As a Creative Writing and Philosophy Double Major, I was immediately attracted to the fact that he references Aristotle in almost the first five lines of the entire play. “Yet level at the end of every art, And live and die in Aristotle’s works. Sweet Analytics, ’tis thou hast ravish’d me! Bene disserere est finis logices. Is, to dispute well, logic’s chiefest end?” It is because of this that I decided that I wanted to consider Dr. Faustus’ story when it comes to Aristotle’s view on logic.
The first step in this conversation is to lay out what Aristotle’s views on logic actually are. It should be noted that Aristotle is vehemently against the idea that to have logic is to have more knowledge, nor does he believe that the purpose of logic is to gain information. Instead, Aristotle strongly believes that the aim for knowledge is to create a coherent system that allows us to investigate, classify, and evaluate good and bad forms of reasoning.
Now that we know what logic is, according to Aristotle, then we can look at Faustus to see if he is applying logic as he should be. Instead of simply trying to learn things and gain knowledge and insight, he should be working to have logic in order to make well- informed decisions about the happenings around his life.
Not long after he lays claim that he lives and breaths the work of Aristotle, he says, ” Bid Economy farewell, and Galen come: Be a physician, Faustus; heap up gold, And be eterniz’d for some wondrous cure: Summum bonum medicinoe sanitas, The end of physic is our body’s health.” Because of his brain, people have told him that he should try to be a doctor in order to make money and become loved for his knowledge and for possibly creating a cure. While Aristotle would likely see no problem with him becoming a physician, the fact that he chooses not to would likely be admired by Aristotle. Aristotle, specifically when discussing ethics, believes that greed is a problem that should be controlled and gaining knowledge and understanding simply for the sake of becoming eternalized or known for something he had done would look unfavorable to him.
Throughout the story, he seems to explore different faucets of life, including religion. “Despair in God, and trust in Belzebub: Now, go not backward, Faustus; be resolute.” Here he seems to acknowledge that he has not always had faith in God and is trying to give the entire thing a chance. This seems to be Faustus’ attempt at following Aristotle by his words, wanting to gain knowledge in order to have a well-rounded understanding in order to make the right choices.
Marlowe, Christopher, and Christopher Marlowe. The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus. Wilder Publications, 2012
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, iep.utm.edu/aris-eth/.