Apeiron 47 (2):245–265 (2014)

David Ebrey
Humboldt-University, Berlin
It is often claimed that Socrates rejects material causes in the Phaedo because they are not rational or not teleological. In this paper I argue for a new account: Socrates ultimately rejects material causes because he is committed to each change having a single cause. Because each change has a single cause, this cause must, on its own, provide an adequate explanation for the change. Material causes cannot provide an adequate explanation on their own and so Socrates rejects them. Aristotle agrees that material causes cannot explain changes on their own, but by allowing the same change to have multiple causes, he makes room for a material cause. Aristotle draws attention to the anti-Platonic implications of his four causes in a passage in Physics II.3 (195a3- 14) that has been overlooked by commentators.
Keywords Matter  Explanation  Cause  Plato's Phaedo  Aristotle's Physics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1515/apeiron-2013-0012
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: 60,901
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

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
41 ( #255,649 of 2,439,039 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #434,440 of 2,439,039 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes