Aristotle’s own preferred alternative, that there are firstprinciples of the sciences graspable by those willing to engage inassiduous study, has caused consternation in many of his readers. In Posterior Analytics ii 19, he describes theprocess by which knowers move from perception to memory, and from memoryto experience (empeiria)—which is a fairly technicalterm in this connection, reflecting the point at which a singleuniversal comes to take root in the mind—and finally fromexperience to a grasp of first principles. This finalintellectual state Aristotle characterizes as a kind of unmediatedintellectual apprehension (nous) of first principles(APo. 100a10–b6).
On the contrary, he denies essentialism in many cases where othersare prepared to embrace it. One finds this sort of denialprominently, though not exclusively, in his criticism of Plato. Indeed, it becomes a signature criticism of Plato and Platonists forAristotle that many of their preferred examples of sameness andinvariance in the world are actually cases of multivocity, orhomonymy in his technical terminology. In the opening of theCategories, Aristotle distinguishes between synonymyand homonymy (later called univocity andmultivocity). His preferred phrase for multivocity,which is extremely common in his writings, is ‘being spokenof in many ways’, or, more simply, ‘multiply meant’:pollochôs legomenon). All these locutions have aquasi-technical status for him. The least complex isunivocity:
The same holds true of the Poetics, but in this case theend is not easily or uncontroversially articulated. It is oftenassumed that the goal of tragedy is catharsis—thepurification or purgation of the emotions aroused in a tragicperformance. Despite its prevalence, as an interpretation of whatAristotle actually says in the Poetics this understanding isunderdetermined at best. When defining tragedy in a general way,Aristotle claims:
We may mainly pass over as uncontroversial the suggestion that thereare efficient causes in favor of the most controversial and difficultof Aristotle four causes, the final cause. We should note before doing so, however, that Aristotle’s commitmentto efficient causation does receive a defense in Aristotle’s preferredterminology; he thus does more than many other philosophers who takeit as given that causes of an efficient sort are operative. Partly byway of criticizing Plato’s theory of Forms, which he regards asinadequate because of its inability to account for change andgeneration, Aristotle observes that nothing potential can bring itselfinto actuality without the agency of an actually operative efficientcause. Since what is potential is always in potentiality relative tosome range of actualities, and nothing becomes actual of its ownaccord—no pile of bricks, for instance, spontaneously organizesitself into a house or a wall—an actually operative agent isrequired for every instance of change. This is the efficientcause. These sorts of considerations also incline Aristotle to speakof the priority of actuality over potentiality: potentialities aremade actual by actualities, and indeed are always potentialities forsome actuality or other. The operation of some actuality upon somepotentiality is an instance of efficient causation.
Venting, whilst not excluding this, seems to refer to more short term daily hassles rather than long term significant personal events. It is not set within a psychotherapeutic context, but applies more to everyday living and experimental psychology paradigms. Venting differs from catharsis in being closer in time to the trigger event (hours rather than years), less severe (an argument rather than say sexual or physical abuse) and with no reference to it having previously been suppressed, not dealt with, or inadequately processed, probably over a period of years. It is not surprising that the experimental psychology literature on venting can be at variance with the psychotherapist’s understanding of catharsis. Catharsis may still be relevant as a concept if attention was paid to what factors make an emotional discharge therapeutic and what factors make it unhelpful or non-therapeutic.
Catharsis refers to the re-experiencing (partially or fully) of significant traumatic events, that have not been adequately emotionally processed and are repressed, causing emotional, physical, or relationship problems in the person's life.
It appears that some of the conclusion about ineffectiveness of 'venting anger' are generalized to all cathartic experiences (Kennedy-Moore & Watson 1999), therefore catharsis based therapeutic techniques are claimed to be ineffective.
Therefore, instead of thinking of swearing as uniformly harmful or morally wrong, more meaningful information about swearing can be obtained by asking what communication goals swearing achieves. Swear words can achieve a number of outcomes, as when used positively for joking or storytelling, stress management, fitting in with the crowd, or as a substitute for physical aggression. Recent work by Stephens et al. even shows that swearing is associated with enhanced pain tolerance. This finding suggests swearing has a cathartic effect, which many of us may have personally experienced in frustration or in response to pain. Despite this empirical evidence, the positive consequences of swearing are commonly disregarded in the media. Here is an opportunity for psychological scientists to help inform the media and policymakers by clearly describing the range of outcomes of swearing, including the benefits.
Nichols (1974) evaluated the impact of catharsis on the positive outcome of brief psychotherapy and validated the hypothesis that catharsis leads to therapeutic improvement of behavioral target complaints and personal satisfaction.
Therefore, catharsis was successfully used in psychodrama to reveal deep and long-standing negative emotions and neutralize the negative impact of related traumatic experiences (Kipper, 1997).
These works may be categorized in terms of the intuitiveorganizational principles preferred by Aristotle. He refers to thebranches of learning as “sciences”(epistêmai), best regarded as organized bodies oflearning completed for presentation rather than as ongoing records ofempirical researches. Moreover, again in his terminology, naturalsciences such as physics are but one branch of theoreticalscience, which comprises both empirical and non-empiricalpursuits. He distinguishes theoretical science from more practicallyoriented studies, some of which concern human conduct and others ofwhich focus on the productive crafts. Thus, the Aristotelian sciencesdivide into three: (i) theoretical, (ii) practical, and (iii)productive. The principles of division are straightforward:theoretical science seeks knowledge for its own sake; practicalscience concerns conduct and goodness in action, both individual andsocietal; and productive science aims at the creation of beautiful oruseful objects (Top. 145a15–16;Phys. 192b8–12; DC 298a27–32,DA 403a27–b2; Met. 1025b25, 1026a18–19,1064a16–19, b1–3; EN 1139a26–28,1141b29–32).
Everyone has heard of the freshman 15! College students typically gain about 15 pounds during their first year in college. What would be a good hypothesis to study this?