8/31/2019

Aristotle Versus the Aristotelians

"The truly hard-working character in Aristotle’s Revenge is a fellow named Ian, who haunts the book like a shadow, liberated from any concrete existence or accountability. Aristotel-ian is a strongly favored term here, but one also encounters Darwin-ian and Newton-ian. Whenever (which is to say often) Feser wishes to advance an argument without any specific citation, its provenance is laid at Ian’s ephemeral feet: “An Aristotelian would argue”; “According to Aristotelian thought”; and many other examples. This reader grew weary of Ian by the end. 

This problem arises from Feser’s evident belief that Aristotle is all-but-interchangeable with his Catholic interpreters. But as Armand Leroi notes in his wonderfully engaging The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science (2014), the scholastics’ “method was disputatious, their factions innumerable, their writings interminable and their conclusions stultifying. Much of it wasn’t very Aristotelian at all.”"