Aristotle on the subject matter of geometry

Phronesis 54 (3):239-260 (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX


I offer a new interpretation of Aristotle's philosophy of geometry, which he presents in greatest detail in Metaphysics M 3. On my interpretation, Aristotle holds that the points, lines, planes, and solids of geometry belong to the sensible realm, but not in a straightforward way. Rather, by considering Aristotle's second attempt to solve Zeno's Runner Paradox in Book VIII of the Physics , I explain how such objects exist in the sensibles in a special way. I conclude by considering the passages that lead Jonathan Lear to his fictionalist reading of Met . M3,1 and I argue that Aristotle is here describing useful heuristics for the teaching of geometry; he is not pronouncing on the meaning of mathematical talk.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,098

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

177 (#114,381)

6 months
28 (#112,168)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Richard Pettigrew
University of Bristol

References found in this work

Aristotle’s Metaphysics: Books M and N.Julia Annas - 1976 - Philosophical Review 87 (3):479-485.
Aristotle on Geometrical Objects.Ian Mueller - 1970 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 52 (2):156-171.
XII*—Aristotelian Infinity.Jonathan Lear - 1980 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 80 (1):187-210.
Aristotle on Mathematical Objects.Edward Hussey - 1991 - Apeiron 24 (4):105 - 133.

View all 8 references / Add more references