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Material Logic Ch. 7-8

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    Material Logic Ch. 7-8

    I am teaching Material Logic to 5 students in a small classical school and we are a little stumped on how to determine the species. I reread the section on Species in chapter 7 and still don't see how the below listed are all species. By the example given (John ins a man) and by looking at the Porphyrian tree I thought that Man was the only species being the only rational animal. I think I missed something...


    All of the following are given to be species in the answer key.

    Chapter 8 exerciser 23

    1. John is a man.
    16. The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and the Washington Post are newspapers.
    21.Zeus, Cronus, and Ares are Greek Gods.
    23. At the Back of the North Wind is a book.
    24. New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are cities.
    25. The platypus is a marsupial.

    Help!


    #2
    Morgan,

    All of these, with the exception of 25., are species. "John is a man" is the clearest of these. Man is a species--it cannot be more specific (the word "specific" comes from "species) than it is. The only thing more specific that man is individual men, and they are just individuals, not species or genus or anything else. "John is a man" is the most specific thing you can say about him without descending to the level of mere individuals.

    The same is basically true for 16. - 24. The plural subjects here are irrelevant. They are exactly the same kind of statement as "John is a man." What confuses some people is the plural subjects: "The Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, and the Washington Post." for your purposes, you can just consider the statement like a more simple statement: "The Chicago Tribute is a newspaper." The plurality of the subject terms does not change the statement's nature. The question, then, is whether "newspaper" is species or something else. It gets a little complicated when you get into man-made things, since they don't have intrinsic natures of their own, and so this means that, in the world of artificial things, the terms "species", "genus" etc. can be a little relative. But even in relative terms "newspaper" is pretty specific. If you try to divide newpapers into more specific things, about the only thing you end up with is individual newspapers. So "newspapers" really can't be anything but species.

    The same goes for 21., 23. and 24. Again, you could argue that "books" and "cities" could be divided into smaller species in relation to which "book" and "cities" would be genera (books could be divided into fiction and nonfiction, etc., and cities into burroughs and so forth), but that is really no different that dividing men into blondes, brunettes, and so on. These things are just accidental, not essential.

    So really all of those are pretty clearly species.

    With 25., one could easily argue that it is genus, rather than species, since "marsupial is not an individual (like "platypus"). It could be argued that "platypus" is a specific genera (a species in relation to "mammal", but a genus in relation to "platypus." The key should really give both as answers, maybe with a preference for genus.

    I will probably be putting a note in the book to this effect, since this is a common question I get. And don't worry, this is getting a little complicated. I have even thought of eliminating these lessons, but I think we learn something when we have to deal with them, so I will probably go with the note.

    Let me know if you have further questions on this.

    Comment


      #3
      I like these chapters, so I would encourage the notes rather than their exclusion. Thank you for the clarification. The idea that of species being the most specific you could be about the essential nature of something was helpful.

      Would it be true to say that the first three predicable (Species, Genus, and Difference) are dealing with classifications according to the intrinsic, essential natures of things; while Property and Accident are dealing with the extrinsic, non-essential natures of things? I'm trying to clarify and distinguish between what is part of a genus or species rather than an accented or property. One of my students gave the example of "The bear is a predator" as a genus. It seemed more like an accident- wholly inseparable, but I was having a hard time delineating the difference. I'm sure this comes from not having much experience with Material Logic. The example of "John is a biped" as an accident seems to indicate that the extrinsic nature, so we ended up thinking that predator was part of the intrinsic nature of the bear- so maybe a difference with in the species mamal?


      Also, one more questions about species. In number 23, in the above mentioned exercise, city is cited as a genus. I think that might be a typo considering your previous clarification. There also maybe a typo in the following exercise in #17. I think it might more accurately be a wholly separate accident?

      Finally, what other text could help me understand the concepts in material logic?

      Thanks again for your feed back.

      Comment


        #4
        Morgan, I forgot to subscribe to this thread, so I didn't see this last post until someone called my attention to it. I will get you an answer later today.

        Comment


          #5
          Morgan, my responses are in red below.

          Originally posted by Morgan Barclay View Post
          I like these chapters, so I would encourage the notes rather than their exclusion. Thank you for the clarification. The idea that of species being the most specific you could be about the essential nature of something was helpful.

          Would it be true to say that the first three predicable (Species, Genus, and Difference) are dealing with classifications according to the intrinsic, essential natures of things; while Property and Accident are dealing with the extrinsic, non-essential natures of things? Yes.

          I'm trying to clarify and distinguish between what is part of a genus or species rather than an accented or property. One of my students gave the example of "The bear is a predator" as a genus. It seemed more like an accident- wholly inseparable, but I was having a hard time delineating the difference. I'm sure this comes from not having much experience with Material Logic. The example of "John is a biped" as an accident seems to indicate that the extrinsic nature, so we ended up thinking that predator was part of the intrinsic nature of the bear- so maybe a difference with in the species mammal? This statement is a wholly inseparable accident, since it is shared by all others of its species but other species as well; all bears are predators but so are certain other animals. It cannot be a property because a property involves the exclusive possession of the trait.

          Also, one more questions about species. In number 23, in the above mentioned exercise, city is cited as a genus. I think that might be a typo considering your previous clarification. Yes. City should be a species.

          There also maybe a typo in the following exercise in #17. I think it might more accurately be a wholly separate accident? Yes, John reading should be wholly separable.

          Finally, what other text could help me understand the concepts in material logic? Much of this is in Aristotle's Physics and in his Categories, but not in a terribly readable form. Let me think a little more about where you might go for more on this.

          Thanks again for your feed back.

          Comment

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