Plato's dualistic Theory of Forms was soon challenged by his greatest student, Aristotle. In his work Metaphysics, he outlined a totally different theory of reality (ontology) called TELEOLOGY.
"Teleology" comes from the Greek word for Purpose (Telos). The concept of Telos as an Inner Form is Aristotle's answer to Plato's concept of the Higher Form (Eidos). Take down these notes:
Aristotle bases this ontology on an epistemology (theory of knowledge) called Empiricism, which says knowledge comes through observation - in other words, seeing is believing. For Aristotle, "Truth resides in the world around us," not in another world. His ethical theory stems from this:
This means that everything in Nature has its own specific nature, defined by a unique function. For something to achieve Goodness, it doesn't have to achieve knowledge of higher forms; instead, it has to achieve excellence at its specific function. "Perfect Forms" are not in another world; they are innate possibilities for what a thing can be if it levels up its true nature to the greatest extent. For human beings, this means we should try to perfect our unique nature by using our human talents to contribute to human society in a way that lets us thrive. That way, we fulfill our potential and find true satisfaction - the satisfaction of having achieved success and thus become a Perfect Form.
We've now seen 4 distinct ethical perspectives, two each in Greece and Asia:
-BUDDHIST: There is no higher purpose, satisfaction is impossible in this life,
so we must overcome suffering by letting go of ignorant worldly desires.
-TAOIST: There is a higher purpose, satisfaction is possible in this life,
but only if we perfect ourselves by fully embracing the flow of nature in this world (Tao)
-PLATONIST: This is a higher purpose, but satisfaction is impossible in this life,
so we must seek it by letting go of this world and using Reason to reach the Eternal.
-ARISTOTELIAN: There is no higher purpose, satisfaction is possible in this world,
but only if we embrace and perfect our human nature through rational worldly actions.
Which perspective do you think is the "best" for human beings, and why? This requires you to explain your own axiology - your theory of what is good, which is the basis of any ethical or moral code. Compose a paragraph below, and remember you can converse with others for extra credit!