Posted on: April 19th, 2008 Cheauvet on Aristotle on the common genus of apparent opposites

Louis-Marie Cheauvet has a great point about Aristotle (which can be found in the latter’s Categories 11b-18; see Runes, Dagobert. Dictionary of Philosophy [Whitefish, MT: Kessinger, 2006], 67), when he (Chauvet) says,

… Aristotle … pointed out that … opposition … within a common genus … is on the same level : ‘contrary propositions are within the same genus.'” — Louis-Marie Chauvet, The Sacraments: The Word of God at the Mercy of the Body (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1997) xxi.

“Contrary propositions are,” often, anyway, “within the same genus.”

What this means, is that, according to Aristotle, so many times ethical or political or philosophical or theological positions which seem to be “at each others’ throats” are, in fact, “kissing cousins.” They have more in common than they have against each other.

Some examples I can think of: modern political conservatisim versus modern political liberalism; “Republican” and “Domocrat;” “Arminianism” versus “Calvinism;” resurrection-as-myth (and therefore false) versus resurrection-as-positivistic-fact (and therefore free of cultural or theological biases).

Perhaps all three macro examples that Alistair McIntyre gives (war, abortion, health care / education) in his discussion of emotivism in After Virtue would apply here.

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