Nature

Philosophy Book Notes

Books used 

Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford)

Marcus Aurelius - Meditation (Oxford)

2 Notes selected

Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford)

1 Notes selected

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea - Yukio Mishima

1 Notes selected

Aristotle - Metaphysics (Oxford)

1 Notes selected

Aristotle - On Generation and Corruption

1 Notes selected

Aristotle Politics (Oxford)

1 Notes selected

6 Notes selected

Nature

The Formula

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So that this divine foreknowledge does not change the nature and property of things; it simply sees things present to it exactly as they will happen at some time as future events. It makes no confused judgements of things, but with one glance of its mind distinguishes all that is to come to pass whether it is necessitated or not. Similarly you, when you see at the same time a man walking on the earth and the sun rising in the sky, although the two sights coincide yet you distinguish between them and judge the one to be willed and the other necessitated. In the same way the divine gaze looks down on all things without disturbing their nature; to Him they are present things, but under the condition of time they are future things. And so it comes about that when God knows that something is going to occur and knows that no necessity to be is imposed upon it is not opinion, but rather knowledge founded upon truth. (Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy (Penguin) p.135)

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Now certain people deny to the soul or life-principles of human beings both of these requisites for being itself a thing, saying the principle of life is equilibrium (Empedocles) or complexity (Galen) or something similar. In this case, the life principle could neither subsist in its own right nor be a whole instance of some species or genus of substance, but would simply be a form of matter like all others. Yet this is already impossible for the life-principles of plants, the activities of which - like digestion and growth - must spring from a source transcending the physical-chemical reactions those activities employ as tools, as Aristotle shows. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.183)

A selection of notes to understand Nature. 

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He watched the sun sculpture a brace of tensed muscles in marvelous detail in the snow-white blocks of cloud piled above the offing. They were storm clouds all right, but not swollen enough for an evening squall. (The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea - Yukio Mishima p. 33)

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We call nature, in one sense, the coming to be of things that grow. All things are said to grow which gains enlargement through another thing by contact and assimilation or adhesion. (Aristotle Metaphysics Oxford  p. 32

 

Nature

A selection of notes to understand The Principles of life.

Principles of life

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And so the life-principle of a thing with understanding has to act on its own, with an activity peculiar to itself not shared with the body. And because activity flows from actuality, the understanding soul must possess an existence in and of itself, not dependent on the body. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.188)

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So there are three principles [or origins] of nature: matter, form, and lack of form; one, namely form, is where generation is going to, and the other two characterize where generation comes from. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.69)

Thus, matter, form, and lack of form, or potentiality and actuality, are the principles of all the categories- substance and the rest - but the matter of substance and of quantity, and their form and lack of form differ in genus and agree only proportionately: as the matter of quantity to quantity. However, a substance is also the cause of the other categories, so that substance’s principles are also principles for every other category. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.82)

Which are

 

Circle of Nature

A selection of notes to understand Circle of Nature.

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From the substance of the whole, as if from wax, universal nature molds first a little horse, and then, melting it down again, uses its material to make a little trace, and then a human being, and then something else again; and each of these has existed for only a very short time. But it is nothing terrible for acasket to be broken up, any more than it was for it to be put together. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.61)

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Carpenter or shoemaker would laugh at you if you criticized them because you could see in their workshop the shavings or parings from the items that they were working on. To be sure, they have somewhere where they can dispose of their scraps, while universal nature has nothing outside herself, but the extraordinary thing about nature’s craftsmanship is that having established her own limits, she transforms into herself everything within her that seems to be decaying and growing old and useless, and out of these very things creates other new things in their place so that it needs neither additional substance from outside nor any separate place for the disposal of decaying material. And thus she is well satisfied with her own space, her own material, and her own handicraft. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.79)

Democritus and Leucippus, postulate the “figures” and make “alteration” and coming-to-be result from them. They explain coming-to-be and passing-away by their “dissociation” and “association”, but “alteration” by their “grouping” and “position”. And since they thought that the “truth” lays in the appearance, and appearance is conflicting and infinitely many, they made the “figures” infinite in number. Hence-owing the change of the compound-the same thing seems different and conflicting to different people; it is “transposed” of a single constituent. For tragedy and comedy are both composed of the same latters. (Aristotle - On Generation and Corruption p.8)

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 So now we have shown nature to have three principles: matter, form, and lack of form; but these are still not enough for a generation to occur. For what potentially exists can’t bring itself to actualization: copper is potentially a statue, but can’t make itself into a statue: it needs a workman to draw the statue’s form out of potentiality into actuality. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.71)

What it is?

Nature

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Now there are four kinds of cause. Two of these - matter and form - are parts of the thing, of its essence; so any ascription to a subject made on their account will fall into the category that ascribes substance: as when we say that human beings are rational or have bodies. And goals don’t cause except through agents, for a goal counts as a cause in so far as it moves an agent. So we are left with agents as the only causes which can give rise to qualification of a subject by something outside. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.87)

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And since [the guitar player] who acts by will is more likely to deliberate than things that act by nature, we can argue a fortiori that natural agents can tend to goals without deliberating, were tending towards is simply having a natural bias towards something. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.72)

Generation and natural deliberation

The need for generation

Kinds of causes

Animals

A selection of notes to understand Animals.

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Animals are there for us. (Aristotle Politics Oxford p.23)

Aristotle proves a record of the first systematic and comprehensive study of animals. (Aristotle Stanford)

 It begins with perhaps the best-known passage in Aristotle’s biological works, a stirring and beautifully crafted encomium to the joy of studying animals, even the lowliest. An elegant introduction divides natural beings into those that are eternal and those that partake of generation and perishing, noting that there are attractions to study both: though access to information about the former is limited, he likens it to”... a chance, brief glimpse of the ones we love “ on the other hand the latter, perishable things “take the prize in respect of understanding because we know them more fully” and they are “ more of our own nature. (Aristotle Stanford)

Generation then is the first participation in the nutritive soul which is present in the hot, and life is the perpetuation of this. (Aristotle On the soul Oxford p.154)

 
 

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Text Version:

1 Nature

1.2 What it is?

2 Principles of life of human

2.1 Which are

3 Circle of Nature

3.1 The need for generation

3.2 Generation and natural deliberation

3.3 Kinds of causes

4 Animals

 

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1 Nature

He watched the sun sculpture a brace of tensed muscles in marvelous detail in the snow-white blocks of cloud piled above the offing. They were storm clouds all right, but not swollen enough for an evening squall. (The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea - Yukio Mishima p. 33)

1.2 What it is?

We call nature, in one sense, the coming to be of things that grow. All things are said to grow which gains enlargement through another thing by contact and assimilation or adhesion. (Aristotle Metaphysics Oxford  p. 32

Now certain people deny to the soul or life-principles of human beings both of these requisites for being itself a thing, saying the principle of life is equilibrium (Empedocles) or complexity (Galen) or something similar. In this case, the life principle could neither subsist in its own right nor be a whole instance of some species or genus of substance, but would simply be a form of matter like all others. Yet this is already impossible for the life-principles of plants, the activities of which - like digestion and growth - must spring from a source transcending the physical-chemical reactions those activities employ as tools, as Aristotle shows. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.183)

2 Principles of life of human

And so the life-principle of a thing with understanding has to act on its own, with an activity peculiar to itself not shared with the body. And because activity flows from actuality, the understanding soul must possess an existence in and of itself, not dependent on the body. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.188)

2.1 Which are

So there are three principles [or origins] of nature: matter, form, and lack of form; one, namely form, is where generation is going to, and the other two characterize where generation comes from. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.69)

Thus, matter, form, and lack of form, or potentiality and actuality, are the principles of all the categories- substance and the rest - but the matter of substance and of quantity, and their form and lack of form differ in genus and agree only proportionately: as the matter of quantity to quantity. However, a substance is also the cause of the other categories, so that substance’s principles are also principles for every other category. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.82)

3 Circle of Nature

Carpenter or shoemaker would laugh at you if you criticized them because you could see in their workshop the shavings or parings from the items that they were working on. To be sure, they have somewhere where they can dispose of their scraps, while universal nature has nothing outside herself, but the extraordinary thing about nature’s craftsmanship is that having established her own limits, she transforms into herself everything within her that seems to be decaying and growing old and useless, and out of these very things creates other new things in their place so that it needs neither additional substance from outside nor any separate place for the disposal of decaying material. And thus she is well satisfied with her own space, her own material, and her own handicraft. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.79)

From the substance of the whole, as if from wax, universal nature molds first a little horse, and then, melting it down again, uses its material to make a little trace, and then a human being, and then something else again; and each of these has existed for only a very short time. But it is nothing terrible for acasket to be broken up, any more than it was for it to be put together. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.61)

Democritus and Leucippus, postulate the “figures” and make “alteration” and coming-to-be result from them. They explain coming-to-be and passing-away by their “dissociation” and “association”, but “alteration” by their “grouping” and “position”. And since they thought that the “truth” lays in the appearance, and appearance is conflicting and infinitely many, they made the “figures” infinite in number. Hence-owing the change of the compound-the same thing seems different and conflicting to different people; it is “transposed” of a single constituent. For tragedy and comedy are both composed of the same latters. (Aristotle - On Generation and Corruption p.8)

3.1 The need for generation

 So now we have shown nature to have three principles: matter, form, and lack of form; but these are still not enough for a generation to occur. For what potentially exists can’t bring itself to actualization: copper is potentially a statue, but can’t make itself into a statue: it needs a workman to draw the statue’s form out of potentiality into actuality. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.71)

3.2 Generation and natural deliberation

And since [the guitar player] who acts by will is more likely to deliberate than things that act by nature, we can argue a fortiori that natural agents can tend to goals without deliberating, were tending towards is simply having a natural bias towards something. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.72)

3.3 Kinds of causes

Now there are four kinds of cause. Two of these - matter and form - are parts of the thing, of its essence; so any ascription to a subject made on their account will fall into the category that ascribes substance: as when we say that human beings are rational or have bodies. And goals don’t cause except through agents, for a goal counts as a cause in so far as it moves an agent. So we are left with agents as the only causes which can give rise to qualification of a subject by something outside. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.87)

4 Animals

Animals are there for us. (Aristotle Politics Oxford p.23)

Aristotle proves a record of the first systematic and comprehensive study of animals. (Aristotle Stanford)

 It begins with perhaps the best-known passage in Aristotle’s biological works, a stirring and beautifully crafted encomium to the joy of studying animals, even the lowliest. An elegant introduction divides natural beings into those that are eternal and those that partake of generation and perishing, noting that there are attractions to study both: though access to information about the former is limited, he likens it to”... a chance, brief glimpse of the ones we love “ on the other hand the latter, perishable things “take the prize in respect of understanding because we know them more fully” and they are “ more of our own nature. (Aristotle Stanford)

Generation then is the first participation in the nutritive soul which is present in the hot, and life is the perpetuation of this. (Aristotle On the soul Oxford p.154)

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