Originally published in 1906, this book presents the texts of Aristotle's De Sensu and De Memoria, the first two parts of the Parva Naturalia. Both are provided in Greek with a facing-page English translation. Detailed commentaries are also included, together with a bibliography and indexes in English and Greek. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in Aristotle's works and classical philosophy.
This new translation of _De Caelo_ fits seamlessly with other volumes in the New Hackett Aristotle series, enabling Anglophone readers to study Aristotle’s work in a way previously not possible. The Introduction describes the book that lies ahead, explaining what it is about, what it is trying to do, how it goes about doing it, and what sort of audience it presupposes. Sequentially numbered endnotes provide the information most needed at each juncture, while a detailed Index indicates the places where (...) focused discussion of key notions occurs. (shrink)
Aristotle is without question the founder of the science of biology. In his treatise On the Parts of Animals, he develops his systematic principles for biological investigation, and explanation, and applies those principles to explain why the different animal kinds have the different parts that they do. It is one of the greatest achievements in the history of science. This new translation from the Greek aims to reflect the subtlety and detail of Aristotle's reasoning. The commentary provides help in understanding (...) each argument as well as an integrated account of the goals and methods of the work taken as a whole. (shrink)
Aristotle, great Greek philosopher, researcher, reasoner, and writer, born at Stagirus in 384 BCE, was the son of Nicomachus, a physician, and Phaestis. He studied under Plato at Athens and taught there ; subsequently he spent three years at the court of a former pupil, Hermeias, in Asia Minor and at this time married Pythias, one of Hermeias's relations. After some time at Mitylene, in 343?2 he was appointed by King Philip of Macedon to be tutor of his teen-aged son (...) Alexander. After Philip's death in 336, Aristotle became head of his own school, the Lyceum at Athens. Because of anti-Macedonian feeling there after Alexander's death in 323, he withdrew to Chalcis in Euboea, where he died in 322. Nearly all the works Aristotle prepared for publication are lost; the priceless ones extant are lecture-materials, notes, and memoranda. They can be categorized as follows: I Practical: Nicomachean Ethics; Great Ethics ; Eudemian Ethics; Politics; Economics ; On Virtues and Vices. II Logical: Categories; Analytics ; Interpretation; Refutations used by Sophists; Topica. III Physical: Twenty-six works including astronomy, generation and destruction, the senses, memory, sleep, dreams, life, facts about animals, etc. IV Metaphysics: on being as being. V Art: Rhetoric and Poetics. VI Other works including the Constitution of Athens; more works also of doubtful authorship. VII Fragments of various works such as dialogues on philosophy and literature; and of treatises on rhetoric, politics and metaphysics. The Loeb Classical Library edition of Aristotle is in twenty-three volumes. (shrink)
There are two distinct but interrelated questions concerning Aristotle’s account of infinity that have been the subject of recurring debate. The first of these, what I call here the interpretative question, asks for a charitable and internally coherent interpretation of the limited pieces of text where Aristotle outlines his view of the ‘potential’ (and not ‘actual’) infinite. The second, what I call here the philosophical question, asks whether there is a way to make Aristotle’s notion of the potential infinite coherent (...) and rigorous with modern tools that can stand as a rival to the widely-accepted view of the infinite as characterized in a mathematical theory of sets. In this paper, I argue that the theoretical roles that Aristotle intends his account of the potential infinite to fulfill lead to a deep and irresoluble tension that can help explain the persistence of debates on both of these questions. I do so by turning to the places where Aristotle attempts to argue for or against the existence of particular infinite processes to show that he slides between different underlying notions of when changes are possible. Making these underlying notions clear can help us better understand the role of Aristotle’s account in the history of philosophy, the possible pitfalls for a contemporary theory of the potential infinite, and what each of these debates might learn from each other. (shrink)
In this paper I focus on Proclus’ concept of the instrumental cause in his commentary on the Timaeus (In Tim.). Unlike earlier Neoplatonists who do not make much use of this type of causality, Proclus relates the instrumental cause to the hypostasis of nature (φύσις). The Demiurge uses nature as an instrument in his ordering and creation of the cosmos. How does Proclus arrive at this understanding of nature? I argue that the definition of nature as an instrumental cause is (...) in part based on his critical reception of Aristotle who identifies nature with the formal, efficient, and/or final cause. That is, Proclus did not develop his views on the causality of nature only by looking at the Timaeus (and other Platonic sources), but also by engaging with Aristotle’s rich – and, to a certain extent, authoritative – reflections on this issue. (shrink)
Physics I 6 addresses the question of the number of principles and motivates the need for an underlying principle in addition to the contrary ones argued for in chapter 5. Physics I 6 ends in aporia about whether there are two or three principles, an aporia which is resolved with Aristotle’s own account in I 7. This chapter focuses on two issues. First, it explores how Aristotle’s arguments for contrary and underlying principles give rise to the aporia. Second, it discusses (...) Aristotle’s puzzling attitude towards, and use of, materialist views in I 6 and, more generally, in book I. Though Aristotle brings out deep tensions between his own hylomorphic conception and materialism, he also seems to downplay them for the purposes of arguing for an underlying principle. I suggest that this is a result of trying to motivate a hylomorphic conception of natural substance from within a more familiar materialist framework. (shrink)
Even though Aristotle speaks often about language, his remarks do not fall within the province of any given discipline, let alone belong to the same subject matter or amount to a πραγματεία of their own. Rather, they are somewhat scattered across the Aristotelian corpus and are to be gleaned from a vast array of texts, including ethical and political writings (where language plays a remarkable role in shaping human sociability), treatises on natural history (where Aristotle outlines the physiology of phonation (...) in some animals such as birds and human beings), books on the soul (where Aristotle describes how language is intertwined with perception, imagination and thought) and works on dialectics, poetics and rhetoric (where linguistic expression is described as a powerful means of both persuasion and deception). Accordingly, «Le langage. Lectures d’Aristote» elects to study Aristotle’s understanding of language and its workings by asking relevant Aristotelian texts only those questions these texts answer – either by themselves or in conjunction with one another. -/- Quelque nombreuses et quelque influentes qu'elles soient par ailleurs, les vues d'Aristote sur le langage se caractérisent à la fois par leur hétérogénéité et par leur marginalité. Sans faire nulle part du langage et de la signification l'objet d'une investigation autonome et méthodique, Aristote multiplie les remarques et les digressions à leur sujet, que ce soit dans ses écrits d'éthique et de politique ou dans ses traités d'histoire et de philosophie naturelle, ou encore dans ses manuels de dialectique, de poétique et de rhétorique. Face à l'abondance de ces matériaux et aux difficultés qu'ils présentent du fait de s'offrir au lecteur en ordre quelque peu dispersé, «Le langage. Lectures d'Aristote» fait le choix d'indexer l'étude du langage chez Aristote sur des passages précis du corpus en ne posant aux textes aristotéliciens d'intérêt linguistique que les questions auxquelles ces mêmes textes - tantôt pris isolément, tantôt mis en relation les uns avec les autres - apportent une réponse. (shrink)
On propose ici de clarifier ce qu’Anaximandre entendait par « le divin » et ce qu’il appelait des « dieux ». À partir d’une réévaluation des sources anciennes, on soutient que cette enquête peut aider à comprendre son modèle cosmologique et le problème des cataclysmes dans son système. Trois hypothèses sont avancées à cette fin : [i] que dans Physique, III, 4, 203b3 15, le syntagme τὸ ἄπειρον renvoie à une notion concrète de substrat infini ; [ii] que dans ce (...) même passage, Aristote n’a probablement pas attribué aux philosophes de la nature – y compris Anaximandre – la thèse selon laquelle τὸ ἄπειρον est divin, mais plutôt la thèse selon laquelle ils comprennent le divin comme étant immortel et impérissable ; [iii] qu’Anaximandre, en supposant que « les astres célestes » sont des dieux, admettrait qu’ils naissent mais ne se détruisent pas – ce qui réfuterait l’idée d’un cataclysme universel chez lui. En conclusion, l’étude discute en quoi consisterait la gouvernance cosmique de τὸ ἄπειρον dans un univers divisé en trois niveaux et propose que cette gouvernance viendrait du fait que τὸ ἄπειρον possède un mouvement éternel. (shrink)
In Physics 2.4–6, Aristotle offers an account of things that happen “by luck” and “spontaneously”. Many of these things are what we might think of as “lucky breaks”: cases where things go well for us, even though we don’t expect them to. In Physics 2.5, Aristotle illustrates this idea with the case of a man who goes to the market for some reason unrelated to collecting a debt he is owed. While he is there, this man just so happens to (...) run into his debtor and get his money back—which is what he “wanted” all along. This case has a number of features that have proved puzzling. Most notably, Aristotle seems to think that while “it happened accidentally to him to come and to do this for the sake of getting the money”, nevertheless the man “did not come for the sake of this”—though he “would have”. What must such a proceeding be like to be described in these ways? Physics 2.4–6 makes several important moves towards answering this question. One of them—among the earliest and seemingly a foundational one—is the claim that “for the sake of something are as many things as could be done by thought and by nature”. The aim of this paper is to identify the role that this claim plays in Aristotle’s account of spontaneous proceedings. It defends two main claims. First, Aristotle’s suggestion that spontaneous proceedings could be done by nature and by thought is the product of a more general strategy. His approach is to sketch an intuitive pattern of explanation for proceedings that happen for the sake of something in the ordinary—non-spontaneous—way, and then to try to extend that model to the case of things that do so spontaneously, preserving as much of it as possible. Applying this strategy reveals that whereas nature and thought in fact function as efficient causes of ordinary proceedings that are for the sake of something, this cannot be the case in spontaneous ones. Instead, nature and thought could function as their causes. Second, I argue that Aristotle’s implementation of this strategy is rooted in his account of causation and especially Physics 2.3’s list of “modes” of causes. When he claims that spontaneous proceedings “could” be done by nature and by thought, he is saying that nature and thought are their efficient causes in capacity. In the practical case, spontaneous proceedings are caused by agents who have certain capacities, connected with their desires and abilities. In the right circumstances, these agents would actively exercise those capacities in acting for the sake of a given end. (shrink)
Aristotle's theory of eternal continuous motion and his argument from everlasting change and motion to the existence of an unmoved primary cause of motion, provided in book VIII of his Physics, is one of the most influential and persistent doctrines of ancient Greek philosophy. Nevertheless, the exact wording of Aristotle's discourse is doubtful and contentious at many places. The present critical edition of Ishaq ibn Hunayn's Arabic translation (9th c.) is supposed to replace the faulty edition by A. Badawi and (...) aims at contributing to the clarification of these textual difficulties by means of a detailed collation of the Arabic text with the most important Greek manuscripts, supported by comprehensive Greek and Arabic glossaries. (shrink)
Aristotelian commenters have long noted an apparent contradiction between what Aristotle says in Posterior Analytics I.2 and Physics I.1 about how we obtain first principles of a science. At Posterior 71b35–72a6, Aristotle states that what is most universal (καθόλου) is better-known by nature and initially less-known to us, while the particular (καθ’ ἕκαστον) is initially better-known to us, but less-known by nature. At Physics 184a21-30, however, Aristotle states that we move from what is better-known to us, which is universal (καθόλου), (...) to what is better-known absolutely, which is particular (καθ’ ἕκαστον). This paper turns to two of Aristotle’s most notable medieval commentators—Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas—to resolve this apparent contradiction. The key to Thomas and Albert’s solutions, we will argue, is a twofold distinction between a sense-perceptive and scientific universal, and the particulars as sensed individuals and as differentiating attributes. Our Synthetic treatment of these distinctions contributes to the ongoing scholarly effort to understand the Stagyrite’s complex theory of knowledge. (shrink)
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is something wrong with the way we treat nature, because it is apparently even harmful to ourselves. Therefore it could be good for us, if this dealing with nature would be corrected by an alternative conception of nature. Since our own thinking is influenced by Aristotle in some deep and essential aspects - but in a very mediated form - and nevertheless originates from another world, it has at the same time a closeness (...) and a distance to our own thinking. This is favorable for a comparison. Reflection on this thinking about nature could therefore be particularly helpful. -/- The attempt to understand Aristotle's theory of nature might also be helpful because, as will be shown, the physis of which Aristotle speaks is not at all the nature of modern natural science, as is usually assumed. The basic premise of this assumption, that there is only one nature and only one correct and successful handling of it, namely the modern natural scientific one, has to be questioned, even if it rightly exists in everyday life. -/- Second, not only the Aristotelian concept of nature differs from ours, but also that of theory. We use the term theory today, often thinking that we are following Aristotle; some might not even make a distinction between a "scientific theory" and a "theory of nature." A correction of this view might be helpful. Aristotle's theory neither wants to assert anything, on the contrary, it is the reflection on that which is first in nature with the method of topical attitude, it is an example of "unassertive thinking." Aristotle's theory of nature is not a model to find out something or to produce something, it is the ideal of a knowledge for its own sake. (shrink)
Aristotle offers several arguments in Physics viii.8 for his thesis that, when something moves back and forth, it does not undergo a single motion. These arguments occur against the background of a sophisticated theory, expounded in Physics v—vi, of the basic structure of motions and of other continuous entities such as times and magnitudes. The arguments in Physics viii.8 stand in a complex relation to that theory. On the one hand, Aristotle evidently relies on the theory in a number of (...) crucial steps. Yet in other steps he seems to contradict or misapply the theory. This situation offers the occasion to examine Aristotle’s views about some fundamentals in the metaphysics of motion, while also raising questions about the unity of the text which has come down to us as the Physics. (shrink)
In Physics 4.11, Aristotle says that changes are continuous because magnitude is continuous. I suggest that this is not Aristotle’s considered view, and that in Generation and Corruption 2.10 Aristotle argues that this leads to the unacceptable consequence that alterations can occur discontinuously. Physics 6.4 was written to amend this theory, and to argue that changes are continuous because changing bodies are so. I also discuss the question of Aristotle’s consistency on the possibility of discontinuous alterations, such as freezing.
This book examines the birth of the scientific understanding of motion. It investigates which logical tools and methodological principles had to be in place to give a consistent account of motion, and which mathematical notions were introduced to gain control over conceptual problems of motion. It shows how the idea of motion raised two fundamental problems in the 5th and 4th century BCE: bringing together being and non-being, and bringing together time and space. The first problem leads to the exclusion (...) of motion from the realm of rational investigation in Parmenides, the second to Zeno's paradoxes of motion. Methodological and logical developments reacting to these puzzles are shown to be present implicitly in the atomists, and explicitly in Plato who also employs mathematical structures to make motion intelligible. With Aristotle we finally see the first outline of the fundamental framework with which we conceptualise motion today. (shrink)
The Middle Included is a systematic exploration of the meanings of logos throughout Aristotle’s work. It claims that the basic meaning is “gathering,” a relation that holds its terms together without isolating them or collapsing one to the other. This meaning also applies to logos in the sense of human language. Aristotle describes how some animals are capable of understanding non-firsthand experience without being able to relay it, while others relay it without understanding. Aygün argues that what distinguishes human language, (...) for Aristotle, is its ability to both understand and relay firsthand and non-firsthand experiences. This ability is key to understanding the human condition: science, history, news media, propaganda, gossip, utopian fiction, and sophistry, as well as philosophy. Ömer Aygün finds Aristotle’s name for this peculiar but crucial human ability of “gathering” both experiences is logos, and this leads to a claim about the specificity of human rationality and language. (shrink)
The difficulties often attributed to prime matter hold for all hylomorphic accounts of substantial change. If the substratum of substantial change actually persists through the change, then such change is merely another kind of accidental change. If the substratum does not persist, then substantial change is merely creation ex nihilo. Either way matter is an empty concept, explaining nothing. This conclusion follows from Aristotle’s homoeomerity principle, and attempts to evade this conclusion by relaxing the constraints Aristotle imposes on elementhood, generation, (...) and substrata all fail, and even the minimal constraints imposed by the Problem of Material Constitution are enough to generate the dilemma. -/- Aristotle resolves this dilemma in Physics I.9 by postulating pure potentiality-for-substance as the substratum of substantial change. Because the substratum persists, substantial change is not creation ex nihilo, but because it does not persist actually it is not a kind of accidental change. Aristotle uses this approach to solve the Problem of the Mixt and the Problem of Material Constitution without weakening his constraints on elementhood, generation, or substrata. This pure potentiality approach must be carefully distinguished from other ‘traditional’ or ‘prime matter’ views that posit some actuality for the substratum of substantial change, and it is best understood in light of the analogy found at Metaphysics Θ.6. Pure potentiality-for-substance can do the work needed in a substratum for substantial change because Aristotle is able to ground the identity, existence, and characterization of the substratum in the corrupting and generating substances rather than the substratum itself. (shrink)
I offer a fresh interpretation of the dialectical strategy of Physics 2.8’s arguments that things in nature happen for the sake of something. Whereas many recent interpreters have concluded that these arguments inevitably beg the question against Aristotle’s opponents, I argue that they constitute a careful attempt to build common ground with an opponent who rejects Aristotle’s basic worldview. This common ground, first articulated in the famous Winter Rain Argument, takes the form of an intriguing pattern of reasoning: that natural (...) proceedings that happen in a given manner always or for the most part do not do so by chance. (shrink)
The concept of kosmos did not play the leading role in Aristotle’s physics that it did in Pythagorean, Atomistic, Platonic, or Stoic physics. Although Aristotle greatly influenced the history of cosmology, he does not himself recognize a science of cosmology, a science taking the kosmos itself as the object of study with its own phenomena to be explained and its own principles that explain them. The term kosmos played an important role in two aspects of his predecessor’s accounts that Aristotle (...) rejected: first, cosmogeny and kosmopoiia, generation or creation of the kosmos; second, diakosmêsis, arranging of a plurality of kosmoi. Aristotle was extremely critical of accounts involving kosmopoiia and diakosmêsis and he developed general dialectical strategies against them. In emphatically distinguishing his view from all his predecessors (including Plato), he uses the terms ho ouranos (the heaven), to holon (the whole), and to pan (the totality) in preference to ho kosmos (the kosmos or world). There is usually no harm in speaking loosely of ‘Aristotle’s cosmology’ when referring to his concept of the order of nature and the ouranos. Nevertheless, Aristotle’s theoretical philosophy offers something very different from those of his predecessors for whom kosmos was a keyword. (shrink)
The main aim of my paper is to analyse Aristotle’s theory of language in the context of his Physics I.1 and via an analysis and an interpretation of this part of his Physics I try to show that (i) the study of human language (logos) significantly falls within the competence of Aristotle’s physics (i.e. natural philosophy), (ii) we can find the results of such (physical) inquiry in Aristotle’s zoological writings, stated in the forms of the first principles, causes and elements (...) of the human speech (logos) and (iii) the analogies (Phys. 184b13-14) made by Aristotle at the very end of the first chapter make better sense if we consider them in the broader context in which Aristotle recognizes language as a complex natural phenomenon we are born into and which has to be not only biologically, but also socially developed through our lives. Hence, I aim towards a more naturalistic reading of Aristotle’s views on language. (shrink)
This contribution offers an interpretation of the last half of chapter 1 of book 5 of Aristotle’s Physics in the form of a commentary. Among other things, it attempts an explanation of why Aristotle calls the termini of changes ‘something underlying’ (ὑποκείμενον) and ‘something not underlying’ (μὴ ὑποκείμενον). It also provides an analysis of Aristotle’s argument for the claim that what is not simpliciter does not change in the light of this interpretation.
Two things are often said about Aristotle's treatment of time in the Physics. First, that Aristotle's considered view of time is intrinsically tied to a language of temporal passage heavily dependent on the A-series. As such Aristotle's understanding of time is plagued with the perplexities that the A-series generates. Second, that the series of puzzles that Aristotle treats in IV.10, leading to the conclusion that time is non-existent, are left unanswered by Aristotle. Instead after presenting the puzzles having to do (...) with whether time is, Aristotle cannot move fast enough to his treatment of what time is, leaving the puzzles unresolved. This paper looks at these two issues together. The thesis is that the puzzles about the existence of time discussed by Aristotle at IV.10 are generated by a particularly naive version of the A-theory. Further, although Aristotle's answer to what time is incorporates elements of an A-theory of time, it manages to avoid just those particular puzzles discussed in IV.10 leading to the conclusion of time's non-existence. (shrink)
This paper reconstructs the relationship between the now, motion, and number in Aristotle to clarify the nature of the now, and, thereby, the relationship between motion and time. Although it is clear that for Aristotle motion, and, more generally, change, are prior to time, the nature of this priority is not clear. But if time is the number of motion, then the priority of motion can be grasped by examining his theory of number. This paper aims to show that, just (...) as numbers are generated by the soul, time is not presupposed by motion, but emerges through the soul’s articulation of motion. Time is co-constituted by the soul and motion. The now is the key to understanding both the contribution of motion and soul to the being of time. The now is part of the soul’s articulation of motion, and sets the stage for an act that distinguishes a unit from its underlying motion. The now, then, sets up an abstraction by which the soul generates the temporal number from motion. Reconstructing this account of abstraction allows us to formulate more strongly Aristotle’s claim to the ontological dependence of time on motion. The paper then gives a systematic overview of the relationships between the now and number in order to address the question of whether the now might be extended. It closes with an examination of the possibility that motion depends on time, and how universal time is possible. (shrink)
Aristotle’s most fundamental distinction between changes and other activities is not that ofMetaphysicsΘ.6, between end-exclusive and end-inclusive activities, but one implicit inPhysics3.1’s definition of change, between the activity of something incomplete and the activity of something complete. Notably, only the latter distinction can account for Aristotle’s view, inPhysics3.3, that ‘agency’—effecting change in something, e.g. teaching—does not qualify strictly as a change. This distinction informsDe Anima2.5 and imparts unity to Aristotle’s extended treatment of change inPhysics3.1-3.