Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring. In mammals, the process is initiated by hormones which cause the muscular walls of the uterus to contract, expelling the fetus at a developmental stage when it is ready to feed and breathe. In some species the offspring is precocial and can move around almost immediately after birth but in others it is altricial and completely dependent on parenting. In marsupials, the fetus is born at a very immature stage after a short gestational period and develops further in its mother's womb's pouch.

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE

The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by Medieval Greek.

Understandings of nature depend on the subject and age of the work where they appear. For example, Aristotle's explanation of natural properties differs from what is meant by natural properties in modern philosophical and scientific works, which can also differ from other scientific and conventional usage. Stoicism encourages practitioners to live in accordance with nature. Pyrrhonism encourages practitioners to use the guidance of nature in decision making.

Aristotle philosopher in ancient Greece

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, the founder of the Lyceum and the Peripatetic school of philosophy and Aristotelian tradition. Along with his teacher Plato, he has been called the "Father of Western Philosophy". His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics and government. Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him, and it was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry. As a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West and it continues to be a subject of contemporary philosophical discussion.

Stoicism School of Hellenistic Greek philosophy

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism founded by Pyrrho in the fourth century BCE. It is best known through the surviving works of Sextus Empiricus, writing in the late second century or early third century CE.

Classical nature and Aristotelian metaphysics

The Physics (from ta phusika "the natural [things]") is Aristotle's principal work on nature. In Physics II.1, Aristotle defines a nature as "a source or cause of being moved and of being at rest in that to which it belongs primarily". [1] In other words, a nature is the principle within a natural raw material that is the source of tendencies to change or rest in a particular way unless stopped. For example, a rock would fall unless stopped. Natural things stand in contrast to artifacts, which are formed by human artifice, not because of an innate tendency. (The raw materials of a bed have no tendency to become a bed.) In terms of Aristotle's theory of four causes, the word natural is applied both to the innate potential of matter cause and the forms which the matter tends to become naturally. [2]

<i>Physics</i> (Aristotle) treatise by Aristotle

The Physics is a named text, written in ancient Greek, collated from a collection of surviving manuscripts known as the Corpus Aristotelicum, attributed to the 4th-century BC philosopher Aristotle.

Four causes elements of an influential principle in Aristotelian thought

The "four causes" are elements of an influential principle in Aristotelian thought whereby explanations of change or movement are classified into four fundamental types of answer to the question "why?". Aristotle wrote that "we do not have knowledge of a thing until we have grasped its why, that is to say, its cause." While there are cases where identifying a "cause" is difficult, or in which "causes" might merge, Aristotle held that his four "causes" provided an analytical scheme of general applicability.

According to Leo Strauss, [3] the beginning of Western philosophy involved the "discovery or invention of nature" and the "pre-philosophical equivalent of nature" was supplied by "such notions as 'custom' or 'ways'". In ancient Greek philosophy on the other hand, Nature or natures are ways that are "really universal" "in all times and places". What makes nature different is that it presupposes not only that not all customs and ways are equal, but also that one can "find one's bearings in the cosmos" "on the basis of inquiry" (not for example on the basis of traditions or religion). To put this "discovery or invention" into the traditional terminology, what is "by nature" is contrasted to what is "by convention". The concept of nature taken this far remains a strong tradition in modern western thinking. Science, according to Strauss' commentary of Western history is the contemplation of nature, while technology was or is an attempt to imitate it. [4]

Leo Strauss Classical philosophy specialist and father of neoconservativism

Leo Strauss was a German-American political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. Born in Germany to Jewish parents, Strauss later emigrated from Germany to the United States. He spent much of his career as a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, where he taught several generations of students and published fifteen books.

Science systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge

Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

Technology making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization

Technology is the collection of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, and the like, or it can be embedded in machines to allow for operation without detailed knowledge of their workings. Systems applying technology by taking an input, changing it according to the system's use, and then producing an outcome are referred to as technology systems or technological systems.

Going further, the philosophical concept of nature or natures as a special type of causation - for example that the way particular humans are is partly caused by something called "human nature" is an essential step towards Aristotle's teaching concerning causation, which became standard in all Western philosophy until the arrival of modern science.

Depiction of Aristotle Aristotle.jpg
Depiction of Aristotle

Whether it was intended or not, Aristotle's inquiries into this subject were long felt to have resolved the discussion about nature in favor of one solution. In this account, there are four different types of cause:

The formal and final cause are an essential part of Aristotle's "Metaphysics" - his attempt to go beyond nature and explain nature itself. In practice they imply a human-like consciousness involved in the causation of all things, even things which are not man-made. Nature itself is attributed with having aims. [6]

The artificial, like the conventional therefore, is within this branch of Western thought, traditionally contrasted with the natural. Technology was contrasted with science, as mentioned above. And another essential aspect to this understanding of causation was the distinction between the accidental properties of a thing and the substance - another distinction which has lost favor in the modern era, after having long been widely accepted in medieval Europe.

To describe it another way, Aristotle treated organisms and other natural wholes as existing at a higher level than mere matter in motion. Aristotle's argument for formal and final causes is related to a doctrine about how it is possible that people know things: "If nothing exists apart from individual things, nothing will be intelligible; everything will be sensible, and there will be no knowledge of anything—unless it be maintained that sense-perception is knowledge". [7] Those philosophers who disagree with this reasoning therefore also see knowledge differently from Aristotle.

Aristotle then, described nature or natures as follows, in a way quite different from modern science...

"Nature" means:
(a) in one sense, the genesis of growing things — as would be suggested by pronouncing the υ of φύσις [8] long—and
(b) in another, that immanent thing from which a growing thing first begins to grow.
(c) The source from which the primary motion in every natural object is induced in that object as such. All things are said to grow which gain increase through something else by contact and organic unity (or adhesion, as in the case of embryos). Organic unity differs from contact; for in the latter case there need be nothing except contact, but in both the things which form an organic unity there is some one and the same thing which produces, instead of mere contact, a unity which is organic, continuous and quantitative (but not qualitative). Again, "nature" means
(d) the primary stuff, shapeless and unchangeable from its own potency, of which any natural object consists or from which it is produced; e.g., bronze is called the "nature" of a statue and of bronze articles, and wood that of wooden ones, and similarly in all other cases. For each article consists of these "natures," the primary material persisting. It is in this sense that men call the elements of natural objects the "nature," some calling it fire, others earth or air or water, others something else similar, others some of these, and others all of them. Again in another sense "nature" means
(e) the substance of natural objects; as in the case of those who say that the "nature" is the primary composition of a thing, or as Empedocles says: Of nothing that exists is there nature, but only mixture and separation of what has been mixed; nature is but a name given to these by men. Hence as regards those things which exist or are produced by nature, although that from which they naturally are produced or exist is already present, we say that they have not their nature yet unless they have their form and shape. That which comprises both of these exists by nature; e.g. animals and their parts. And nature is both the primary matter (and this in two senses: either primary in relation to the thing, or primary in general; e.g., in bronze articles the primary matter in relation to those articles is bronze, but in general it is perhaps water—that is if all things which can be melted are water) and the form or essence, i.e. the end of the process, of generation. Indeed from this sense of "nature," by an extension of meaning, every essence in general is called "nature," because the nature of anything is a kind of essence. From what has been said, then, the primary and proper sense of "nature" is the essence of those things which contain in themselves as such a source of motion; for the matter is called "nature" because it is capable of receiving the nature, and the processes of generation and growth are called "nature" because they are motions derived from it. And nature in this sense is the source of motion in natural objects, which is somehow inherent in them, either potentially or actually.

Metaphysics 1014b-1015a, translated by Hugh Tredennick, emphasis added. [lower-alpha 1]

It has been argued, as will be explained below, that this type of theory represented an oversimplifying diversion from the debates within Classical philosophy, possibly even that Aristotle saw it as a simplification or summary of the debates himself. But in any case the theory of the four causes became a standard part of any advanced education in the Middle Ages.

In Eastern philosophy

Indian philosophy

Jain philosophy attempts to explain the rationale of being and existence, the nature of the Universe and its constituents, the nature of bondage and the means to achieve liberation. [9] Jainism strongly upholds the individualistic nature of soul and personal responsibility for one's decisions; and that self-reliance and individual efforts alone are responsible for one's liberation. [10]

Ajñana was a Śramaṇa school of radical Indian skepticism and a rival of early Buddhism and Jainism. They held that it was impossible to obtain knowledge of metaphysical nature or ascertain the truth value of philosophical propositions; [11] and even if knowledge was possible, it was useless and disadvantageous for final salvation. They were seen as sophists who specialized in refutation without propagating any positive doctrine of their own. Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa (fl. c. 800), author of the skeptical work entitled Tattvopaplavasiṃha ("The Lion that Devours All Categories"/"The Upsetting of All Principles"), has been seen as an important Ajñana philosopher. [12]

In the Chandogya Upanishad , Aruni asks metaphysical questions concerning the nature of reality and truth, observes constant change, and asks if there is something that is eternal and unchanging. From these questions, embedded in a dialogue with his son, he presents the concept of Ātman (soul, Self) and universal Self. [13] [14]

The Ashtavakra Gita , credited to Aṣṭāvakra, examines the metaphysical nature of existence and the meaning of individual freedom, presenting its thesis that there is only one Supreme Reality (Brahman), the entirety of universe is oneness and manifestation of this reality, everything is interconnected, all Self (Atman, soul) are part of that one, and that individual freedom is not the end point but a given, a starting point, innate.. [15]

The first book of Yoga Vasistha , attributed to Valmiki, presents Rama's frustration with the nature of life, human suffering and disdain for the world. [16] The second describes, through the character of Rama, the desire for liberation and the nature of those who seek such liberation. [16] The fourth describes the nature of world and many non-dualism ideas with numerous stories. [16] [17] It emphasizes free will and human creative power. [16] [18]

Ancient Mīmāṃsā's central concern was epistemology ( pramana ), that is what are the reliable means to knowledge. It debated not only "how does man ever learn or know, whatever he knows", but also whether the nature of all knowledge is inherently circular, whether those such as foundationalists who critique the validity of any "justified beliefs" and knowledge system make flawed presumptions of the very premises they critique, and how to correctly interpret and avoid incorrectly interpreting dharma texts such as the Vedas. [19] To Mīmānsā scholars, the nature of non-empirical knowledge and human means to it are such that one can never demonstrate certainty, one can only falsify knowledge claims, in some cases. [19]

Buddhist philosophy's main concern is soteriological, defined as freedom from dukkha (unease). [20] Because ignorance to the true nature of things is considered one of the roots of suffering, Buddhist thinkers concerned themselves with philosophical questions related to epistemology and the use of reason. [21] Dukkha can be translated as "incapable of satisfying," [22] "the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena"; or "painful." [23] [24] [24] Prajñā is insight or knowledge of the true nature of existence. The Buddhist tradition regards ignorance (avidyā), a fundamental ignorance, misunderstanding or mis-perception of the nature of reality, as one of the basic causes of dukkha and samsara . By overcoming ignorance or misunderstanding one is enlightened and liberated. This overcoming includes awakening to impermanence and the non-self nature of reality, [25] [26] and this develops dispassion for the objects of clinging, and liberates a being from dukkha and saṃsāra. [27] [28] Pratītyasamutpāda , also called "dependent arising, or dependent origination", is the Buddhist theory to explain the nature and relations of being, becoming, existence and ultimate reality. Buddhism asserts that there is nothing independent, except the state of nirvana. [29] All physical and mental states depend on and arise from other pre-existing states, and in turn from them arise other dependent states while they cease. [30]

East Asian philosophies

Confucianism considers the ordinary activities of human life—and especially human relationships—as a manifestation of the sacred, [31] because they are the expression of humanity's moral nature (xìng 性), which has a transcendent anchorage in Heaven (Tiān 天) and unfolds through an appropriate respect for the spirits or gods ( shén ) of the world. [32] Tiān (天), a key concept in Chinese thought, refers to the God of Heaven, the northern culmen of the skies and its spinning stars, [33] earthly nature and its laws which come from Heaven, to "Heaven and Earth" (that is, "all things"), and to the awe-inspiring forces beyond human control. [34] Confucius used the term in a mystical way. [35] It is similar to what Taoists meant by Dao : "the way things are" or "the regularities of the world", [34] which Stephan Feuchtwang equates with the ancient Greek concept of physis , "nature" as the generation and regenerations of things and of the moral order. [36] Feuchtwang explains that the difference between Confucianism and Taoism primarily lies in the fact that the former focuses on the realisation of the starry order of Heaven in human society, while the latter on the contemplation of the Dao which spontaneously arises in nature. [36]

Modern science and laws of nature: trying to avoid metaphysics

A Renaissance imagined representation of Democritus, the laughing philosopher, by Agostino Carracci Democritus by Agostino Carracci.jpg
A Renaissance imagined representation of Democritus, the laughing philosopher, by Agostino Carracci

In contrast, Modern Science took its distinctive turn with Francis Bacon, who rejected the four distinct causes, and saw Aristotle as someone who "did proceed in such a spirit of difference and contradiction towards all antiquity: undertaking not only to frame new words of science at pleasure, but to confound and extinguish all ancient wisdom". He felt that lesser known Greek philosophers such as Democritus "who did not suppose a mind or reason in the frame of things", have been arrogantly dismissed because of Aristotelianism leading to a situation in his time wherein "the search of the physical causes hath been neglected, and passed in silence". [37]

And so Bacon advised...

Physic doth make inquiry, and take consideration of the same natures : but how? Only as to the material and efficient causes of them, and not as to the forms. For example; if the cause of whiteness in snow or froth be inquired, and it be rendered thus, that the subtile intermixture of air and water is the cause, it is well rendered ; but, nevertheless, is this the form of whiteness? No; but it is the efficient, which is ever but vehiculum formæ. This part of metaphysique I do not find laboured and performed...

Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning II.VII.6
Francis Bacon Francis Bacon.jpg
Francis Bacon

In his Novum Organum Bacon argued that the only forms or natures we should hypothesize are the "simple" (as opposed to compound) ones such as the ways in which heat, movement, etc. work. For example, in aphorism 51 he writes:

51. The human understanding is, by its own nature, prone to abstraction, and supposes that which is fluctuating to be fixed. But it is better to dissect than abstract nature; such was the method employed by the school of Democritus, which made greater progress in penetrating nature than the rest. It is best to consider matter, its conformation, and the changes of that conformation, its own action, and the law of this action or motion, for forms are a mere fiction of the human mind, unless you will call the laws of action by that name.

Following Bacon's advice, the scientific search for the formal cause of things is now replaced by the search for "laws of nature" or "laws of physics" in all scientific thinking. To use Aristotle's well-known terminology these are descriptions of efficient cause, and not formal cause or final cause. It means modern science limits its hypothesizing about non-physical things to the assumption that there are regularities to the ways of all things which do not change.

These general laws, in other words, replace thinking about specific "laws", for example "human nature". In modern science, human nature is part of the same general scheme of cause and effect, obeying the same general laws, as all other things. The above-mentioned difference between accidental and substantial properties, and indeed knowledge and opinion, also disappear within this new approach that aimed to avoid metaphysics.

As Bacon knew, the term "laws of nature" was one taken from medieval Aristotelianism. St Thomas of Aquinas for example, defined law so that nature really was legislated to consciously achieve aims, like human law: "an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community and promulgated". [38] In contrast, roughly contemporary with Bacon, Hugo Grotius described the law of nature as "a rule that [can] be deduced from fixed principles by a sure process of reasoning". [39] And later still, Montesquieu was even further from the original legal metaphor, describing laws vaguely as "the necessary relations deriving from the nature of things". [40]

Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes (portrait).jpg
Thomas Hobbes

One of the most important implementors of Bacon's proposal was Thomas Hobbes, whose remarks concerning nature are particularly well-known. His most famous work, Leviathan , opens with the word "Nature" and then parenthetically defines it as "the art whereby God hath made and governes the world". Despite this pious description, he follows a Baconian approach. Following his contemporary, Descartes, Hobbes describes life itself as mechanical, caused in the same way as clockwork:

For seeing life is but a motion of Limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principall part within; why may we not say, that all Automata (Engines that move themselves by springs and wheeles as doth a watch) have an artificiall life?

On this basis, already being established in natural science in his lifetime, Hobbes sought to discuss politics and human life in terms of "laws of nature". But in the new modern approach of Bacon and Hobbes, and before them Machiavelli (who however never clothed his criticism of the Aristotelian approach in medieval terms like "laws of nature"), [41] such laws of nature are quite different to human laws: they no longer imply any sense of better or worse, but simply how things really are, and, when in reference to laws of human nature, what sorts of human behavior can be most relied upon.

"Late modern" nature

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: a civilized man, but a person who questioned whether civilization was according to human nature. Rousseau.jpg
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: a civilized man, but a person who questioned whether civilization was according to human nature.

Having disconnected the term "law of nature" from the original medieval metaphor of human-made law, the term "law of nature" is now used less than in early modern times.

To take the critical example of human nature, as discussed in ethics and politics, once early modern philosophers such as Hobbes had described human nature as whatever you could expect from a mechanism called a human, the point of speaking of human nature became problematic in some contexts.

In the late 18th century, Rousseau took a critical step in his Second Discourse, reasoning that human nature as we know it, rational, and with language, and so on, is a result of historical accidents, and the specific up-bringing of an individual. The consequences of this line of reasoning were to be enormous. It was all about the question of nature. In effect it was being claimed that human nature, one of the most important types of nature in Aristotelian thinking, did not exist as it had been understood to exist.

The survival of metaphysics

The approach of modern science, like the approach of Aristotelianism, is apparently not universally accepted by all people who accept the concept of nature as a reality which we can pursue with reason.

Bacon and other opponents of Metaphysics claim that all attempts to go beyond nature are bound to fall into the same errors, but Metaphysicians themselves see differences between different approaches.

Immanuel Kant for example, expressed the need for a Metaphysics in quite similar terms to Aristotle.

...though we cannot know these objects as things in themselves, we must yet be in a position at least to think them as things in themselves; otherwise we should be landed in the absurd conclusion that there can be appearance without anything that appears.

Critique of Pure Reason pp. Bxxvi-xxvii

As in Aristotelianism then, Kantianism claims that the human mind must itself have characteristics which are beyond nature, metaphysical, in some way. Specifically, Kant argued that the human mind comes ready-made with a priori programming, so to speak, which allows it to make sense of nature.

The study of nature without metaphysics

Authors from Nietzsche to Richard Rorty have claimed that science, the study of nature, can and should exist without metaphysics. But this claim has always been controversial. Authors like Bacon and Hume never denied that their use of the word "nature" implied metaphysics, but tried to follow Machiavelli's approach of talking about what works, instead of claiming to understand what seems impossible to understand.

See also

Notes

  1. Greek, with emphasis added as a guide: φύσις λέγεται ἕνα μὲν τρόπον ἡ τῶν φυομένων γένεσις, οἷον εἴ τις ἐπεκτείνας λέγοι τὸ υ, ἕνα δὲ ἐξ οὗ φύεται πρώτου τὸ φυόμενον ἐνυπάρχοντος: ἔτι ὅθεν ἡ κίνησις ἡ πρώτη ἐν ἑκάστῳ τῶν φύσει ὄντων ἐν αὐτῷ ᾗ αὐτὸ [20] ὑπάρχει: φύεσθαι δὲ λέγεται ὅσα αὔξησιν ἔχει δι᾽ ἑτέρου τῷ ἅπτεσθαι καὶ συμπεφυκέναι ἢ προσπεφυκέναι ὥσπερ τὰ ἔμβρυα: διαφέρει δὲ σύμφυσις ἁφῆς, ἔνθα μὲν γὰρ οὐδὲν παρὰ τὴν ἁφὴν ἕτερον ἀνάγκη εἶναι, ἐν δὲ τοῖς συμπεφυκόσιν ἔστι τι ἓν τὸ αὐτὸ ἐν ἀμφοῖν ὃ ποιεῖ ἀντὶ τοῦ [25] ἅπτεσθαι συμπεφυκέναι καὶ εἶναι ἓν κατὰ τὸ συνεχὲς καὶ ποσόν, ἀλλὰ μὴ κατὰ τὸ ποιόν. ἔτι δὲ φύσις λέγεται ἐξ οὗ πρώτου ἢ ἔστιν ἢ γίγνεταί τι τῶν φύσει ὄντων, ἀρρυθμίστου ὄντος καὶ ἀμεταβλήτου ἐκ τῆς δυνάμεως τῆς αὑτοῦ, οἷον ἀνδριάντος καὶ τῶν σκευῶν τῶν χαλκῶν ὁ χαλκὸς ἡ [30] φύσις λέγεται, τῶν δὲ ξυλίνων ξύλον: ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων: ἐκ τούτων γάρ ἐστιν ἕκαστον διασωζομένης τῆς πρώτης ὕλης: τοῦτον γὰρ τὸν τρόπον καὶ τῶν φύσει ὄντων τὰ στοιχεῖά φασιν εἶναι φύσιν, οἱ μὲν πῦρ οἱ δὲ γῆν οἱ δ᾽ ἀέρα οἱ δ᾽ ὕδωρ οἱ δ᾽ ἄλλο τι τοιοῦτον λέγοντες, οἱ δ᾽ [35] ἔνια τούτων οἱ δὲ πάντα ταῦτα. ἔτι δ᾽ ἄλλον τρόπον λέγεται ἡ φύσις ἡ τῶν φύσει ὄντων οὐσία, οἷον οἱ λέγοντες τὴν φύσιν εἶναι τὴν πρώτην σύνθεσιν, ἢ ὥσπερ Ἐμπεδοκλῆς λέγει ὅτι "φύσις οὐδενὸς ἔστιν ἐόντων, ἀλλὰ μόνον μῖξίς τε διάλλαξίς τε μιγέντων ἔστι, φύσις δ᾽ ἐπὶ τοῖς ὀνομάζεται ἀνθρώποισιν. "Empedocles Fr. 8 διὸ καὶ ὅσα φύσει ἔστιν ἢ γίγνεται, ἤδη ὑπάρχοντος ἐξ οὗ πέφυκε γίγνεσθαι ἢ εἶναι, οὔπω φαμὲν [5] τὴν φύσιν ἔχειν ἐὰν μὴ ἔχῃ τὸ εἶδος καὶ τὴν μορφήν. φύσει μὲν οὖν τὸ ἐξ ἀμφοτέρων τούτων ἐστίν, οἷον τὰ ζῷα καὶ τὰ μόρια αὐτῶν: φύσις δὲ ἥ τε πρώτη ὕλη (καὶ αὕτη διχῶς, ἢ ἡ πρὸς αὐτὸ πρώτη ἢ ἡ ὅλως πρώτη, οἷον τῶν χαλκῶν ἔργων πρὸς αὐτὰ μὲν πρῶτος ὁ χαλκός, ὅλως δ᾽ [10] ἴσως ὕδωρ, εἰ πάντα τὰ τηκτὰ ὕδωρ) καὶ τὸ εἶδος καὶ ἡ οὐσία: τοῦτο δ᾽ ἐστὶ τὸ τέλος τῆς γενέσεως. μεταφορᾷ δ᾽ ἤδη καὶ ὅλως πᾶσα οὐσία φύσις λέγεται διὰ ταύτην, ὅτι καὶ ἡ φύσις οὐσία τίς ἐστιν. ἐκ δὴ τῶν εἰρημένων ἡ πρώτη φύσις καὶ κυρίως λεγομένη ἐστὶν ἡ οὐσία ἡ τῶν ἐχόντων [15] ἀρχὴν κινήσεως ἐν αὑτοῖς ᾗ αὐτά: ἡ γὰρ ὕλη τῷ ταύτης δεκτικὴ εἶναι λέγεται φύσις, καὶ αἱ γενέσεις καὶ τὸ φύεσθαι τῷ ἀπὸ ταύτης εἶναι κινήσεις. καὶ ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κινήσεως τῶν φύσει ὄντων αὕτη ἐστίν, ἐνυπάρχουσά πως ἢ δυνάμει ἢ ἐντελεχείᾳ.

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References

  1. Aristotle Physics 192b21
  2. Aristotle Physics 193b21
  3. "Progress or Return" in An Introduction to Political Philosophy: Ten Essays by Leo Strauss. (Expanded version of Political Philosophy: Six Essays by Leo Strauss, 1975.) Ed. Hilail Gilden. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1989.
  4. Strauss and Cropsey eds. History of Political Philosophy, Third edition, p.209.
  5. Metaphysics 995b, translated by Hugh Tredennick. Greek: μάλιστα δὲ ζητητέον καὶ πραγματευτέον πότερον ἔστι τι παρὰ τὴν ὕλην αἴτιον καθ᾽ αὑτὸ ἢ οὔ
  6. As for example Aristotle Politics 1252b.1: "Thus the female and the slave are by nature distinct (for nature makes nothing as the cutlers make the Delphic knife, in a niggardly way, but one thing for one purpose; for so each tool will be turned out in the finest perfection, if it serves not many uses but one"
  7. Metaphysics 999b, translated by Hugh Tredennick. Greek: εἰ μὲν οὖν μηδέν ἐστι παρὰ τὰ καθ᾽ ἕκαστα, οὐθὲν ἂν εἴη νοητὸν ἀλλὰ πάντα αἰσθητὰ καὶ ἐπιστήμη οὐδενός, εἰ μή τις εἶναι λέγει τὴν αἴσθησιν ἐπιστήμην.
  8. Phusis is the Greek word for Nature, and Aristotle is drawing attention to the similarity it has to the verb used to describe natural growth in a plant, phusei. Indeed the first use of the word involves a plant: ὣς ἄρα φωνήσας πόρε φάρμακον ἀργεϊφόντης ἐκ γαίης ἐρύσας, καί μοι φύσιν αὐτοῦ ἔδειξε. "So saying, Argeiphontes [=Hermes] gave me the herb, drawing it from the ground, and showed me its nature." Odyssey 10.302-3 (ed. A.T. Murray).
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  18. Surendranath Dasgupta, A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 2, Cambridge University Press, ISBN   978-0521047791, pages 252-253
  19. 1 2 Daniel Arnold (2001). "Of Intrinsic Validity: A Study on the Relevance of Pūrva Mīmāṃsā". Philosophy East and West. University of Hawai'i Press. 51 (1): 27–32. doi:10.1353/pew.2001.0002. JSTOR   1400034.
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  21. Siderits, Mark. Buddhism as philosophy, 2007, p. 6
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  29. Harvey, Peter (1990), An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices, Cambridge University Press, p. 54, ISBN   978-0521313339
  30. John Bowker, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (1997), Oxford University Press, ISBN   0-19-213965-7
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  34. 1 2 Hagen, Kurtis. "Confucian Key Terms – Tian 天". State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Archived from the original on 3 December 2014.
  35. Hsu, Promise (16 November 2014). "The Civil Theology of Confucius' "Tian" Symbol". Voegelin View.
  36. 1 2 Feuchtwang, Stephan (2016), "Chinese religions", in Woodhead, Linda; Kawanami, Hiroko; Partridge, Christopher H. (eds.), Religions in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformations (3nd ed.), London: Routledge, p. 146, ISBN   978-1-317-43960-8
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  38. Summa Theologiae I-II Q90, A4
  39. On the Law of War and Peace , Proleg. 40
  40. The Spirit of the Laws, opening lines
  41. The Prince 15:- "...since my intent is to write something useful to whoever understands it, it has appeared to me more fitting to go directly to the effectual truth of the thing than to the imagination of it. And many have imagined republics and principalities that have never been seen or known to exist in truth; for it is so far from how one lives to how one should live that he who lets go of what is done for what should be done learns his ruin rather than his preservation. For a man who wants to make a profession of good in all regards must come to ruin among so many who are not good. Hence it is necessary to a prince, if he wants to maintain himself, to learn to be able not to be good, and to use this and not use it according to necessity."

Further reading