Apples and Oranges and Peaches

In Aristotle’s “Metaphysics,” Aristotle’s claims have a lot to do with splitting different forms of knowledge and experience into categories and classes. For example, according to him, animals live by appearances and memories, while humans live by art and reason.  He clearly makes a distinction that while experience is more of an individual mentality, art is something universal because experience, which made of many memories, lead to art. Therefore, art is more knowledgeable than experience since artists can teach. He then proceeds to lay out a hierarchy of who is wiser, which includes the class of inventors.

This is an argument I found interesting because it’s hard to classify and categorize levels of intelligence, wisdom, and experience. According to Aristotle, he says that just having experience isn’t enough because artists at least have knowledge and understanding of “why” and “how” things work. I tried to move this into more contemporary settings; for example, if a man who grew up in a certain setting, it would be called having experience. However, would/could this experience compare to the skills contained within the mind of a higher position?

Socrates believes that artists can at least teach; however it’s puzzling because can it be really concluded that just because you can teach why and how, it’s concluded that an artist is automatically wiser than those who have experience. For me, it’s hard to picture that someone, who maybe traveled around the world, fought in war, or perhaps immersed himself in hundreds of different sources of knowledge can be inferior in wisdom to an artist. Or is my argument a fallacy because if a person is accomplished in all these areas, would he still be “just a person with experience?” There are different classes of experience, and I don’t think anyone can just decide on who is greater.

This brings me to  another point; Aristotle even believes that inventors are wiser. Is this really true? Sometimes, I believe that people confuse being “smart” with being “knowledgeable.” Sure, a scientist/inventor might be more creative, innovative, and overall more successful with his mind’s products, but can that really triumph someone with experience, or even artists? In today’s modern times, I can perhaps acquiesce to that notion. However, it’s even stranger to think  this point during Aristotle’s times, where art, and overall, experience would be considered invaluable.

We are currently in an era that adores sciences and technical accuracy. Science seems to triumph over art, but does it make either one superior to the other? I don’t think so.

3 responses to “Apples and Oranges and Peaches

  1. Your discussion about intelligence and wisdom is extremely interesting, especially whether experience or the ability to teach constitutes higher wisdom. At first, my belief was that this logic made sense. It assumes that in order to teach, you must have the experience yourself. In this sense, teaching is just relaying experiences to those who have not had the same experience or with the intention of helping them achieve that experience.

    However, this logic is potentially flawed in that someone can teach something without having experienced it. For example, I have been teaching gymnastics at a summer camp for some time now. For a while, I was unable to do a front walkover successfully. Nevertheless, I could teach kids how to do it and spot them in their attempts until they were successful. Although I had never had the experience of doing a front walkover, I was successful in teaching others.

    I think overall, experience is useful in teaching but not necessary. Because of this, I would agree with you that you cannot rank one higher than the other in terms of being wise.

  2. I agree with your argument that experience, intelligence and wisdom should not be ranked higher than the other between artists ans scientists and the like. The concept of knowledge is broad and vast, leaving the artist with expertise in one area and the scientist with expertise in another, however, allowing both to have the same amount of knowledge in a sense but just in very different fields. I do, however, also agree with Orli’s statement regarding how experience is not mandatory for teaching. I certainly believe that the added experience surely helps, but that the end goal is to make sure the student learns what is being taught. Someone could have years of experience in a particular field, but that certainly does not give them an edge over someone who studied the same material if the first person is inept at translating the information to the student.

  3. I kind of feel the same way as you. I think that people who have experience are just as wise as “artistic” people, because they can both teach. Everyone knows about how your parents advise you not to do something or to take a course of action because they more often than not have experienced the repercussions of that same action that you are about to take, and they don’t want you to experience them as well.
    Also, I think that there is a fault with Aristotle’s claims because just because a person is artistic or an inventor does not mean that they are able to teach someone else their skills or abilities. For example, someone might know how to make a time machine and have it actually work, but that person might not be able to explain to others exactly how to make that time machine and why they have to take certain steps/actions when they make it. I have personally had the experience that people who are really knowledgeable about something do not always have the potential to teach it effectively.
    Anyway, I really like your thoughts!

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