Did Aristotle believe that everything he described had a purpose?

That is, do you think that Aristotelian philosophy is consistent with things like superfluous phenomena or extraneous philosophical conclusions? Or is Aristotelianism true just in case, everything it says applies to and finds expression in, some really existing manifestation?

To clarify, could there be a universe where Aristotle’s account of the mean is true but extraneous (perhaps because there is no possibility of falling into a vice)?

Or is Aristotle’s ethics true, to the contrary, just in case it corresponds to something actual? (e.g. his ethics is true if and only if, one can actually exceed or fall short of the mean)

Perhaps the future paradise will be at least one such universe where true things (you should never eat too much) are extraneous (since there are no vices in heaven)?

For Aristotle everything has a purpose, everything tends towards its good and had a final end, it doesn’t always achieve its final end but it always tends towards it.

What kind of superfluous phenomena were you thinking of?

On aristotles account there is always excess, deficency and mean in things. Where something exists that doesn’t have a mean( there is no such thing as the right amount of adultery or murder for example) such a case is itself an excess or deficiency of a virtue.

Aristolte delt only with the good as attainable by man in action and so we can’t really speak of pure aristotelian ethics being applied to the christian life or the life hereafter. The Catholic view would be that infused grace, and the theological virtues of faith, hope and love drag the mean above what is possible by human action alone to the realm of christian perfection in the beatific vision.

So I guess your answer to the question would be, “there is some possible universe that does not perfectly correspond to Aristotle’s laws”? (because you speak of heaven not being described by pure aristotelianism).

Note: “correspond” means that the state of that possible universe is exactly as aristotle described it: there are exactly three possible modes of morality (excess, mean, and defect), there are exactly three types of gov. etc.

Do you think that there could be a universe where there was no practically (as opposed to theoretically) possible defect but only excess and mean were possible ( in a virtue that does have a mean, excess, and defect)?

In light of a purely Aristotelian universe, excluding revelation, and relying solely on reason to guide us, i can’t think of a suitation which would meet the criteria you set out above. I can’t think of a situation where no deficit would exist where a virtue is possible.Aristotle does give a few examples which either have no english translation or are not named at all in the greek, merely described in terms of their characteristics, but I can’t think of them off hand I would need to dig out my Nicomachaen ethics for that.

As an aside: We are can only truly speak of this universe, but some thngs we can’t know directly, and for that we have revelation. The aristotelian system does have it’s limits, aristotle was after all a pagan, and lacked key christian concepts such as infused grace and evangelical love, and we can’t forget that the crucifixion would have been a failure of a potentially noble life on purely greek terms. but for someone who didn’t have the light of revelation to guide him(thats where St. Thomas comes in and works wonders IMO)he did remarkably well.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.