Ian Inkster (ed.): History of technology. Vol. 29. London: Continuum, 2009, 232pp, £90.00 HB Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9523-7 Authors AristotleTympas, Department of Philosophy and History of Science, University of Athens, University Campus, 157 71 Athens, Greece Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Arthur Madigan presents a clear, accurate new translation of the third book (Beta) of Aristotle's Metaphysics, together with two related chapters from the eleventh book (Kappa). Madigan's accompanying introduction and commentary give detailed guidance to these texts, in which Aristotle sets out what he takes to be the main problems of metaphysics or 'first philosophy' and assesses possible solutions to them; he takes his starting-point from the work of earlier philosophers, especially Plato and some of the Presocratics. These (...) texts serve as a useful introduction both to Aristotle's own work on metaphysics and to classical metaphysics in general; they are also a good example of Aristotle's dialectical method, which reasons not from known truths but from reputable opinions. (shrink)
In Books VIII and IX of his masterpiece of moral philosophy, the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle gives perhaps the most famous of all philosophical discussions of friendship. Michael Pakaluk presents the first systematic study in English of these books, showing how important Aristotle's treatment of friendship is to his ethics as a whole. Pakaluk's fresh and scrupulously accurate translation is accompanied by a detailed philosophical commentary which reveals the remarkably coherent structure of the books and unfolds with lucidity the (...) various arguments contained within Aristotle's terse and compressed text. Pakaluk looks at the logical form of Aristotle's analysis of friendship, at his subtle view of the relationship between friendship and justice, at the role of reciprocity in friendship, at civic friendship and its relation to the family, and at the development of friendship out of self-love and reflexive consciousness. This volume will be a valuable tool for anyone studying Aristotle's ethics, especially readers with no Greek. (shrink)
On the Parts of Animals is at the heart and soul of Aristotle's scientific investigation of animals. It not only contains the results of his investigation of why different kinds of animals have the parts that they do; it also opens with a book devoted to laying the philosophical stones of the entire biological enterprise. Those philosophical foundations, in turn, reflect and build on Aristotle's theory of knowledge, as found in the Analytics, and his metaphysics and natural philosophy, (...) as found in the Metaphysics, Physics, and De Anima. Whether one is interested in Aristotle the philosopher, or Aristotle the biologist, the De Partibus Animalium has a great deal to offer. The translation of the entire four books, with commentary, gives the reader an opportunity to judge the integrity of Aristotle's zoological practice in books II-IV, in light of the philosophical recommendations for such a study presented in book I. The translation aims to reflect the fine details of Aristotle's reasoning. The commentary gives line-by-line clarification of individual passages while at the same time providing an overall interpretation of Aristotle's purposes and methods. (shrink)
Books V and VI of Aristotle's Politics constitute a manual on practical politics. In the fifth book Aristotle examines the causes of faction and constitutional change and suggests remedies for political instability. In the sixth book he offers practical advice to the statesman who wishes to establish, preserve, or reform a democracy or an oligarchy. He discusses many political issues, theoretical and practical, which are still widely debated today--revolution and reform, democracy and tyranny, freedom and equality. -/- David (...) Keyt presents a clear and accurate new translation of these books, together with a commentary which, though primarily philosophical, also supplies a key to Aristotle's many historical references. It is intended to guide readers towards a proper understanding of this classic text in the history of political thought, and does not assumes knowledge of Greek or of ancient history and politics. (shrink)
The eighth book of Aristotle's Physics R is the culmination of his theory of nature. He discusses not just physics, but the origins of the universe and the metaphysical foundations of cosmology and physical science. He moves from the discussion of motion in the cosmos to the identification of a single source and regulating principle of all motion, and so argues for the existence of a first `unmoved mover'. -/- Daniel Graham offers a clear, accurate new translation of this (...) key text in the history of Western thought, and accompanies the translation with a careful philosophical commentary to guide the reader towards an understanding of the wealth of important and influential arguments and ideas that Aristotle puts forward. (shrink)
How, and why, does Earth (the element) move to the centre of Aristotle's Universe? In this paper, I argue that we cannot understand why it does so by reference merely to the nature of Earth, or the attractive force of the Centre. Rather, we have to understand the role that Earth plays in the cosmic order. Thus, in Aristotle, the behaviour of the elements is explained as one explains the function of organisms in a living organism.
This paper is on Aristotle's conception of the continuum. It is argued that although Aristotle did not have the modern conception of real numbers, his account of the continuum does mirror the topology of the real number continuum in modern mathematics especially as seen in the work of Georg Cantor. Some differences are noted, particularly as regards Aristotle's conception of number and the modern conception of real numbers. The issue of whether Aristotle had the notion of (...) open versus closed intervals is discussed. Finally, it is suggested that one reason there is a common structure between Aristotle's account of the continuum and that found in Cantor's definition of the real number continuum is that our intuitions about the continuum have their source in the experience of the real spatiotemporal world. A plea is made to consider Aristotle's abstractionist philosophy of mathematics anew. (shrink)
A selection of Aristotle's most important philosophical works in English translation with an introduction and comments by Renford Bambrough with emphasis on metaphysical questions and a new afterword by Susanne Bobzien that focuses on how to study Aristotle and on Aristotle on determinism and freedom.
A generally ignored feature of Aristotle’s famous function argument is its reliance on the claim that practitioners of the crafts (technai) have functions: but this claim does important work. Aristotle is pointing to the fact that we judge everyday rational agency and agents by norms which are independent of their contingent desires: a good doctor is not just one who happens to achieve his personal goals through his work. But, Aristotle argues, such norms can only be binding (...) on individuals if human rational agency as such is governed by objective teleological norms. . (shrink)
In this essay I offer a new particularist reading of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. I argue that the interpretation I present not only helps us to resolve some puzzles about Aristotle’s goals and methods, but it also gives rise to a novel account of morality—an account that is both interesting and plausible in its own right. The goal of this paper is, in part, exegetical—that is, to figure out how to best understand the text of the Nicomachean Ethics. But (...) this paper also aims to contribute to the current exciting and controversial debate over particularism. By taking the first steps towards a comprehensive particularist reading of Aristotle’s Ethics I hope to demonstrate that some of the mistrust of particularism is misplaces and that what is, perhaps, the most influential moral theory in the history of philosophy is, arguably, a particularist moral theory. (shrink)
Paper presented at the Heidegger Circle 2011. Although Aristotle’s influence on young Heidegger’s thought has been studied at length, such studies have almost exclusively focused on his interpretation of Aristotle’s ethics, physics and metaphysics. I will rather address Heidegger’s appropriation of Aristotle’s ontology of life. Focusing on recently published or recently translated courses of the mid 20’s (mainly SS 1924, WS 1925-26 and SS 1926), I hope to uncover an important aspect of young Heidegger’s thought left unconsidered: (...) namely, that Dasein’s existential structures – Befindlichkeit, Understanding and being-with-one-another through language – arose from his close reading of Aristotle’s ontology of life, of animal life. (shrink)
In this paper I explore Aristotle’s views on natural kinds and the compatibility of pluralism and realism, a topic that has generated considerable interest among contemporary philosophers. I argue that, when it came to zoology, Aristotle denied that there is only one way of organizing the diversity of the living world into natural kinds that will yield a single, unified system of classification. Instead, living things can be grouped and regrouped into various cross-cutting kinds on the basis of (...) objective similarities and differences in ways that subserve the explanatory context. Since the explanatory aims of zoology are diverse and variegated, the kinds it recognizes must be equally diverse and variegated. At the same time, there are certain constraints on which kinds can be selected. And those constraints derive more from the causal structure of the world than from the proclivities of the classifier (hence the realism). This distinguishes Aristotle’s version of pluralistic realism from those contemporary versions (like Dupré’s “promiscuous realism”) that treat all or most classifications of a given domain as equally legitimate and not just a sub-set of kinds recognized by the science that studies it. By contrast, Aristotle privileges scientifically important kinds on the basis of their role in causal investigations. On this picture natural kinds are those kinds with the sort of causal structure that allows them to enter into scientific explanations. In the final section I argue that Aristotle’s zoology should remain of interest to philosophers and biologists alike insofar as it combines a pluralistic form of realism with a rank-free approach to classification. (shrink)
Aristotle's discussion of perceiving that we perceive (On the Soul 3.2) has points of contact with two contemporary debates about consciousness: the first over whether consciousness is an intrinsic feature of mental states or a higher-order thought or perception; the second concerning the qualitative nature of experience. In both cases, Aristotle's views cut down the middle of an apparent dichotomy, in a way that does justice to each set of intuitions, while avoiding their attendant difficulties. With regard to (...) the first issue?the primary focus of this paper?he argues that consciousness is both intrinsic and higher-order, due to its reflexive nature. This, in turn, has consequences for the second issue, where again Aristotle seeks out the middle ground. He is committed against qualia in any strong sense of the term. Yet he also holds that the phenomenal quality of experience is not exhausted by its representational content. (shrink)
Compare two conceptions of validity: under an example of a modal conception, an argument is valid just in case it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false; under an example of a topic-neutral conception, an argument is valid just in case there are no arguments of the same logical form with true premises and a false conclusion. This taxonomy of positions suggests a project in the philosophy of logic: the reductive analysis of the modal conception (...) of logical consequence to the topic-neutral conception. Such a project would dispel the alleged obscurity of the notion of necessity employed in the modal conception in favour of the clarity of an account of logical consequence given in terms of tractable notions of logical form, universal generalization and truth simpliciter. In a series of publications, John Etchemendy has characterized the model-theoretic definition of logical consequence as truth preservation in all models as intended to provide just such an analysis. In this paper, I will argue that Aristotle intends to provide an account of a modal conception of logical consequence in topic-neutral terms and so is engaged in a project comparable to the one described above. That Aristotle would be engaged in this sort of project is controversial. Under the standard reading of the Prior Analytics, Aristotle does not and cannot provide an account of logical consequence. Rather, he must take the validity of the first figure syllogisms (such as the syllogism known by its medieval mnemonic ‘Barbara’: A belongs to all B; B belongs to all C; so A belongs to all C) as obvious and not needing justification; he then establishes the validity of the other syllogisms by showing that they stand in a suitable relation to the first figure syllogisms. I will argue that Aristotle does attempt to provide an account of logical consequence—namely, by appeal to certain mereological theorems. For example, he defends the status of Barbara as a syllogism by appeal to the transitivity of mereological containment. There are, as I will discuss, reasons to doubt the success of this account. But the attempt is not implausible given certain theses Aristotle holds in semantics, mereology and the theory of relations. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the role of optimality reasoning in Aristotle’s natural science. By “optimality reasoning” I mean reasoning that appeals to some conception of “what is best” in order to explain why things are the way they are. We are first introduced to this pattern of reasoning in the famous passage at Phaedo 97b8-98a2, where (Plato’s) Socrates invokes “what is best” as a cause (aitia) of things in nature. This passage can be seen as the intellectual ancestor (...) of Aristotle’s own principle, expressed by the famous dictum “nature does nothing in vain but always what is best for the substance from among the possibilities concerning each kind of animal” (Progression of Animals II, 704b12-18). The paper is focused around exploring three questions that arise in connection with Aristotle’s use of this optimality principle: (1) How do we understand the concept of “the best” at work in the principle? (2) How does Aristotle conceive of “the range of possibilities”? And, finally, (3) what role does optimality reasoning play in Aristotle’s natural science? Is it a special form of demonstration in which the optimality principle functions as one of its premises, or is it a heuristic device that helps uncover those causally relevant features of a natural substances that ultimately serve as middle terms in demonstrations? In the final section I return to the comparison between Plato and Aristotle and argue that, while both see the natural world as the product of an optimizing agent and while both see this assumption as licensing a pattern of reasoning that appeals to a certain conception of “the best”, they disagree fundamentally over what the optimization agent is and how it operates. Thus, despite their general agreement, it would be a mistake to think that Aristotle simply took over Plato’s use of optimality reasoning without significant modifications. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: This is a little piece directed at the newcomer to Aristotle, making some general remarks about reading Aristotle at the beginning and end, with sandwiched in between, a brief and much simplified discussion of some common misunderstandings of Aristotle's philosophy, concerning spontaneity, causal indeterminism, freedom-to-do-otherwise, free choice, agent causation, logical determinism, teleological determinism, artistic creativity and freedom (eleutheria).
A predicate logic typically has a heterogeneous semantic theory. Subject terms and predicates have distinct semantic roles: subject terms refer; predicates characterize. And a sentence expresses a truth if the object to which the subject term refers is correctly characterized by the predicate. Traditional term logic, by contrast, has a homogeneous theory: both subject terms and predicates refer; a sentence is true if the subject term and predicate name one and the same thing. There is evidence that Aristotle holds (...) that subject terms and predicates refer. If this is correct, then it seems that Aristotle, like the traditional term logician, problematically conflates predication and identity claims. I will argue that we can ascribe to Aristotle the view that both subjects and predicates refer, while holding that he would deny that a sentence is true just in case the subject and predicate name one and the same thing. In particular, I will argue that Aristotle’s core semantic notion is not identity but the weaker relation of constitution. For example, the predication ‘All men are mortal’ expresses a true thought, in Aristotle’s view, just in case the mereological sum of humans is a part of the mereological sum of mortals. (shrink)
Despite the renewed interest in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals in recent years, the subject matter of GA V, its preferred mode(s) of explanation, and its place in the treatise as a whole remain misunderstood. Scholars focus on GA I-IV, which explain animal generation in terms of efficient-final causation, but dismiss GA V as a mere appendix, thinking it to concern (a) individual, accidental differences among animals, which are (b) purely materially necessitated, and (c) are only tangentially related to the (...) topics discussed in the earlier books. In this paper, we defend an alternative and more integrated account of GA V by closely examining Aristotle’s methodological introduction in GA V.1 778a16-b19 and his teleological explanation of the differences of teeth in GA V.8. We argue for the unity of both GA V and of GA as a whole and present a more nuanced theory of teleological explanation in Aristotle’s biology. (shrink)
Modern philosophy is, for what appear to be good reasons, uniformly hostile to sui generis final causes. And motivated to develop philosophically and scientifically plausible interpretations, scholars have increasingly offered reductivist and eliminitivist accounts of Aristotle's teleological commitment. This trend in contemporary scholarship is misguided. We have strong grounds to believe Aristotle accepted unreduced sui generis teleology, and reductivist and eliminitivist accounts face insurmountable textual and philosophical difficulties. We offer Aristotelians cold comfort by replacing his apparent view with (...) failed accounts. And so we ought to admit Aristotle’s prima facie commitments and deal with — if not accept — the consequences. (shrink)
In Nicomachean Ethics 10.7, Aristotle says that the contemplative wise person living the happiest and most self-sufficient life will need other people less than a person living a life of practical virtue. This seems to be in tension with Aristotle's emphasis elsewhere on the political nature of human beings. I analyze in detail Aristotle's most elaborate defense of the need for friends in the happy life in Nicomachean Ethics 9.9 to see whether and how he resolves the (...) need for friends with the self-sufficiency of the happy life. The virtue-friendship described in the chapter does turn out to be more compatible with the self-contained unity of a happy life than other sorts of friendship, because collaboration in virtuous activities integrates the friend into one's activities. This is true even for contemplative friendship, where, as Aristotle suggests in the ornate final argument of 9.9, the friends collaboratively contemplate human nature and take pleasure in the goodness of human life. The unity achieved in this kind of friendship is an imitation of God's self-contemplative and self-contained unity. Nonetheless, I conclude, there is no evidence that Aristotle did not think that friendship was conditioned on human failings and so that friends would be less necessary for those leading the most excellent contemplative lives. (shrink)
Against the standard interpretation of Aristotle as a moderate realist about universals, I argue that he knew of and rejected this position and that he held that universals do not exist independently of the mind, but have a mind-independent basis in relations of commensurability and causality between particulars and their attributes.
The Nicomachean Ethics is generally thought to be a “dialectical” work, aimed at resolving aporia in a set of endoxa, which it takes as its starting-point. I argue that Aristotle’s aim in the treatise is, rather, to produce definitions of key ethical terms, and that his starting-points are limited to evaluative and discriminative judgments of a certain sort, which are demanded by the nature of the discipline and are not endoxa. I discuss also how the definitions are reached (focusing (...) on the cases of the virtues of character) and the roles that aporiai do play in the process. (shrink)
Much of the last fifty years of scholarship on Aristotle’s syllogistic suggests a conceptual framework under which the syllogistic is a logic, a system of inferential reasoning, only if it is not a theory or formal ontology, a system concerned with general features of the world. In this paper, I will argue that this a misleading interpretative framework. The syllogistic is something sui generis: by our lights, it is neither clearly a logic, nor clearly a theory, but rather exhibits (...) certain characteristic marks of logics and certain characteristic marks of theories. In what follows, I will present a debate between a theoretical and a logical interpretation of the syllogistic. The debate centers on the interpretation of syllogisms as either implications or inferences. But the significance of this question has been taken to concern the nature and subject-matter of the syllogistic, and how it ought to be represented by modern techniques. For one might think that, if syllogisms are implications, propositions with conditional form, then the syllogistic, in so far as it is a systematic taxonomy of syllogisms, is a theory or a body of knowledge concerned with general features of the world. Furthermore, if the syllogistic is a theory, then it ought to be represented by an axiomatic system, a system deriving propositional theorems from axioms. On the other hand, if syllogisms are inferences, then the syllogistic is a logic, a system of inferential reasoning. And furthermore, it ought to be represented as a natural deduction system, a system deriving valid arguments by means of intuitively valid inferences. I will argue that one can disentangle these questions—are syllogisms inferences or implications, is the syllogistic a logic or a theory, is the syllogistic a body of worldly knowledge or a system of inferential reasoning, and ought we to represent the syllogistic as a natural deduction system or an axiomatic system—and that we must if we are to have a historically accurate understanding of Aristotle. (shrink)
Both literalism, the view that mathematical objects simply exist in the empirical world, and fictionalism, the view that mathematical objects do not exist but are rather harmless fictions, have been both ascribed to Aristotle. The ascription of literalism to Aristotle, however, commits Aristotle to the unattractive view that mathematics studies but a small fragment of the physical world; and there is evidence that Aristotle would deny the literalist position that mathematical objects are perceivable. The ascription of (...) fictionalism also faces a difficult challenge: there is evidence that Aristotle would deny the fictionalist position that mathematics is false. I argue that, in Aristotle's view, the fiction of mathematics is not to treat what does not exist as if existing but to treat mathematical objects with an ontological status they lack. This form of fictionalism is consistent with holding that mathematics is true. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to evaluate the level of gender bias in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals while exercising due care in the analysis of its arguments. I argue that while the GA theory is clearly sexist, the traditional interpretation fails to diagnose the problem correctly. The traditional interpretation focuses on three main sources of evidence: (1) Aristotle’s claim that the female is, as it were, a “disabled” (πεπηρωμένον) male; (2) the claim at GA IV.3, 767b6-8 that (...) females are a departure from the kind; and (3) Aristotle’s supposed claim at GA IV.3, 768a21-8 that the most ideal outcome of reproduction is a male offspring that perfectly resembles its father. I argue that each of these passages has either been misunderstood or misrepresented by commentators. In none of these places is Aristotle suggesting that females are imperfect members of the species or that they result from the failure to achieve some teleological goal. I defend the view that the GA does not see reproduction as occurring for the sake of producing males; rather, what sex an embryo happens to become is determined entirely by non-teleological forces operating through material necessity. This interpretation is consistent with Aristotle’s view in GA II.5 that females have the same soul as the male (741a7) as well as the argument in Metaphysics X.9 that sexual difference is not part of the species form but is an affection (πάθος) arising from the matter (1058b21-4). While the traditional interpretation has tended to exaggerate the level of sexism in Aristotle’s developmental biology, the GA is by no means free of gender bias as some recent scholarship has claimed. In the final section of the paper I point to one passage where Aristotle clearly falls back on sexist assumptions in order to answer the difficult question, “Why are animals divided into sexes?”. I argue that this passage in particular poses a serious challenge to anyone attempting to absolve Aristotle’s developmental biology of the charge of sexism. (shrink)
Individual substances are the ground of Aristotle’s ontology. Taking a liberal approach to existence, Aristotle accepts among existents entities in such categories other than substance as quality, quantity and relation; and, within each category, individuals and universals. As I will argue, individual substances are ontologically independent from all these other entities, while all other entities are ontologically dependent on individual substances. The association of substance with independence has a long history and several contemporary metaphysicians have pursued the connection. (...) In this chapter, I will discuss the intersection of these notions of substance and ontological dependence in Aristotle. I will canvass a few contemporary formulations of ontological dependence and discuss some of the interpretative difficulties in ascribing any of these formulations to Aristotle’s characterization of individual substances as ontologically independent. My aim is not to resolve fully these difficulties but to locate the topics of substance and independence relative to certain other controversies in Aristotle studies. However, I will sketch a position. In particular, elsewhere I have speculated that Aristotle is both a primitivist and a pluralist with respect to ontological dependence, and I will develop this line of interpretation a bit further later in the chapter. (shrink)
In Book IV, Chapter 11 of the Physics, Aristotle claims that ‘the before and after’ exists in time because it also exists in change, and it exists in change because it also exists in magnitude, and, further, that ‘time follows change’ and ‘change follows magnitude’.1 This is usually taken to mean that moments of time correspond to momentary stages of changes, and that momentary stages of changes correspond to points in magnitudes, so that time derives its ‘before and after’ (...) from that of change, and change from that of magnitude.2 But this is widely thought to land Aristotle in the following difﬁ culty: If Socrates walks between points A and C, for instance, he can either proceed from point A to point.. (shrink)
Although the stated purpose of Physics viii 8 is to prove that only circular locomotion is infinitely continuous, it is generally recognized that a major sub-theme of the chapter has to do with the unity of change and centers on Zeno’s dichotomy paradox. According to one influential account of this sub-theme, Aristotle returns to the dichotomy paradox in Physics viii 8, primarily to engage in a defensive maneuver. In Physics vi, while focused on the infinite divisibility of change instead (...) of its identity conditions, Aristotle left open the possibility that occurrences that are ‘one change’ could have infinitely many parts that are also ‘one change’.1 By Physics viii 8, however, Zeno has brought Aristotle to realize that if this possibility is admitted, then what one chooses to call ‘one change’ is to a large extent arbitrary. But this Aristotle cannot countenance, because his entire theory of change is built upon the concept of a change as a thing uniquely definable as the passage from a particular state to a particular state. In Physics viii 8, then, Aristotle seeks to avoid this result by ‘refining’ the definition of ‘one change’ so that ‘one change’ can no longer have parts that are also ‘one change’ and by invoking the metaphysical machinery of the act-potency distinction to give a positive characterization of the difference between change parts and change wholes.2 According to Michael White, Aristotle ‘refines’ his definition of ‘one change’ in Physics viii 8 by strengthening the criteria of Physics v 4; criteria, which, White is correct to point out, do nothing to prevent this result on their own.3 According to White, this ‘refinement’ consists in adding, to the criteria of Physics v 4 (i.e., the criteria that ‘one change’ must be in a continuous time, have a single subject throughout, and proceed throughout from a terminus of the same species to a contrary terminus of the same species), the additional condition that an occurrence that is ‘one change’ must be bracketed by periods of rest and contain no periods of rest.. (shrink)
The central subject of Aristotle's ethics is happiness or living well. Most people in his day (as in ours), eager to enjoy life, impressed by worldly success, and fearful of serious loss, believed that happiness depends mainly on fortune in achieving prosperity and avoiding adversity. Aristotle, however, argues that virtuous conduct is the governing factor in living well and attaining happiness. While admitting that neither the blessings not the afflictions of fortune are unimportant, he maintains that the virtuous (...) find life more satisfying than other people do and, with only modest good fortune, they lead happy, enjoyable lives. Combining philological precision with philosophical analysis, the author reconstructs Aristotle's defense of these bold claims. By examining how Aristotle develops his position in response to the prevailing hopes and anxieties of his age, the author shows why Aristotle considers happiness important for ethics and why he thinks it necessary to revise popular and traditional views. Paying close attention throughout to the internalist dimension of Aristotle's approach - his emphasis on how the virtuous view their own lives and actions - the author advances new interpretations of Aristotle's accounts of several major virtues, including temperance, courage, liberality, and 'greatness of soul'. This work sets Aristotle in the broader cultural context of his time, tracing his attemps to accommodate and amend rival views. The author examines literary and historical sources as well as philosophical texts, showing the inherited values and traditional ideals that inform Aristotle's discussions and provide some of the basis for his conclusions. Presupposing no knowledge of Greek or specialized philosophical terminology, the book is designed to be accessible to all students of philosophy or classical antiquity. All quotations from ancient texts are translated. (shrink)
It is traditionally maintained that according to Aristotle, matter provides a principle of individuation. Objections of several sorts have been raised against this interpretation. One objection holds that for Aristotle it is form, rather than matter, that individuates. A more radical objection is that Aristotle does not propose any principle of individuation at all. Any adequate discussion of this issue must make clear precisely what problems such a principle is meant to address. This in turn requires that (...) several important distinctions be observed: (1) principles of individuation vs. principles of unity; (2) metaphysical vs. epistemological principles; (3) synchronic vs. diachronic unity and individuation; numerical vs. qualitative identity. After examining the objections in the light of these distinctions, I conclude that the objections cannot be sustained, and that, with appropriate qualifications, the traditional interpretation gives us the right idea about Aristotle. (shrink)
Isocrates' Antidosis ("Defense against the Exchange") and Aristotle's Protrepticus ("Exhortation to Philosophy") were recovered from oblivion in the late nineteenth century. In this article we demonstrate that the two texts happen to be directly related. Aristotle's Protrepticus was a response, on behalf of the Academy, to Isocrates' criticism of the Academy and its theoretical preoccupations. -/- Contents: I. Introduction: Protrepticus, text and context II. Authentication of the Protrepticus of Aristotle III. Isocrates and philosophy in Athens in the (...) 4th century IV. The Protrepticus of Aristotle as a response to the Antidosis of Isocrates V. Conclusion: dueling conceptions of philosophy, still dueling. (shrink)
The article investigates the treatment of modality in chapters 12 and 13 of De Interpretatione and gives a new interpretation of the puzzling table of modals to be found at the beginning of chapter 13, as well as dealing with some of Aristotle’s puzzles. This is achieved by extending Aristotle’s distinction between two senses of possibility, which (following Ackrill) I call ‘one-sided’ and ‘two-sided’, to the two notions of necessity and impossibility. The conclusion is reached that, while the (...) two notions of necessity and impossibility are logically incompatible when both are taken as one-sided, in their two-sided senses they are in fact equivalent. (shrink)
It is sometimes asked whether virtue ethics can be assimilated by Kantianism or utilitarianism, or if it is a distinct position. A look atAristotle’s ethics shows that it certanly can be distinct. In particular, Aristotle presents us with an ethics of aesthetics in contrast to themore standard ethics of cognition: A virtuous agent identifies the right actions by their aesthetic qualities. Moreover, the agent’s concernwith her own aesthetic character gives us a key to the important role the emotions play (...) for Aristotle, which further distinguishes him from the other two theories we have mentioned. (shrink)
Authenticates approximately 500 lines of Aristotle's lost work the Protrepticus (Exhortation to Philosophy) contained in the circa third century AD work by Iamblichus of Chalcis entitled Protrepticus epi philosophian. Includes a complete English translation of the authenticated material.
In De Anima II 5, 417a21-b16, Aristotle makes a number of distinctions between types of transitions, affections, and alterations. The objective of this paper is to sort out the relationships between these distinctions by means of determining which of the distinguished types of change can be coextensive and which cannot, and which can overlap and which cannot. From the results of this analysis, an interpretation of 417a21-b16 is then constructed that differs from previous interpretations in certain important respects, chief (...) among which is its characterization of transitions from first potentiality to first actuality, e.g., learning, not as `ordinary', but rather as acquisitions of natural dispositions or faculties. (shrink)
Aristotle and Confucius are pivotal figures in world history; nevertheless, Western and Eastern cultures have in modern times largely abandoned the insights of these masters. Remastering Morals is the first book-length scholarly comparison of the ethics of Aristotle and Confucius. May Sim's comparisons offer fresh interpretations of the central teachings of both men. More than a catalog of similarities and differences, her study brings two great traditions into dialog so that each is able to learn from the other. (...) This is essential reading for anyone interested in virtue-oriented ethics. (shrink)
Much recent work on Aristotle's Categories assumes that there is an ontological theory presented in that work and tries to reconstruct it on the basis of the slender evidence in the book. I claim that this is misguided. Using a distinction made by G.E.L. Owen between theory and the "phaenomena", I argue that the Categories is mainly concerned with setting out the phenomena -- the intuitions that any ontology must explain. This thesis has consequences for the interpretation of (...) class='Hi'>Aristotle's ontological writings. I explore some of these. (shrink)
Aristotle’s definition in De Anima of perception as the assimilation of sensible form without the matter of the perceived object is notoriously difficult to interpret. The present essay provides a novel interpretation of Aristotle’s definition by reading it in light of a puzzle about sensory presentation to be found in the work of Empedocles. Empedocles held a general conception of sensory awareness for which ingestion provides the model. In order for something to be perceived it must be taken (...) within so that it may be in contact with the sense organ. This raises a puzzle about color vision since color vision presents itself as the perception of the colors of distant particulars. Empedocles resolves this puzzle with his theory of effluences. If the colors of distant particulars are the effluences that they emit, then the colors may be assimilated by the organ of sight and so be seen. While Aristotle rejects the theory of effluences and the claim that to be perceptible is to be palpable to sense, he retains a conception of sensory awareness as a mode of assimilation. Thus it is natural to think of perception as a mode of taking in. But how can we take in what remains external? And if we can, what does taking in here mean such that we could? A generalized form of Empedoclean puzzlement consists in the persistence of this latter question. This puzzlement persists to this day. Thus Broad remarks that “It is a natural, if paradoxical, way of speaking to say that seeing seems to ‘bring us into contact with remote objects’ and to reveal their shapes and colors.” What is novel in the present essay is the attempt to understand Aristotle’s definition of perception as a response to such puzzlement. The assimilation of sensible form is meant to be the sense in which we take in the scene before us. (shrink)
The paper proposes a novel understanding of how Aristotle’s theoretical works complement each other in such a way as to form a genuine system, and this with the immediate (and ostensibly central) aim of addressing a longstanding question regarding Aristotle’s ‘first philosophy’—namely, is Aristotle’s first philosophy a contribution to theology, or to the science of being in general? Aristotle himself seems to suggest that it is in some ways both, but how this can be is a (...) very difficult question. My answer is in some respects a version of one that goes back at least to the middle ages—i.e., that first philosophy is concerned with the gods (and to that extent offers a theology) because the gods are causes and principles of beings precisely insofar as they are beings. The more original aspect of my position lies in my claim that the sort of tension found in the Metaphysics is likewise to be found in many of Aristotle’s physical works. Thus, for example, the De caelo is (I argue) concerned generally with natural beings (= beings susceptible of change), but its discussions are focused largely on the heavenly bodies and the Aristotelian elements insofar as they admit of change with respect to place. Here I claim that the particular objects of discussion are dealt with precisely because they are causes and principles of natural beings as such. Something similar goes, I claim, for the De generatione et corruptione, the general concern of which is a particular species of natural being—i.e., natural beings susceptible of generation and corruption. In this way, I argue, Aristotle successively deals in his theoretical works with those causes and principles of (say) a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a being, those causes and principles of a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a natural being, those causes and principles of a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a perishable natural being, and so on for the lower genera under which the species horse is subsumed. (shrink)
I review Gabriel Richardson Lear's excellent essay on Aristotle’s conception of the human good. She solves some long-standing problems in the interpretation of Aristotle’s ethics by drawing on resources in his natural philosophy and Plato’s conception of love. Her interpretation is a compelling and, to my mind, largely true account of Aristotle’s view. In this review, I summarize the book's main argument and then explain two fundamental points on which I have concerns.
The article evaluates the Domain Postulate of the Classical Model of Science and the related Aristotelian prohibition rule on kind-crossing as interpretative tools in the history of the development of mathematics into a general science of quantities. Special reference is made to Proclus’ commentary to Euclid’s first book of Elements , to the sixteenth century translations of Euclid’s work into Latin and to the works of Stevin, Wallis, Viète and Descartes. The prohibition rule on kind-crossing formulated by Aristotle in (...) Posterior analytics is used to distinguish between conceptions that share the same name but are substantively different: for example the search for a broader genus including all mathematical objects; the search for a common character of different species of mathematical objects; and the effort to treat magnitudes as numbers. (shrink)
Review of Johanson's book Aristotle on the sense organs. Aristotle seeks to explain the characteristics of the different sense organs by reference to the goal that they serve, that of enabling animals to perceive. A material basis is necessary for sense perception but it is an open question whether the material in question undergoes a physiological change.
ABSTRACT: In this paper I show that, contrary to the prevalent view, in his De Interpretatione chapter 8, Aristotle is concerned with a kind of ambiguity, i.e. with homonymy; more precisely, with homonymy of linguistic expressions as it may occur in dialectical argument. The paper has two parts. In the first part, I argue that in the Sophistici Elenchi 175b39-176a5 Aristotle indubitably deals with homonymy in dialectical argument; that De Interpretatione 8 is a parallel to Sophistici Elenchi 175b39-176a5; (...) that De Interpretatione 8 is concerned with dialectical argument; that, hence, De Interpretatione 8, too, deals with homonymy in dialectical argument. In the second part I discuss objections that have been put forward against the view that De Interpretatione 8 is about homonymy and demonstrate that they do not succeed. (shrink)
The second chapter of book three of the De anima marks the end of Aristotle's discussion of sense-perception. The chapter is a long one and apparently rambling in subject matter. It begins with a passage that is usually taken as a discussion of some sort of self-awareness, particularly awareness that one is perceiving, although such an interpretation raises some difficulties. This paper reconsiders the problems raised by supposing that the question discussed in the first paragraph is ‘how do we (...) perceive that we perceive?’, and suggests an alternative interpretation which would solve many of the difficulties and have the additional merit of restoring unity to the sequence of notes which go to make up the whole chapter. (shrink)
In Physics 4.11, Aristotle discusses a sophistical puzzle in which "being Coriscus-in-the-Lyceum is different from being Coriscus-in-the-market-place." I take this puzzle to threaten the persistence of changing entities. Aristotle's answer to the puzzle is that the changing thing "is the same in respect of that, by (means of) being which at any time it is (what it is), S but in definition it is different." That is, Coriscus may be described as either a persisting substrate or as one (...) or more accidental unities. Described as the former, Coriscus persists, but described as the latter, he does not. (shrink)
At De Anima II 5, 417b17, Aristotle says, ‘The first transition (πρώτη μεταβολή) in that which can perceive is brought about by the parent, and when it is born it already has [the faculty of] sense-perception in the same way as it has knowledge. Actual sense-perception is so spoken of in the same way as contemplation.’ The purpose of this paper is to determine the nature of first transitions.
This paper explores the anatomical foundations of Aristotle's natural philosophy. Rather than simply looking at the body, he contrives specific procedures for revealing unmanifest phenomena. In some cases, these interventions seem extensive enough to qualify as experiments. At the work bench, one can observe the parts of animals in the manner Aristotle describes, even if his descriptions seem at odds with 20th century textbooks. Manipulating animals allows us to recover his teleological thought more fully. This consideration of (...) class='Hi'>Aristotle as a sophisticated biologist helps our reading of his writings in other areas of philosophy. (shrink)
I argue for a new construal of Aristotle’s definition of anagnorisis (recognition) in Poetics 11. Virtually all translators and interpreters of the definition have understood the phrase ton pros eutuchian e dustuchian horismenon as a subjective genitive characterizing the persons involved in the recognition. I argue that it should instead be taken as a partitive genitive characterizing the genus of changes (metabolon) of which recognitions are a species. In addition to being preferable on philogical grounds, the construal I recommend (...) helps illuminate the relation between recognition and reversal (peripeteia) and makes sense of Aristotle’s views about the relative values of various kinds of recognition. (shrink)
This paper examines the nature of Aristotelian phronesis , how it is attained, and who is able to attain it inside the polis . I argue that, for Aristotle, attaining phronesis does not require an individual to perfect his practical wisdom to the point where he never makes a mistake, but rather it is attained by certain individuals who are unable to make a mistake of this kind due to their education, habituation, and position in society.
ABSTRACT: Alexander of Aphrodisias’ commentaries on Aristotle’s Organon are valuable sources for both Stoic and early Peripatetic logic, and have often been used as such – in particular for early Peripatetic hypothetical syllogistic and Stoic propositional logic. By contrast, this paper explores the role Alexander himself played in the development and transmission of those theories. There are three areas in particular where he seems to have made a difference: First, he drew a connection between certain passages from Aristotle’s (...) Topics and Prior Analytics and the Stoic indemonstrable arguments, and, based on this connection, appropriated at least four kinds of Stoic indemonstrables as Aristotelian. Second, he developed and made use of a specifically Peripatetic terminology in which to describe and discuss those arguments – which facilitated the integration of the indemonstrables into Peripatetic logic. Third, he made some progress towards a solution to the problem of what place and interpretation the Stoic third indemonstrables should be given in a Peripatetic and Platonist setting. Overall, the picture emerges that Alexander persistently (if not always consistently) presented passages from Aristotle’s logical œuvre in a light that makes it appear as if Aristotle was in the possession of a Peripatetic correlate to the Stoic theory of indemonstrables. (shrink)
Abstract: An appreciation of the "more philosophical" aspects of ancient medical writings casts considerable light on Aristotle's concept of nature, and how he understands nature to differ from art, on the one hand, and spontaneity or luck, on the other. The account of nature, and its comparison with art and spontaneity in Physics II is developed with continual reference to the medical art. The notion of spontaneous remission of disease (without the aid of the medical art) was a controversial (...) subject in the medical literature, and Aristotle's aporia about the notion of spontaneous generation of natural things runs parallel to this controversy. Aristotle's account of spontaneous generation in the Metaphysics and in the Generation of Animals can also be profitably illuminated by looking at the comparison with medicine in detail. The result, hopefully, is a clearer and more consistent picture not only of Aristotle's concepts of nature, art, and spontaneity, but also of the influence of medical writings and concepts on his natural philosophy. Joel Mann has written a commentary on the essay published in the Proceedings. (shrink)
Aristotle’s economic thinking in the Nicomachean Ethics 5.5 and Politics 1 provides one of the earliest analyses of the economic nature exchange. Establishing the significance of Aristotle in this area has often led modern commentators to equate Aristotle’s descriptive analysis of use and exchange to the definitions of use-value and exchange-value as it is found in Karl Marx. In this article, I show that Aristotle’s understanding of use and exchange is qualitatively different from this interpretation, focusing (...) in particular on the ethical nature of use and how, for Aristotle, exchange is an extension of practical deliberation. (shrink)
In chapter 7 of the third book of De anima Aristotle is concerned with the activity of the intellect (nous), which, here as elsewhere in the work, he explores by developing parallels with his account of sense-perception. In this chapter his principal interest appears to be the notion of judgement, and in particular intellectual judgements about the value of some item on a scale of good and bad. In this paper I shall argue, firstly that there is in fact (...) a coherent structure and focus to this chapter, which has therefore unjustly been criticized as disorganized or corrupt; and secondly that, in the light of such a coherent understanding of the chapter as a whole, we can resolve the difficulties in interpreting the central passage concerned with cross-modal perceptual judgements, and thereby also throw some further light on the related passages in the second chapter of De anima 3, which had been directly concerned with that topic. (shrink)
Some commentators have argued that there is no room in Aristotle's natural science for simple, or unconditional, physical necessity, for the only necessity that governs all natural substances is hypothetical and teleological. Against this view I argue that, according to Aristotle, there are two types of unconditional physical necessity at work in the material elements, the one teleological, governing their natural motions, and the other non-teleological, governing their physical interaction. I argue as well that these two types of (...) simple necessity also govern everything made out of the elements, that is, all other natural substances and artifacts. (shrink)
This monograph provides a critical examination of autonomy in connection to moral knowledge. Drawing on Aristotle’s moral psychology, it is argued that moral judgments aim at knowledge; however, this does not undermine their action-guiding character.
According to van Eemeren, argumentation theory is a hybrid discipline, because it requires a multidisciplinary, if not interdisciplinary approach, combining descriptive and normative insights. He points out that modern argumentation theorists give substance to the discipline by relying either on a dialectical perspective, concentrating on the reasonableness of argumentation, or on a rhetorical perspective, concentrating on its effectiveness. Both the dialectical and the rhetorical perspective are interpreted in ways related to how they were viewed by Aristotle, but in modern (...) argumentation theory the relationship between the two, captured in Aristotle’s term antistrophos, is lost. According to van Eemeren, this relationship, which he considers crucial to a full-fledged argumentation theory, has been recovered in extended pragma-dialectics with the help of the theoretical notion of ‘strategic manoeuvring.’. (shrink)
Quine has often expressed his impatience with the fact that "Identity evidently invites confusion between sign and object" He finds the confusion in the works of a great many philosophers. What is most interesting, however, is that he excludes Aristotle from his disapprobation. "On the other hand Aristotle had the matter straight: things are identical when 'whatever is predicated of the one should be predicated of the other'. I believe a closer inspection of Aristotle's views would lead (...) Quine to abandon this small truce with the Philosopher--unfortunately for Quine. (shrink)
In this article I compare and, especially, contrast Aristotle’s conception of virtue with one typical of sub-Saharan philosophers. I point out that the latter is strictly other-regarding, and specifically communitarian, and contend that the former, while including such elements, also includes some self-regarding or individualist virtues, such as temperance and knowledge. I also argue that Aristotle’s conception of human excellence is more attractive than the sub-Saharan view as a complete account of how to live, but that the African (...) conception is a strong contender for a limited group of the most important virtues related to morality qua rightness. (shrink)
Aristotle’s phronimos is a model of the virtues: he fuses sound practical reasoning with well formed desires. Among the skills of practical reasoning are those of finding the right words and arguments in the process of deliberation. As Aristotle puts it, virtue involves doing the right thing at the right time and for the right reason. Speaking well, saying the right thing in the right way is not limited to public oratory: it pervades practical life. Aristotle’s phronimos (...) must acquire the habits that are engaged in rhetorical persuasion. (shrink)
In chapter 8 of the Sophistical Refutations, Aristotle claims that his theory of fallacy is complete in the sense that there cannot be more fallacies than the ones he lists. In this article I try to explain how Aristotle could have justified this completeness claim by analysing how he conceptualizes fallacies (dialectical mistakes which do not appear so) and what conceptual ingredients play a role in his discussion of fallacies. If we take the format of dialectical discussions into (...) account, we will see that there are only so many mistakes one can make which still do not appear to be mistakes. Aristotle’s actual list is almost identical to these apparent mistakes. (shrink)
In his metaphysics and natural philosophy, Aristotle uses the concept of a material cause,i.e., that from which something can be made or generated. This paper argues that Aristotle also has a concept of matter in the sense of physical stuff. Aristotle develops this concept of matter in the course of investigating the material causes of perceptible substances. Because of the requirements for change, locomotion, and the physical interaction of material objects, Aristotle holds that all perceptible substances (...) must be extended in three dimensions, movable, and corporeal due to their material causes. Thus, perceptible substances are physical substances because they are made out of something physical. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to demonstrate the relevance of the Aristotelian notion of civic friendship to contemporary political discussion by arguing that it can function as a social good. Contrary to some dominant interpretations of the ancient conception of friendship according to which it can only be understood as an obligatory reciprocity, I argue that friendship between fellow citizens is important because it contributes to the unity of both state and community by transmitting feelings of intimacy and solidarity. (...) In that sense, it can be understood as an important relationship predicated on affection and generosity, virtues lacking from both contemporary politics and society that seem to be merely dominated by Post-Enlightenment ideals. For Aristotle, friendship is important for society because it generates concord, articulating thus a basis for social unity and political agreement. (shrink)
It is sometimes held that modern institutionally-focussed conceptions of social justice are lacking in one essential respect: they ignore the importance of civic friendship or solidarity. It is also, typically simultaneously, held that Aristotle’s thought provides a fertile ground for elucidating an account of civic friendship. I argue, first, that Aristotle is no help on this score: he has no conception of distinctively civic friendship. I then go on to argue that the Kantian distinction between perfect and imperfect (...) duties is more useful than talk of civic friendship in capturing the non-institutional demands of social justice. (shrink)
The presence of premises expressing comparison is a problem for the Aristotelian theory of the dialectical method, first because there is no general theory of comparison in the Organon and secondly because along with propositions on the opposition and inflexion of the terms, comparative statements seem to fall outside the explicit description which Aristotle gives of possible premises. The purpose of this paper is to offer a synthetic theory of comparisons according to Aristotle’s Topics , in an attempt (...) both to supply the aforementioned absence and to highlight the importance of the second problem. There are three main types of premises on the more, the less and the similar : some comparing the degree of possession of a predicate, others comparing the plausibility of a predication and finally, others expressing an analogy. Once expounded the very marked differences that occur between these three classes of propositions, the paper analyses the various kinds of argumentation based on comparative premises and offers a formalization of its logical laws. The complexity of this theory and the volume of topoi involved in the comparisons show the magnitude of a problem that has not been sufficiently studied. (shrink)
How should we live? According to philosopher and biologist Massimo Pigliucci, the greatest guidance to this essential question lies in combining the wisdom of 24 centuries of philosophy with the latest research from 21st century science. In Answers for Aristotle, Pigliucci argues that the combination of science and philosophy first pioneered by Aristotle offers us the best possible tool for understanding the world and ourselves. As Aristotle knew, each mode of thought has the power to clarify the (...) other: science provides facts, and philosophy helps us reflect on the values with which to assess them. But over the centuries, the two have become uncoupled, leaving us with questions—about morality, love, friendship, justice, and politics—that neither field could fully answer on its own. Pigliucci argues that only by rejoining each other can modern science and philosophy reach their full potential, while we harness them to help us reach ours. Pigliucci discusses such essential issues as how to tell right from wrong, the nature of love and friendship, and whether we can really ever know ourselves—all in service of helping us find our path to the best possible life. Combining the two most powerful intellectual traditions in history, Answers for Aristotle is a remarkable guide to discovering what really matters and why. (shrink)
This paper concerns the status of Aristotle’s claim that a friend is another self in NE IX.4. Against the prevailing interpretation, I defend the view that Aristotle uses the other-self claim to explain how a virtuous person who values himself will come to value his friend, according to which 1) loving a friend is an extension of self-love, and 2) the conception of the friend as another self explains how the friend’s eudaimonia becomes constitutive of the agent’s eudaimonia. (...) I argue that this view, properly construed, is defensible from two objections: that it is narcissistic, and that it is incompatible with Aristotle’s insistence that we value our friends for their sakes. According to Aristotle, virtuous friends become other selves to one another by engaging in a process I call “reciprocal shaping,” a process by which friends develop a shared character. If virtuous friends value one another on account of character as Aristotle claims, then they value one another on account their shared character. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that Aristotle holds that the best moral education involves habituation in the proper pleasures of virtuous action. But it is rarely acknowledged that Aristotle repeatedly emphasizes the social and political sources of good habits, and strongly suggests that the correct law‐ordained education in proper pleasures is very rare or non‐existent. A careful look at the Nicomachean Ethics along with parallel discussions in the Eudemian Ethics and Politics suggests that Aristotle divided public moral education (...) or law‐ordained habituation into two types. One type is a defective form practiced by the Spartans, producing civic courage and similar defective virtue‐ like states motivated by external incentives. By contrast Aristotle endorses the law‐ordained musical education described in Politics 8. The chapter argues that Aristotle considers the well‐habituated state of proper pleasures in virtue to be best cultivated by this kind of musical education; and that this explains both his emphasis on good laws and on their scarcity. (shrink)
Some recent commentators have thought that if updated with the findings of modern embryology Aristotle’s views on abortion would yield a pro-‐life conclusion. On the basis of a careful reading of the relevant passage from Politics VII, I argue that the matter is more complicated than simply replacing his defective empirical embryological claims with our more accurate ones. Since Aristotle’s view on abortion was shaped not only by a defective embryology, but also an acceptance of the classical Greek (...) practice of exposure / infanticide, substituting a more accurate embryology will not straightforwardly generate a strongly pro-‐life conclusion. In the end, this reveals as much about how different Aristotle’s ethical thought on this matter really is from the contemporary discussion of abortion. (shrink)
The author presents the Aristotelian conception of capacity/potentiality (dunamis) – one of the most important in Aristotle’s metaphysics. A closer inspection allows to draw conclusion, that the concept of capacity is an important link between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ (metaphysics on the one side, and practical – ethical, rhetorical, political – skills, on the other). A picture of the connection between theory and practice is based on the most important parts of Metaphysics (books delta and theta), it relates metaphysical definitions (...) to an essential element of Aristotelian practical philosophy – the concept of virtue (aretê). In the practical works of Aristotle, we can find different definitions of aretê: in Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle defines aretê using the notion of disposition (hexis), but in Rhetoric he formulates a definition based on the concept of capacity. Distinctive analysis of this inconsistency shows the significance of capacity in The Stagirite’s philosophy. (shrink)
‘The Union of Cause and Effect in Aristotle: Physics III 3’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 32, pp. 205-232, May 2007. Abstract: I argue that Aristotle introduced a unique realist account of causation, which has not hitherto been appreciated in the history of philosophy: causal realism without a causal relation. In his account, cause and effect are unified by the ectopic actualization of the agent’s potentiality in the patient. His solution consists in the introduction of a property that (...) belongs to one subject but is realized in another subject on whose state this realization depends. I identify and analyze the multiple ontological dependencies between the causal state of the agent and that of the patient during their causal activity. (shrink)
This article roots Kant’s concept of disinterestedness, as he uses it in the Critique of Judgment, in Aristotle’s notion of philia by establishing a path from ethics to aesthetics and back. In this way, the third Critique turns out to be one of the main sources for a new ideal of humanity: the ideal suitable for late Enlightenment. This article argues that Kant reaches this fruitful use of disinterestedness by giving to Aristotle’s concept of philia an aesthetic turn.
In his discussions of dreaming in the Parva Naturalia, Aristotle neither claims nor denies that dreams serve a natural purpose. Modern scholarship generally interprets dreaming as useless and teleologically irrelevant for him. I argue that Aristotle's teleology permits certain types of dream to have a natural role in end-directed processes. Dreams are left-overs from waking experience, but they may, like certain bodily residues, be used by nature, which does ‘nothing in vain’ and makes use of available resources, for (...) the benefit of the beings in which they occur. Contrary to prevalent opinions, Aristotle does not assimilate dreams to sensory illusions and does not hold that they have no interaction with our reasoning capacity. Dreams constitute a special class of the products of phantasia, but this does not prevent them from functioning like other (waking) phantasmata. In Aristotle's view, dreams regularly generate 'natural signs' of diseases and cause waking actions. I show that this preparatory power of dreams, often dismissed or attributed to divine intervention in antiquity, is captured within Aristotle’s natural philosophy, and provides evidence that (some) dreams are (or should be) regarded by him as having a teleological significance. (shrink)
Aristotle believes that an agent lacks virtue unless she enjoys the performance of virtuous actions, while Kant claims that the person who does her duty despite contrary inclinations exhibits a moral worth that the person who acts from inclination lacks. Despite these differences, this chapter argues that Aristotle and Kant share a distinctive view of the object of human choice and locus of moral value: that what we choose, and what has moral value, are not mere acts, but (...) actions: acts done for the sake of ends. Morally good actions embody a kind of intrinsic value that inspires us to do them from duty (in Kant) or for the sake of the noble (in Aristotle). The chapter traces the difference in their attitudes about doing one's duty with pleasure to a difference in their attitudes towards pleasure itself: Aristotle sees it as a perception of the good, while Kant thinks of it as mere feeling. (shrink)
No Órganon Aristóteles descreve alguns esquemas dedutivos nos quais a presença de inconsistências não acarreta a trivialização da teoria lógica envolvida. Esta tese é corroborada por três diferentes situações teóricas estudadas por ele, as quais são apresentadas neste trabalho. Analizamos o esquema de inferência utilizado por Aristóteles no Protrepticus e o método de demonstração indireta para os silogismos categóricos. Ambos os métodos exemplificam como Aristóteles emprega estratégias de redução ao absurdo logicamente clássicas. Na sequência, discutimos os silogismos válidos a partir (...) de premissas opostas (contrárias e contraditórias) estudadas pelo Estagirita no Analytica Priora (B15). De acordo com o autor, os seguintes silogismos são válidos a partir de premissas opostas, nos quais letras latinas minúsculas denotam termos como sujeito e predicado, enquanto que letras latinas maiúsculas denotam proposições categóricas tal como na notação tradicional: (i) na segunda figura, Eba,Aba ` Eaa (Cesare), Aba, Eba ` Eaa (Camestres), Eba, I ba ` Oaa (Festino), e Aba,Oba ` Oaa (Baroco); (ii) na terceira, Eab,Aab ` Oaa (Felapton), Oab,Aab ` Oaa (Bocardo) e Eab, Iab ` Oaa (Ferison). Por fim, discutimos a passagem do Analytica Posteriora (A11) no qual Aristóteles enuncia que o Princípio de Não-Contradição não é, em geral, pressuposto de toda demonstração (silogismo científico), mas apenas daquelas nas quais a conclusão deve ser provada a partir do Princípio; o Estagirita enuncia que se um silogismo da primeira figura tiver o termo maior consistente, os outros termos da demonstração podem ser separadamente inconsistentes. Estes resultados permitem-nos propor uma interpretação de sua teoria dedutiva como uma teoria paraconsistente lato sensu. Primeiramente, efetuamos uma análise hermenêutica, avaliando seu significado lógico e a correlação desses resultados com outros aspectos da filosofia de Aristóteles. Em segundo lugar, consignamos uma interpretação dos silogismos aristotélicos a partir de premissas opostas à luz dos antilogismos propostos por Christine Ladd-Franklin em 1883, e da demonstração aristotélica com termos inconsistentes nas lógicas paraconsistentes Cn, 1 n !, introduzidas por da Costa em 1963. Esses dois aspectos não parecem ter sido ainda detalhadamente analisados na literatura. DOI:10.5007/1808-1711.2010v14n1p71. (shrink)