American Journal of Philology 134 (1):155-159 (2013)

Mariska Leunissen
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
As the editors of this excellent little volume point out from the outset, Aristotle’s Physics VII.3 is a curious, difficult, and—sadly—mostly neglected chapter. On the one hand, the chapter discusses quite important matters. Offering one of the lengthiest discussions of qualitative change in the Aristotelian corpus, it starts out by restricting this type of change—not to changes in any of the four types of quality Aristotle had distinguished in Categories 8—but to change in perceptual qualities only . It then proceeds by demonstrating that two seeming counterexamples to this refined notion of qualitative change—namely, items taking on figures or shapes, and the taking on and casting off of states —are not in fact cases of qualitative change, even if their occurrence depends on qualitative changes taking place in something else. In the meantime, it offers a rare physiological account of the acquisition and loss of the ethical and intellectual virtues, thereby making the chapter not only crucial for our understanding of Aristotle’s physics and metaphysics but also for his moral psychology and ethics. On the other hand, the chapter is demanding, does not seem to fit in well within the argument of Physics VII as a whole , and the Greek has been handed down to us in two different versions
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DOI 10.1353/ajp.2013.0014
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