Just finished Aristotle for Everybody (1978) by Mortimer J. Adler, an American philosopher. Adler was an interesting fellow in his own right: he dropped out of high school, attended college but failed to complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree, then was awarded a doctorate in philosophy at Columbia. His book on Aristotle is eminently accessible. It's organized around Aristotle's analysis of knowledge, specifically how people come to know things. He defined three types of knowledge: how to make things (techne), how to do things (phronesis), and how to obtain knowledge of things as they really are, behind appearances (episteme). This approach helps to disaggregate our overused English word "to know."
Reflecting on techne, knowing how to make things, leads quickly to reflection on what a thing is. A chair is a thing, but the chair is not simply the wood that it is made of (its material cause). If you disassemble a chair, the pieces of wood stacked on the ground are no longer a chair. More subtly, if you systematically replace every piece of wood composing the chair, it is still a chair! "What are the essential attributes of X," for any thing X, becomes a philosophical inquiry of some depth. Things also have accidental attributes too — a chair may be red, but redness is no essential attribute of being a chair. In later centuries, theologians carried on a substantial discussion about the essential or accidental attributes of God. All this from reflecting on what a "thing" really is (i.e, its substance).
Right conduct, or how to act properly, is the subject of phronesis. It is sometimes termed practical knowledge, but since it goes to what we would now call morality, it is not to be dismissed lightly. In the modern world, "morality" is often a synonym for proper sexual behavior, but to the Greeks morality had little to do with sexual mores. What does it mean to live well? How do the accidents of birth (health, wealth, and intelligence) affect how a given individual pursues living well or "the good life"? Aristotle articulated a view of virtue (arete or excellence) that pictured "doing the right thing" in terms of building a virtuous (excellent) character or becoming a "great-souled" man (hence our word "magnanimous"). It's an alternative view to the rule-based or utility-based models we generally encounter nowadays in discussions of morality.
Then there's episteme. We tend to see science as the technical discipline that has been most successful at creating knowledge of the natural world. Philosophers see scientists, however, as simply being people who are good at measuring things. They build models that describe appearances (what is measured), then test them. Those are (to use Plato's metaphor) just shadows on the wall of the cave, mere phenomena. But does any other discipline do any better? Aristotle at least gave philosophy a push in the right direction with his development of logic, a careful account of what inferences can be properly made from assumed propositions. Aristotle at least helps view the question in terms of what we can know about things as they really are, as opposed to the (somewhat naive) view of knowledge as a mirror of nature. And philosophers still struggle with the question of how the human mind comes to know things and how we use words to describe that knowledge.
So what's the Mo app? What the Mormon view would list as God's essential attributes is an interesting question. Another revolves around the familiar phrase "I know the Church is true." Some reflection leads me to see the phrase as an example of phronesis (proper conduct for a Mormon at the pulpit is to say "I know the Church is true") rather than an example of episteme. Seeing a five-year-old at the stand at F&T Meeting illustrates the principle: They are showing they know what to do in order to be a good Mormon. They are not making a serious claim to knowing anything. Whether all, some, or no adults are doing anything different when they make the statement is another interesting question. What would Aristotle think (WWAT)?