Review of Metaphysics 65 (2):321-349 (2011)

Silvia Carli
Skidmore College
This paper offers an interpretation and a defense of Aristotle’s view of history. According to a common reading of the Poetics, the philosopher intends to establish a dichotomy between history and poetry. On this view, the former speaks only of particulars because it relates events that are accidentally related to one another, whereas the latter speaks of universals because it organizes events according to causal relations of probability and necessity. A careful reading of the relevant passages of the Poetics and the analysis of his conception of historia as a preliminary inquiry that leads to the philosophical investigation of causes and principles, however, show that Aristotle did not confine history to the realm of particulars. Rather, he acknowledged that it has some connection with universality, and to that extent, that it partakes in the philosophical nature of poetry. At the same time he provided valid indications to the effect that, despite their affinity, historia and poiêtikê differ in kind, because they are defined by different functions (erga)
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph2011652378
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 54,676
External links

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

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
37 ( #269,014 of 2,386,584 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #554,109 of 2,386,584 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes