Monday, October 15, 2012

Aristotle and Gay 'Marriage'

Having written earlier about Aristophanes and gay 'marriage', I decided it was time to relate the current debate to another ancient Greek writer, namely Aristotle.
Aristotle helpfully distinguished between a thing's essence and it's accidents. The properties of a thing that are absolutely necessary for that thing to be what it is are essential properties while those properties of a thing that are not absolutely necessary for its existence are called accidental properties. For example, the property of greenness is accidental to apples, since an apple could be red or yellow and still be an apple. But "fruitiness" is an essential property of an apple, since, if it were not a fruit, it would not be an apple.
Put another way, according to Aristotle an accident is an attribute not definitely excluded by the essence of a thing. Being tall is thus an accidental property of a tree, since a short tree is still a tree, whereas being ligneous is an essential property, since a tree that was metallic could no longer properly be called a tree, at least not a real one.
Now what does any of this have to do with the debate surrounding so-called gay 'marriage'? To learn, click on the following link which will take you directly to my latest Salvo feature:

Apples, Oranges & Gay Marriage  Or the Name Game & Hidden Assumptions


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