Posted on: December 1st, 2015 Crucial Vocab

contemplation. (theoria) “The being-at-work of the intellect, a thinking that is like seeing, complete at every instant. In contemplation a human being is most fully active, in that the power underlying all thinking and perceiving has emerged, but also most at rest in what is knowable. Contemplation is discussed in Metaphysics (1072b 14-30) and in On the Soul (408b 1-32, 430a 10-25); in the Nicomachean Ethics it is painstakingly uncovered as the most complete human happiness (1177b 19 – 1179a 30). The relation between contemplation and the virtues of character is best explained in the Physics (247b 1 – 248a 6); to come to rest in contemplation, a human being must overcome the disorder of the soul native to it from childhood.” (Joe Sachs, tr. Nichomachean Ethics, 203.)

mysticism. Traditionally, for example in the context of Western theology, the idea or conviction that God wants us to experience God, that the “access” one can have of God has to do, not primarily with knowledge, not primarily with mere emotion, but with experience.

science. Understood historically or traditionally (that is, prior to folks like Francis Bacon and Kepler), science (Latin scientia; Greek epistêmê) means knowledge. It was however, the “best” kind of knowledge: not only is it true, but (as opposed to mere opinion, even true opinion) it is also rationally grounded. This kind of knowledge works according to the canons of logic, paradigmatically articulated in Aristotle’s logical works (the Organon). Logic includes a principled understanding of how genera and species work and are used in predication and presuppose, for example, systematic use of definitions of terms. For Aristotle (and, following his lead, Thomas Aquinas) science is a body of thought or an activity rooted in the systems of investigation which include the “logos” of nature (Aristotle’s Physics), what we could call “natural philosophy,” and also metaphysics, what Aristotle calls “first philosophy.” Mathematical principles are incorporated into both, and for Aristotle and Thomas mathematics is a paradigm example of science, working as it does with first principles, axioms, theorems, etc. (all outlined in the Organon). Aristotle’s ethical works (including the Politics) are not considered to be science, but are instead examples of practical wisdom (even if they rely upon scientific knowledge, such as some material in Aristotle’s _On the Soul_, which he considers to be part of natural philosophy).

protreptic (adj.). [Note: the following is taken from the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary.]

As noun < post-classical Latin protrepticus exhortation, hortatory discourse (4th cent.) < ancient Greek προτρεπτικός, the title of works by Aristotle, Epicurus and others, use as noun (short for προτρεπτικὸς λόγος protreptic discourse) of masculine of προτρεπτικός, adjective (see below).

As adjective < post-classical Latin protrepticus (4th cent.) or its etymon ancient Greek προτρεπτικός hortatory, instructive < προ- pro- prefix2 + Hellenistic Greek τρεπτικός causing change in (although this is apparently first attested later) < ancient Greek τρεπτός liable to be turned or changed (< τρέπειν to turn, direct the course of (see trope n.) + -τός, suffix forming verbal adjectives) + -ικός -ic suffix.

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