more from Aristotle

Single Idea 12038

[catalogued under 1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / d. Philosophy as puzzles]

Full Idea

Aristotle says that 'humans all desire by nature to understand'. The Greek word here is often translated as 'to know', but this can be misleading. It is not a piling up of known facts, ..but mastery of a field of knowledge, and explaining why.

Gist of Idea

Translate as 'humans all desire by nature to understand' (not as 'to know')


report of Aristotle (Metaphysics [c.324 BCE], 0980a22) by Julia Annas - Ancient Philosophy: very short introduction Ch.1

Book Reference

Annas,Julia: 'Ancient Philosophy: a very short introduction' [OUP 2000], p.15

A Reaction

I take this gloss of Annas's to be highly significant if we are trying to understand Aristotle, since it appears to be the single most significant remark from him of what his life's work was about.

Related Ideas

Idea 17944 'Episteme' is better translated as 'understanding' than as 'knowledge' [Nehamas]

Idea 18226 For Aristotle, contemplation consists purely of understanding [Korsgaard]

Idea 8331 To know something we need understanding, which is grasp of the primary cause [Aristotle]

Idea 543 All men long to understand, as shown by their delight in the senses [Aristotle]