Jean De Groot
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway #200, Las Vegas, NV 89169
9781930972834, $127.00, 468pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In "Aristotle's Empiricism: Experience and Mechanics in the 4th Century B.C.", Jean De Groot argues that an important part of Aristotle's natural philosophy has remained largely unexplored and shows that much of Aristotle's analysis of natural movement is influenced by the logic and concepts of mathematical mechanics that emerged from late Pythagorean thought. De Groot draws upon the pseudo-Aristotelian Physical Problems XVI to reconstruct the context of mechanics in Aristotle's time and to trace the development of kinematic thinking from Archytas to the Aristotelian Mechanics. She shows the influence of kinematic thinking on Aristotle's concept of power or potentiality, which she sees as having a physicalistic meaning originating in the problem of movement. De Groot identifies the source of early mechanical knowledge in kinesthetic awareness of mechanical advantage, showing the relation of Aristotle's empiricism to more ancient experience. "Aristotle's Empiricism: Experience and Mechanics in the 4th Century B.C." sheds light on the classical Greek understanding of imitation and device, as it questions both the claim that Aristotle's natural philosophy codifies opinions held by convention and the view that the cogency of his scientific ideas depends on metaphysics.
Critique: Empiricism is a theory which states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism and skepticism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory experience, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or traditions; empiricists may argue however that traditions (or customs) arise due to relations of previous sense experiences.
Aristotle (384-322 BCE) was a Greek philosopher and scientist born in Stagira of Chalkidiki, next to the Macedon kingdom in the north part of the Greek world, at 384 BCE. At eighteen, he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (c. 347 BCE). His writings cover many subjects including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government . His writings also constitute the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. Aristotle was arguably the first genuine scientist in history.
"Aristotle's Empiricism: Experience and Mechanics in the 4th Century B.C." by Jean De Groot (Associate Professor in the School of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America) is a truly impressive body of extraordinary scholarship that is erudite, exceptionally well organized, and is a critically important and highly recommended contribution to academic library Aristotelian Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists. Also very highly recommended id Professor DeGroot's early work, "Aristotle & Philoponus: Harvard Dissertations in the History of Science" (Dissertations-G, 9780824072513, $37.00, 183pp).