-Aristotle: the reason many things are alike are because they have the same form. Very well, but you also say there are many like forms: John’s soul, Mary’s soul…
-God and the universe are distinct, for God is not material. God and the universe are not distinct, for he exists in no other place. Since each soul has its own body, the same reasoning applies. So why not form and matter generally?
-Dekoninck: for all we know, the non-living world (and thus even the living so far as it is conditioned by it or studied by physics and chemistry) might be ontologically one thing. But this opens the possibility that Aristotle’s Categories cannot serve as a guide in either physics or metaphysics, which is exactly how Aristotle himself takes it. He’s quite convinced that what is not said of nor present in is a description of a fundamental ontological reality. If this is not the case, and ontological monism is possible, then Aristotle’s distinct substances are accidental divisions of a fundamental substance. This seems to be what Plato thought they were (Timaeus makes all physical reality various warpings of some underlying screen) and it seems to be how we want to see them. What scientist is content with irreducible dualities in the physical realm? Are any of us?
-St. Thomas, in explaining the knowledge of Christ, gives an account of what a complete human science would be: a complete science for every sensible species. This would have to be every ontologically distinct sensible species. So how many is that, and how do we answer the question?
-All agree science is about the universal as opposed to this X existing now. But then science is about X throughout history. History – with all of its messiness, particularity, irrationality and facticity-as-opposed-to-truth – must enter into the scientific universal. Into essence.
– The non-living world follows a logic of unification. There is an element of this in the study of the living too (so far as the living is conditioned by the merely physical or descending from a single ancestor) but it also goes in the reverse. Advances in biology must also multiply the Kingdoms.
-Dialectic tends to unity even while it requires division – a dialectical opinion is essentially one side of a contradiction. Dialectic thus tends to an essentially unattainable goal. If you like, it tends to the impossible and therefore to nothing at all. It is not clear what we should do about this in light of Aristotle’s vary accurate accounts of agents only being able to tend to defined ends (is it even coherent to tend-to-nothing? You can’t remove something to tend to and then proceed to tend to it.). On the one hand, inquiry and science do not advance by physical motion and immanent act are complete at every moment. But there is some sort of perfection involved in the advance of knowledge.
– If all our knowledge is scientific, then there is necessarily an epistemic gap, even if all portions of it can be illuminated. Call it the epistemic Hilbert hotel. If a gap is necessary, what do we make of God-in-the-gaps?
-The gap is finite, so far as we tend to something; it is unbounded to far as we cannot attain it by the nature of our own powers. We are tending to a nature above ourselves.