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Does it predict? Does it give us control over phenomena? Well, then, that’s a sign that it certainly was the right thing to accept, and maybe it was true. Aristotle analyzes dialectical reasoning from both sides, kind of what you might call a legitimate form of hypothetical reasoning and a more emotion-laden persuasive kind of arguing, which he doesn’t have a great deal of respect for, and which he and Plato attribute to the Sophists—that they taught their students how to win arguments by using whatever technique will sway the jury’s opinion, regardless of whether their client is guilty or innocent.
We may want to make Plato a very bold and radical intellectual, and he was, but he did not believe that knowledge of nature was possible. Knowledge of nature was not possible because, for Plato, nature was constantly changing because of the material dimension of reality, of actuality, of nature. The matter made it the case that nature was continually changing, and knowledge is changeless, so you cannot have knowledge of the changing. The only knowledge that is possible is knowledge whose object is the ideal form.
It followed that, for Plato, knowledge of nature was not possible because the natural was particular and continually changing. 4. For Plato, reality was accessible only to the mind and definitely not through the senses-based experiences of the body. 5. Aristotle accepted that form and matter were the ultimate categories of reality, but another of his metaphysical principles was that everything real was a combination of form and matter; thus, the real and the natural were one and the same. 6. Subsequently, this idea of Aristotle’s became a fundamental principle of modern science, namely, that in studying nature we are studying reality: that there is nothing real that is not natural.