Post Aristotle

Now got through Socrates, Plato and Aristotle in Gottlieb’s book – by far the bulk. The remainder up to 1650 is packed into relatively few pages – as many others have mentioned (see note below). Gottlieb is very defensive of his Greek heros, and to be fair, I’ve learned a lot – makes a change from all those books that just seem to re-inforce what by now seems blindingly obvious – but that’s another story.

Actually, and predictably I guess, the post-socratic blind turn is not actually due to Plato and Aristotle themselves, but due to the way their ideas were picked-up and exploited. It’s memetic latching again isn’t it. The church latched conveniently onto the arguments for divine purposeful cause behind the workings of the world, natural science latched onto logic, cos it’s black and white – easy to understand metaphors and easy to apply to objective argument and proof. Holistic questions of balance and values ? Plato and particularly Aristotle had Socratic wisdom too – but much too difficult to apply. Let’s just ignore that stuff for a millenium or two.

Note : Gottlieb himself comments on the fact he has only 100 pages covering 550 to 1550 AD, and points out that this is quite common and unsurprising in histories of Western Philosophy – he cites Hegel in particular.

Am I right ?
Just bought Eco’s “The Name of the Rose” on the strength of Gottlieb’s Aristotle.

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