Aristotle on Prayer


Authors
Robert Mayhew
Seton Hall University
Abstract
In Metaphysics L, Aristotle presents a proof for the existence of an eternal, immaterial being – a prime mover, which he calls ‘god’. This being is pure thought, and the objects of divine thought do not seem to include particulars. This conception of god has major implications for religion. If the gods can not know individual humans, then they cannot knowingly act to benefit specific humans, responding to particular sacrifices, prayers, and actions. But this would seem to conflict with those passages in Aristotle’s corpus that refer positively to the gods of traditional religion and their beneficial actions. In an attempt to better understand this tension in Aristotle’s thought, the present paper examines Aristotle’s scattered remarks on prayer – a topic that has received little attention from Aristotle-scholars. The author concludes that there is no evidence that Aristotle believed in the efficacy of prayer– i.e., that there are gods capable of hearing and responding to our prayers. Aristotle did not explicitly reject prayer, however, because he likely thought that it could nevertheless be useful, for example ‘with a view to the persuasion of the many’
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,232
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Concept of Prayer.Antony Flew & D. Z. Phillips - 1967 - Philosophical Quarterly 17 (66):91.
Toward a Process Philosophy of Petitionary Prayer.Kevin Timpe - 2000 - Philosophy and Theology 12 (2):397-418.
God, Causality, and Petitionary Prayer.Caleb Murray Cohoe - 2014 - Faith and Philosophy 31 (1):24-45.
On Prayer in Plato's Laws.Robert Mayhew - 2008 - Apeiron 41 (1):45-62.
The Infinite Supplicant: On a Limit and a Prayer.Mark Cauchi - 2005 - In Bruce Ellis Benson & Norman Wirzba (eds.), The Phenomenology of Prayer. Fordham University Press.
Prayer and Incarnation: A Homiletical Reflection.Lissa McCullough - 2005 - In Bruce Ellis Benson & Norman Wirzba (eds.), The Phenomenology of Prayer. Fordham University Press.
Pure and Personal? Jean-Luc Marion's Phenomenologies of Prayer.Christina M. Gschwandtner - 2005 - In Bruce Ellis Benson & Norman Wirzba (eds.), The Phenomenology of Prayer. Fordham University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-01-17

Total views
84 ( #109,761 of 2,330,026 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #583,587 of 2,330,026 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes