World War II according to Wikipedia
The Wikipedia parody section is very funny.
Philosophy, Medieval Logic and the London Plumbing Crisis
Quick wit is a faculty of hitting upon the middle term instantaneously. It wouldThe syllogism that Aristotle gives right at the end is demonstration propter quid, reasoning from cause to effect.
be exemplified by a man who saw that the moon has her bright side always turned
towards the sun, and quickly grasped the cause of this, namely that she borrows
her light from him; or observed somebody in conversation with a man of wealth
and divined that he was borrowing money, or that the friendship of these people
sprang from a common enmity. In all these instances he has seen the major and
minor terms and then grasped the causes, the middle terms. Let A represent
‘bright side turned sunward’, B ‘lighted from the sun’, C the moon. Then B,
‘lighted from the sun’ is predicable of C, the moon, and A, ‘having her bright
side towards the source of her light’, is predicable of B. So A is predicable of
C through B. (Posterior Analytics I.34 89b 10)
The moon is lit by the sunBut the reasoning process he describes is demonstration 'quia', reasoning from effect to cause. The man sees that the the moon has her bright side always turned towards the sun, and reasons from this effect to the cause of it, namely sunlight.
Things lit by the sun have their bright side turned towards the sun
The moon has her bright side turned towards the sun
The moon has her bright side turned towards the sunAre either of these illustrative of scientific reasoning itself? Surely not. Whoever has grasped the truth of the minor premiss or 'middle' has already grasped why the effect follows from the cause. The 'reasoning' described by Aristotle does not describe the thought-process that solves the scientific puzzle. What is the thought process that leads to the discovery of the middle? Aristotle merely says it is 'quick wit'.
Things that have their bright side turned towards the sun are lit by the sun
The moon is lit by the sun
... he avoided that error of Early Modern empiricism that now seems most
objectionable: the attempt to construct our public world from purely subjective
experience. Ockham is a direct realist, relying on the causal relation between
concept and object to establish the concept's reference. In his view, what makes
belief cognition is the right causal relation between the knower and what is
known, not the possession of a sufficient justification for one's belief.
Aristotle defines science as a sure and evident knowledge obtained from
demonstrations. This is identical with St. Thomas's definition of science as the
knowledge of things from their causes. In this sense science comprises the
entire curriculum of university studies.
We could do far worse than to accept, for purposes of working on Wikipedia, that
"human knowledge" includes all different (significant, published) theories on
all different topics are parts of human knowledge. So we're committed to the
goal of representing human knowledge in that sense. This is, to be sure,
something like this is well-established sense of the word "knowledge," a sense
in which what is "known" has changed considerably over the years.
* On the actual science, I found this helpful. If this is correct, the propter quid syllogism should be as follows:
Sometimes that which is more known in reference to us is not more known
absolutely, as happens in natural sciences where the essences and powers of
things are hidden, because they are in matter, but are disclosed to us through
the things which appear outwardly. Hence in these sciences the demonstrations
are for the most part made through effects which are better known in reference
to us but not absolutely. (Lectures on the Posterior Analytics, Book I lecture
If public intellectuals can say, without being laughed at and roundly condemned,
that the Internet makes learning ("memorizing") facts unnecessary because facts
can always be looked up, then I fear that we have come to a very low point in
our intellectual culture. I fear we have completely devalued or, perhaps worse,
forgotten about the deep importance of the sort of nuanced, rational, and
relatively unprejudiced understanding of issues that a liberal education
The vast body of essential facts that undergird any sophisticated understanding
of the way the world works does not change rapidly … in most fields, there is
certainly a body of core knowledge.
To be well educated, to be able to pass along the liberal and rational values
that undergird our civilization, we must as a culture retain our ability to
comprehend long, difficult texts written by individuals. Indeed, the single best
method of getting a basic education is to read increasingly difficult and
important books. To be sure, other tasks are essential, especially for training
in scientific and applied fields; there are some people who are very well
trained for various trades without reading many books. But when it comes to
getting a solid intellectual grounding — a foundational, liberal education —
nothing is less dispensable than getting acquainted with many books created by
the "complex, dense" minds of deep-thinking individuals.
Universities that continue to regard user-generated knowledge as inferior toThis is nonsense. As I have argued in a series of posts over the last two months, Wikipedia is not designed to produce 'user-generated knowledge'. It is a tertiary source reflecting information in secondary sources generated by subject-matter experts - indeed, century-old subject-matter experts. Wikipedia is not putting the academic world out of business.
that of experts and treat technology as an adjunct to genuine learning will find
it increasingly difficult to compete with the new virtual institutions that
offer open courseware without the capital-intensive overheads that campus-based,
proprietorial education imposes.
But let me say at once that this encyclopedia [i.e. Columbia] has certainly one
distinction, though it does not boast of it. It has more ladies than men on the
list of its editorial and writing staff, 31 females and 28 males. We, of course,
applaud their bold vindication of the new equality of the sexes; or we would
applaud if we could take it as proof that the majority of experts on the many
subjects discussed are now feminine. Unfortunately, we cannot infer that if we
know the technique of creating an encyclopedia. A number of real experts are
paid handsomely to write and sign lengthy articles on subjects of which they are
masters, and the bulk of the work is copied from earlier encyclopedias by a
large number of "Penny-a- liners." None of the articles in the Columbia are
signed. You might infer from this that all articles are written by experts, but
we shall have reason, presently, to doubt this.
Overall, writing is the Achilles' heel of Wikipedia. Committees rarely writeAnd the bottom line, in any case, is that students are not supposed to rely on any kind of encyclopedia.
well, and Wikipedia entries often have a choppy quality that results from the
stringing together of sentences or paragraphs written by different people. Some
Wikipedians contribute their services as editors and polish the prose of
different articles. But they seem less numerous than other types of volunteers.
Few truly gifted writers volunteer for Wikipedia. Encarta, while less
comprehensive than Wikipedia, generally offers better—especially, more concise—
Most readers of this journal have not relied heavily on encyclopedias since
junior high school days. And most readers of this journal do not want their
students to rely heavily on encyclopedias—digital or print, free or
subscription, professionally written or amateur and collaborative—for research
papers. One Wikipedia contributor noted that despite her "deep appreciation for
it," she still "roll[s her] eyes whenever students submit papers with Wikipedia
as a citation." "Any encyclopedia, of any kind," wrote another observer, "is a
horrible place to get the whole story on any subject." Encyclopedias "give you
the topline"; they are "the Reader's Digest of deep knowledge." Fifty years ago,
the family encyclopedia provided this "rough and ready primer on some name or
idea"; now that role is being played by the Internet and increasingly by
|ANDRONICUS of RHODES, a Peripatetic philosopher, who is reckoned as the tenth of Aristotle's successors,||Andronicus of Rhodes (fl c 60 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Rhodes who was also the eleventh scholarch of the Peripatetic school[Ammonius, In de Int 524]|
|was at the head of the Peripatetic school at Rome, about B C 53, and was the teacher of Boethus of Sidon, with whom Strabo studied (Strabxivpp 655,757; Ammon, in Aristot Categ P8, , a, ed Ald)||He was at the head of the Peripatetic school at Rome, about 58 BC, and was the teacher of Boethus of Sidon, with whom Strabo studied[ Strabo, xiv; Ammonius, in Aristot Categ]|
|We know little more of the life of Andronicus, but he is of special interest in the history of philosophy, from the statement of Plutarch (Sull, c 26), that he published a new edition of the works of Aristotle and Theophrastus, which formerly belonged to the library of Apellicon, and were brought to Rome by Sulla with the rest of Apellicon’s library in BC 84||We know little more of the life of Andronicus, but he is of special interest in the history of philosophy, from the statement of Plutarch,[ Plutarch, Sulla c 26] that he published a new edition of the works of Aristotle and Theophrastus, which formerly belonged to the library of Apellicon, and were brought to Rome by Sulla with the rest of Apellicon's library in 84 BC|
|Tyrannio commenced this task, but apparently did not do much towards it, (Comp Porphyry vit Plotin C24; Boethius ad Aristot de Interpret 292 ed Basil 1570) The arrangement which Andronicus made of Aristotle's writings seems to be the one which forms the basis of our present editions and we are probably indebted to him for the preservation of a large number of Aristotle's works||Tyrannion commenced this task, but apparently did not do much towards it [Comp Porphyry, Vit Plotin c 24; Boethius, ad Aristot de Interpret] The arrangement which Andronicus made of Aristotle's writings seems to be the one which forms the basis of our present editions and we are probably indebted to him for the preservation of a large number of Aristotle's works|
|Andronicus wrote a work upon Aristotle, the fifth book of which contained a complete list of the philosopher's writings, and he also wrote commentaries upon the Physics, Ethics, and Categories||Andronicus wrote a work upon Aristotle, the fifth book of which contained a complete list of the philosopher's writings, and he also wrote commentaries upon the Physics, Ethics, and Categories|
|None of these works is extant, for the paraphrase of the Nicomachean Ethics, which is ascribed to Andronicus of Rhodes, was written by someone else, and may have been the work of Andronicus Callistus of Thessalonica||None of these works is extant Two treatises are sometimes erroneously attributed to him, one On Emotions, the other a commentary on Aristotle's Ethics (really by Constantine Palaeocapa in the 16th century, or by John Callistus of Thessalonica)|
|, who was professor at Rome, Bologna, Florence, and Paris, in the latter half of the fifteenth century Andronicus Callistus was the author of the work Peri Pathon, which was also ascribed to Andronicus of Rhodes, The Peri Pathon was first published by Hoschel, Aug Vi del 1594, and the Paraphrase by Heinsius as an anonymous work, Lugd, Bat 1607, and afterwards by Heinsius as the work of Andronicus of Rhodes Lugd Bat 1617, with the Peri Pathon attached to it The two works were printed at Cantab 167? and Oxon 1809 (Stahr, Aristotelia, ii p129)|
Perhaps, too, as difficulties are of two kinds, the cause of the presentAristotle and Thomas are commenting on how reaching the truth is both difficult and easy. It is easy (according to Aristotle) in the sense that the sun is the most obvious and visible object in the world. It is so obvious, in fact, that the eyes of a bat are blinded by it, and cannot see it (Thomas mentions owls, and other translations have moles, I think). Thus, the truth is right before us, and in an obvious way. Yet we are blinded by it, and cannot grasp it.
difficulty is not in the facts but in us. For as the eyes of bats are to the
blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature
most evident of all.
Obviously, then, the difficulty experienced in knowing the truth is due
principally to some weakness on the part of our intellect. From this it follows
that our soul’s intellectual power is related to those immaterial beings, which
are by nature the most knowable of all, as the eyes of owls are to the light of
day, which they cannot see because their power of vision is weak, although they
do see dimly lighted things.
This appears very similar to what Kit Fine calls 'argument by arbitrary object'- see here e.g. Take any A. It can be demonstrated that this particular A is a B. But this was any A. Therefore every A is a B.
Having shown that the three angles of the triangle ABC are together equal to two
right angles, we conclude that this is true of every other triangle, not because
it is true of ABC, but for the same reason which proved it to be true of ABC. If
this were to be called Induction, an appropriate name for it would be, induction
by parity of reasoning . But the term can not properly belong to it; the
characteristic quality of Induction is wanting, since the truth obtained, though
really general, is not believed on the evidence of particular instances. We do
not conclude that all triangles have the property because some triangles have,
but from the ulterior demonstrative evidence which was the ground of our
conviction in the particular instances.
Even Plato had difficulties with logic; although he had a reasonable
conception of a deducting system, he could never actually construct one and
relied instead on his dialectic. Consequently, Plato realized that a method for
obtaining conclusions would be most beneficial. He never succeeded in devising
such a method, but his best attempt was published in his book Sophist, where he
introduced his division method.