Friday, November 09, 2007

There are two types of thinkers, Platonists and Aristotelians

In a certain broad sense, there are two types of thinkers, Platonists and Aristotelians. The former are "top town" types who think and organize the world in terms of deep principles, whereas the latter are more "bottom up" thinkers who work inductively to arrive at their principles. There are clear dangers associated with each extreme, and a healthy person will find a way to live in the dialectical space between the two modes.
In a certain sense, you might say that this is the difference between theologians and scientists, dogmatists and free thinkers, closed minds and open ones, but that clearly isn't always the case. For example, one of the differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism is that the latter, in the person of Thomas Aquinas, attempted to assimilate science and philosophy by developing a rational theology, whereas the former -- with some exceptions -- made no such attempt. Rather, Orthodoxy developed a mystical theology rooted mainly in transcendent experience.
Protestants obviously broke away even further in taking the world into consideration and therefore making science possible (although now, ironically, certain "fundamentalist" protestant sects have come full circle, and are the most vocal in clinging to scriptural principles as sufficient to explain the world; and secular science itself often becomes a closed system with all the trappings of religion, as we will be discussing in a subsequent post).


  1. Sri bob certainly knows about closed minds---it is a perfect description of his blog and his band of adoring acolytes.

    The society of closed minded sleep-walkers---much to do about nothing.

  2. What about Sri Aurobindo, Adi Shankara, Nargarjuna,Gautama Buddha, Patanjali,Chaitanya, Sri Ramana Maharshi, etc etc and so on.

    None of these Spiritual Philosophers fit within these two western categories.