Chapter

Theology, Science, and Contemplation

Anthony Kenny

in Aristotle on the Perfect Life

Published in print July 1992 | ISBN: 9780198240174
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680106 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240174.003.0008
Theology, Science, and Contemplation

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It is not easy to specify precisely what makes a truth a scientific truth; many distinguished philosophers of science have failed in the task. But, again taking our cue from Aristotle, we can say that it is clear that it is connected intimately with the notions of necessity and universality. Contemplation is the exercise of the intellectual virtue of sophia or understanding. It is concerned with the most splendid of knowable objects, and especially, in the Eudemian Ethics, with God. The most important information given about it is that it is related to philosophy as finding is to seeking. It is not knowledge (episteme), the mere possession of correct conclusions, which constitutes the distinguishing mark of the sophos. It is knowledge coupled with the intelligence to see how individual items of knowledge fit together with the whole systematic context in which they are embedded. In mathematics, contemplation is the appreciation of the beauty of the proof itself. In linguistic philosophy, contemplation can be thought of as the goal of analysis. Furthermore, the contemplation of God in the Eudemian Ethics will include the vision of how the first mover is related to all the levels of motion and causation in the glorious cosmos.

Keywords: contemplation; knowledge; theology; science; understanding; philosophy; intelligence

Chapter.  4483 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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