Philosophy springs from primitive wonder, and moves towards the abolition of wonder, towards understanding the world so well through and through that no room is left for wonder at things being as they are.
David Ross (1923)
Ross is in the process of summarizing the opening remarks of a book by Aristotle. The title of that book was Metaphysics, and so the subject, usually regarded as at the heart of philosophy, was launched. Aristotle suggests that we remember, for practical purposes, such matters as gathering food; we then construct more general
More on the form of explanations.
of those ways which combine into what we call experience; we wonder at these experiences so generating the arts and sciences. Finally we may see in the arts and sciences the most general of principles. So Aristotle suggests we arrive at metaphysics. He emphasises that such abstraction has no practical value, and is only undertaken when our needs for sustenance and recreation have already been met. Ross gives to Aristotle’s account a poetic turn. However, as each wonder
A little directly on wonder. is understood, hydra like, more wonders appear; Wonder seems to involve novelty and its paradoxes. in fact, reading elsewhere, it is clear that neither Ross nor Aristotle would allow that there could be an end Maybe the unsayable is the source of our wonder? to wonder at the way things are.
The quote comes from page 154 of his book Aristotle, where Ross examines these classical writings. This was the first philosophical work of David Ross, he had already left his intellectual mark by being the co-editor of the Oxford edition (1908 onwards) of Aristotle’s works - this is still the standard edition.
Ducks on Aberlady Bay, East Lothian. The picture has many threads which understanding might follow: wild fowling for food, learning about life in the sea for food, geographic location as knowledge of experience, the arts and beauty of sunset on the sea, the science of the hints of artefacts of light on the camera lens, and at the end of these chains universal puzzles about meaning, beauty and science at which to wonder.
Above, hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.