An Analysis of Aristotle’s Claim that “all men by their very nature feel the urge to know” Yassine Elfarri Name of Professor Word Count: 2,987 Introduction The Metaphysics of Aristotle starts with the statement, “All men by nature desire to know”.1 Aristotle sees in human beings a desire, a need, which pushes them toward knowledge…
He believes that human senses do not create wisdom, only experience. An individual remains unaware of the substance of a desire unless s/he discovers what truly fulfills it. Through its fulfillment individuals discover what is being desired by the desire. Hence Aristotle talks about the ‘delight’ individuals get from their senses. If the knowledge individuals desire for were only a way to achieve another objective, for instance, power, then the inherent desire would not be a yearning for knowledge.3 That human beings delight in the mere use of their senses is an indication that they do have a yearning for knowledge. This essay analyzes Aristotle’s argument that “All men by nature desire to know”. The analysis includes a discussion of the following questions: how does knowledge arise, and what characterizes scientific knowledge? How does Knowledge Arise? Aristotle classified knowledge into three main groups. He thinks that all ideas are either theoretical or productive or practical. Theoretical knowledge pursues neither action nor production, but only truth. It comprises everything that people now regards as science, and in the point of view of Aristotle it includes thus far the ultimate part of the entirety of human knowledge.4 On the other hand, productive sciences focus on the production like farming, engineering, and so on. And practical sciences focus on action, such as how a person has to behave or respond in various situations. The basic assumptions of Aristotle’s model of scientific knowledge start with the broad statement that every intellectual learning and teaching develop from prior knowledge.5 Aristotle believes that the two forms of initial knowledge are needed—knowledge that an object exists, and knowledge of what that object is. This prior knowledge may involve the existence of an object, or to the description of certain concepts.6 It should also be established that scientific knowledge cannot arise through sense-perception, and that scientific knowledge is developed by using the ‘syllogistic’ technique, which is how a person gives a scientific explanation of specific patterns and facts by demonstrating how they logically arise from specific first premises.7 For Aristotle, knowledge is not only having verified, factual belief. Knowledge is a concept quite precise for Aristotle. There are only certain statements that can be known. According to Aristotle, so as to know some statement P, first, P must be essentially correct or factual and, second, one should be capable of proving or demonstrating P from ideas that are essentially universal and factual. A ‘universal statement’ is defined as basically a statement about a group of objects, instead of a statement about a specific object.8 How Aristotle defines knowledge shows that statements such as “the speaker is a man” and “the boy is sad” are not bodies of knowledge, for only universal statements can be known, and the two abovementioned sample statements are specific, instead of universal statements. Aristotle would argue that a person ‘perceives’ that the speaker is a man, and a person ‘perceives’ that the boy is sad. Aristotle clearly explains that wisdom is the knowledge of causes and principles, because a person who has knowledge of such, also has ...
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