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McBrayer gives lecture on Aristotle's influence in science - The Trail Blazer: Life & Arts

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McBrayer gives lecture on Aristotle's influence in science

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Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 10:55 pm

Dr. Gregory McBrayer held a lecture last night in Rader Hall where he talked about Aristotle and the limits of science.

A mixture of around 45 students and professors gathered from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. to hear Mcbrayer, assistant professor of government, speak about the philosopher and his ideas on where science was during his time in addition to where science could possibly lead us.

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know,” McBrayer told the audience.

McBrayer spoke on why we should care about Aristotle’s opinion on sciences even though he lived 2,400 years ago. He said that modern science has been much more successful than Aristotelian science ever was, at least if our goal is to be effective in the world. However, effectiveness in the world has been purchased at the price of understanding the world.

McBrayer explained that we are now better able to understand the "what" in the world with greater success and that we can manipulate nature in ways nearly unimaginable to Aristotle. But, we have had to give up the question "why?" in order to do so. In contrast, McBrayer said that he does not “believe that we have as humans have given up the desire to know ‘why?’”

“Aristotle’s thoughts on science, logic and metaphysics were considered authoritative for centuries and nearly a millennium in fact,” said McBrayer.

This is the difference from Aristotle’s view of what science should be and what our modern science is. Aristotle thought science should be a truth, not something that is one thing today and another tomorrow.

No matter how right Aristotle may be, he could also be wrong. In which case, what is the point and who cares? McBrayer then said that perhaps we should study Aristotle to help us better understand science. Maybe we can find a greater understanding and appreciation for our own perception of science if we correlate it to what came before it by comparing it to its major rival, Aristotle.

McBrayer said that in this way, "we can compare our views to Aristotle’s to see how ours is stronger in some ways and in others weaker.”

“This I think, is a reason to study Aristotle," said McBrayer.