Each Aristotelian science consists in the causal investigation of a specific department of reality. If successful, such an investigation results in causal knowledge; that is, knowledge of the relevant or appropriate causes. The emphasis on the concept of cause explains why Aristotle developed a theory of causality which is commonly known as the doctrine of the four causes. For Aristotle, a firm grasp of what a cause is, and how many kinds of causes there are, is essential for a successful (...) investigation of the world around us. (shrink)
Andrea Falcon's work is guided by the exegetical ideal of recreating the mind of Aristotle and his distinctive conception of the theoretical enterprise. In this concise exploration of the significance of the celestial world for Aristotle's science of nature, Falcon investigates the source of discontinuity between celestial and sublunary natures and argues that the conviction that the natural world exhibits unity without uniformity is the ultimate reason for Aristotle's claim that the heavens are made of a special body, unique to (...) them. This book presents Aristotle as a totally engaged, systematic investigator whose ultimate concern was to integrate his distinct investigations into a coherent interpretation of the world we live in, all the while mindful of human limitations to what can be known. Falcon reads in Aristotle the ambition of an extraordinarily curious mind and the confidence that that ambition has been largely fulfilled. (shrink)
To date, no comprehensive account has been published to explain the complex phenomenon of the reception of Aristotle’s philosophy in Antiquity. This Companion fills this lacuna by offering broad coverage of the subject from Hellenistic times to the sixth century AD.
Generation of Animals is one of Aristotle's most mature, sophisticated, and carefully crafted scientific writings. His overall goal is to provide a comprehensive and systematic account of how animals reproduce, including a study of their reproductive organs, what we would call fertilization, embryogenesis, and organogenesis. In this book, international experts present thirteen original essays providing a philosophically and historically informed introduction to this important work. They shed light on the unity and structure of the Generation of Animals, the main theses (...) that Aristotle defends in the work, and the method of inquiry he adopts. They also open up new avenues of exploration of this difficult and still largely unexplored work. The volume will be essential for scholars and students of ancient philosophy as well as of the history and philosophy of science. (shrink)
One important mode of philosophical expression from the end of the Hellenistic period and into Late Antiquity was the philosophical commentary. During this time Plato and Aristotle were regarded as philosophical authorities and their works were subject to intense study. This entry offers a concise account of how the revival of interest in the philosophy of Aristotle that took place towards the end of the Hellenistic period eventually developed into a new literary production: the philosophical commentary. It also follows the (...) commentary tradition into Late Antiquity in order to account for the vitality and richness of this tradition. The reader should keep in mind that the study of Aristotle in the form of the commentary did not mean the cessation of genuine philosophical thought. Quite the contrary: authors customarily used the commentary format not only to expound the works of Aristotle, but also as a vehicle for original philosophical theorizing. One consequence of this approach was that, at least at the beginning, the return to the works of Aristotle did not involve the.. (shrink)
As Aristotle himself says, A.Po. 2.13 is an attempt to provide some rules to hunt out the items predicated in what something is, namely to discover definitions. Since most of this chapter is devoted to the discussion of some rules of division , it may be inferred that somehow division plays a central role in the discovery of definitions. However, in the following pages I shall not discuss what this role is. Nor shall I discuss what place division has in (...) the wider discussion of definition and explanation as it emerges from A.Po. 2. 1 shall rather focus on the argument that Aristotle reports and discusses in A.Po. 2.13.97a6–22, and which our extant sources ascribe to Speusippus. As will become clear later on, this argument undermines the possibility of giving any definition, and Aristotle deals with it here because he can block it by exploiting some properties of the method of division. (shrink)
The name of Aëtius is linked to a compendium of physical opinions discovered and reconstructed by Hermann Diels in his Doxographi Graeci (Berlin 1879). Diels was able to show that a very complex doxographical tradition derives from a single work to be dated to the first century CE, which he attributed to an otherwise unknown person called Aëtius. Diels' reconstruction of this lost work provided the basis for his immensely influential collection of fragments, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (Berlin 1903). Diels' (...) discovery and reconstruction is currently being re-examined by Jaap Mansfeld and David Runia in a multi-volume editorial project entitled Aëtiana. The first volume of Aëtiana appeared in 1997.1 That volume deals with the hypothesis that a number of later authors derived their doxographical information from a common source to be identified with a work composed in about 100 CE by Aëtius. The upshot is that the Aëtius-hypothesis is sound but is also in need of revision and refinement. This second volume carries forward the investigation begun in the first volume. It is divided into two parts. The first part consists of a structural analysis of the compendium, and the second offers a reconstruction of its best preserved section, namely book 2. (shrink)
Exploring the systematic connections between Aristotle’s theory and practice of science has emerged as an important concern in recent years. On the one hand, we can invoke the theory of the Posterior Analytics to motivate specific moves that Aristotle makes in the course of his actual investigation of the natural world. On the other, we can use Aristotle’s practice of science to illuminate the theory of the Posterior Analytics, which is presented in a notoriously abstract, and at times also elliptical, (...) way. I would like to contribute to this interpretative tradition with a study of how Aristotle explains the phenomenon of sleep and waking. (shrink)
As Aristotle himself says, A.Po. 2.13 is an attempt to provide some rules to hunt out the items predicated in what something is, namely to discover definitions. Since most of this chapter is devoted to the discussion of some rules of division, it may be inferred that somehow division plays a central role in the discovery of definitions. However, in the following pages I shall not discuss what this role is. Nor shall I discuss what place division has in the (...) wider discussion of definition and explanation as it emerges from A.Po. 2. 1 shall rather focus on the argument that Aristotle reports and discusses in A.Po. 2.13.97a6–22, and which our extant sources ascribe to Speusippus. As will become clear later on, this argument undermines the possibility of giving any definition, and Aristotle deals with it here because he can block it by exploiting some properties of the method of division. (shrink)
Generation and Corruption II is concerned with Aristotle's theory of the elements, their reciprocal transformations and the cause of their perpetual generation and corruption. These matters are essential to Aristotle's picture of the world, making themselves felt throughout his natural science, including those portions of it that concern living things. What is more, the very inquiry Aristotle pursues in this text, with its focus on definition, generality, and causation, throws important light on his philosophy of science more generally. This volume (...) contains eleven new essays, one for each of the chapters of this Aristotelian text, plus a general introduction and an English translation of the Greek text. It gives substantial attention to an important and neglected text, and highlights its relevance to other topics of current and enduring interest. (shrink)
This book is a full study of the remaining evidence for Xenarchus of Seleucia, one of the earliest interpreters of Aristotle. Andrea Falcon places the evidence in its context, the revival of interest in Aristotle's philosophy that took place in the first century BCE. Xenarchus is often presented as a rebel, challenging Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition. Falcon argues that there is more to Xenarchus and his philosophical activity than an opposition to Aristotle; he was a creative philosopher, and his (...) views are best understood as an attempt to revise and update Aristotle's philosophy. By looking at how Xenarchus negotiated different aspects of Aristotle's philosophy, this book highlights elements of rupture as well as strands of continuity within the Aristotelian tradition. (shrink)
The late Mario Mignucci was one of the most authoritative, original, and influential scholars in the area of ancient philosophy, especially ancient logic. Collected here for the first time are sixteen of his most important essays on ancient logic, language, and metaphysics. These essays show a perceptive historian and a skillful logician philosophically engaged with issues that are still at the very heart of history and philosophy of logic, such as the nature of predication, identity, and modality. As well as (...) essays found in disparate publications, often not easily available online, the volume includes an article on Plato and the relatives translated into English for the first time and an unpublished paper on De interpretatione7. Mignucci thinks rigorously and writes clearly. He brings the deep knowledge of a scholar and the precision of a logician to bear on some of the trickiest topics in ancient philosophy. This collection deserves the close attention of anyone concerned with logic, language, and metaphysics, whether in ancient or contemporary philosophy. t philosophy. This collection deserves the close attention of anyone concerned with logic, language, and metaphysics, whether in ancient or contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
The De incessu animalium forms an integral part of Aristotle's biological corpus but is one of the least studied Aristotelian works both by ancient and modern interpreters. Yet it is a treatise where we can see, with some clarity and detail, Aristotle's methodology at work. This volume contains a new critical edition of the Greek text, an English translation, and nine in-depth interpretative essays. A general introduction that focuses on the explanatory strategies adopted by Aristotle in the De incessu animalium (...) plus a historical essay on the reception of this work in antiquity and beyond open the volume. No other work of this kind has been published in any modern language. (shrink)
This volume is a history of the concept of efficient causation in three parts. The natural starting point of this history is Aristotle, who claims to be the first to introduce the concept of the efficient cause. According to Aristotle, his predecessors had at most a confused and inadequate notion of this cause. By contrast, he has a theory of the four causes, and his treatment of the efficient cause is a part of that theory. Note, however, that Aristotle does (...) not speak of the efficient cause but rather of the first source of change. A careful analysis of what he says shows that his conception of this cause is only at first sight simple and familiar to us. On reflection, it turns out to be a rather complex.. (shrink)
In the first century bce Aristotle was subject to an intense textual study. This study eventually led to the appropriation of the conceptual apparatus developed in his writings. In the case of Xenarchus, the relevant apparatus was Aristotle’s theory of motion, with an emphasis on the concepts of natural place and natural motion. Xenarchus reworked Aristotle’s theory of motion so as to make the celestial simple body expendable. While I do not deny that some of his views are best understood (...) in light of the debates of late Hellenestic philosophy, I contend that his textual engagement presupposes the distance from Aristotle that is characteristic of Post-Hellenistic philosophy. Au 1er siècle av. J.-C. Aristote fit l’objet d’une étude textuelle intense. Cette étude mena à terme à une appropriation des outils conceptuels élaborés dans ses écrits. Dans le cas de Xénarchus, les outils pertinents concernèrent la théorie aristotélicienne du mouvement, avec un accent mis sur les concepts de lieu naturel et de mouvement naturel. Xénarchus remania la théorie aristotélicienne du mouvement de manière à rendre superflu le corps céleste simple. Sans nier que certaines de ses opinions doivent être comprises à la lumière des débats de la philosophie hellénistique tardive, je prétends que sa façon de lire présuppose une distanciation par rapport à Aristote qui est caractéristique de la philosophie post-hellénistique. (shrink)
Little attention has been directed to Plotinus’s philosophy of nature in contemporary scholarship, and we applaud in principle this attempt to investigate Plotinus’s understanding of the natural world and the ramifications this has for other areas of his thought.
In the Topics Aristotle makes largo use of division and constantly presupposes familiarity with this method on the part of the reader. But he rever provides eíther an official presentation or a direct discussion of division. The author would like to focus on Aristotle's use of division in order to show how it can be exploited to shed some light on the particular method of division which Aristotle implicitly acccepts, and relies on, in the Topics in order to get clearer (...) about certain basic rules governing the choice of the differentia in a division. (shrink)
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