ASHTABULA, OH – Aristotelianism, the tradition of philosophy which owes its major tenets to the works of Aristotle, is the foundation of all modern philosophy and religion, according to half of a moldy Reuben sandwich in the back of Steve Garret’s refrigerator.
According to the eight-ounce portion of bread, corned beef, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut, if one works the argument through, it is readily apparent that Aristotelianism has had a profound effect on the philosophy, politics and theology of every continent.
“Let us consider the import of Aristotle’s ideas to religion first,” stated the half-sandwich, undeterred by its thick coating of fuzzy Rhizopus stolonifer sporangia. “His works were translated into Arabic by philosophers such as Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, and widely distributed throughout the Arab world. Aristotelian ideas became a cornerstone of early Islamic philosophy. Thereafter, Moses Maimonides adapted these Arabic texts to become the foundation of Jewish Scholastic Philosophy.”
“When Latin translations of Aristotle became widely available in the 12th century,” the inedible hunk of decaying comestibles added, “scholars such as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas—later Saint Thomas Aquinas—adapted Aristotelian ideas to Christian theology. Indeed, it is apparent that Aristotle profoundly influenced the early philosophies of the world’s three major religions.”
Though muffled by the ineffective layer of plastic wrap in which it had been swathed, the week-old sandwich made it clear that, despite criticism from modern natural philosophers, Aristotle’s concept of teleology—the idea that final actions exist in nature, and that as with human actions, the machinations of the natural world lead toward definite ends—was transmitted by the 17th- and 18th-century German philosophers such as Christian Wolff and Immanuel Kant to Georg Hegel, who wedded it to his own philosophy of historicism.
“There is some debate about Hegel’s project,” the half-sandwich expostulated, as a pool of liquefied organic material broken down by trillions of bacteria widened beneath it. “Both Friedrich Trendelenburg and Franz Brentano claimed that Hegel’s historicist approach was quite non-Aristotelian. Whatever the case may be, there is no doubt that Hegel’s ideas of contextual historical significance had a great influence on Karl Marx—and there is no debate about the influence which Marx’s ideas have had on the political philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries.”
Even in the political arenas of the United States, the foul-smelling remnant of a once-delicious afternoon snack admitted as it collapsed in on itself and released a noxious cloud of mold spores, Aristotle’s influence can be felt. In particular, the early modern tradition of republicanism, which is founded upon the principle of the res publica, or public state as it is defined by the virtuous activity of its citizens, is “a very Aristotelian idea.”
“Even today, modern Republicanism,” stated the rotting pile of meat, fermented vegetables and spoiled sauce, “is predicated on virtues like proper ambition, modesty, truthfulness, and temperance. These are very Aristotelian ideas.”
In concluding, the moldy heap of sodden ingredients pledged that Aristotelianism was very much alive in the modern world, and exerting a profound influence on politics and ethics through contemporary scholars like Fred D. Miller, Jr. and Rosalind Hursthouse. Aristotelian realism, particularly involving universals (characteristics or qualities held in common) is defended in the realm of metaphysics by notable minds such as David Malet Armstrong and Stephen Mumford. Aristotle’s ideas have likewise been applied to the philosophy of mathematics by James Franklin.
“And so we see,” concluded the half-sandwich, twisted by bacteria and fungi into something unrecognizably disgusting, “that Aristotle, the foremost student of Plato and the teacher of Alexander the Great, has had and continues to have a profound impact on scientific, mathematical, metaphysical, political, social and theological thought—more than 23 centuries after his death.”
“Excuse me, I think Steve is finally going to throw me out now,” it concluded