This book explores a fundamental tension in Aristotle's metaphysics: how can an entity such as a living organisma composite generated through the imposition of form on preexisting matterhave the conceptual unity that Aristotle demands of ...
Plato famously promised to complement the Sophist and the Statesman with another work on a third sort of expert, the philosopher--but we do not have this final dialogue. Mary Louise Gill argues that Plato promised the Philosopher, but did not write it, in order to stimulate his audience and encourage his readers to work out, for themselves, the portrait it would have contained. The Sophist and Statesman are themselves members of a larger series starting with the Theaetetus, Plato's investigation of (...) knowledge, and the whole series relies on the Parmenides, the second part of which presents a philosophical exercise, introduced as the first step in a larger philosophical program. Gill contends that the dialogues leading up to the missing Philosopher, though they reach some substantive conclusions, are philosophical exercises of various sorts designed to train students in dialectic, the philosopher's method; and that a second version of the Parmenides exercise, closely patterned on it, spans parts of the Theaetetus and Sophist and brings the philosopher into view. This is the exercise about being, the subject-matter studied by Plato's philosopher. Plato hides the pieces of the puzzle and its solution in plain sight, forcing his students (and modern readers) to dig out the pieces and reconstruct the project. Gill reveals how, in finding the philosopher through the exercise, the student becomes a philosopher by mastering his methods. She shows that the target of Plato's exercise is internally related to its pedagogical purpose. (shrink)
The concept of self-motion is not only fundamental in Aristotle's argument for the Prime Mover and in ancient and medieval theories of nature, but it is also central to many theories of human agency and moral responsibility. In this collection of mostly new essays, scholars of classical, Hellenistic, medieval, and early modern philosophy and science explore the question of whether or not there are such things as self-movers, and if so, what their self-motion consists in. They trace the development of (...) the concept of self-motion from its formulation in Aristotle's metaphysics, cosmology, and philosophy of nature through two millennia of philosophical, religious, and scientific thought. This volume contains "Self-Movers" (David Furley), "Aristotle on Self-Motion" (Mary Louise Gill), "Aristotle on Perception, Appetition, and Self-Motion" (Cynthia Freeland), "Self-Movement and External Causation" (Susan Sauvé Meyer), "Aristotle on the Mind's Self-Motion" (Michael Wedin), "Mind and Motion in Aristotle" (Christopher Shields), "Aristotle's Prime Mover" (Aryeh Kosman), "The Transcendence of the Prime Mover" (Lindsay Judson), "Self-Motion in Stoic Philosophy" (David Hahm), "Duns Scotus on the Reality of Self-Change" (Peter King), "Ockham, Self-Motion, and the Will" (Calvin Normore), and "Natural Motion and Its Causes: Newton on the 'Vis Insita' of Bodies" (J. E. McGuire). Originally published in 1994. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905. (shrink)
"Gill's and Ryan's Parmenides is, simply, superb: the Introduction, more than a hundred pages long, is transparently clear, takes the reader meticulously through the arguments, avoids perverseness, and still manages to make sense of the dialogue as a whole; there is a fine selective bibliography; and those parts of the translation I have looked at in detail suggest that it too is very good indeed." --Christopher Rowe, _Phronesis_.
This book explores a fundamental tension in Aristotle's metaphysics: how can an entity such as a living organisma composite generated through the imposition of form on preexisting matterhave the conceptual unity that Aristotle demands of primary substances? Mary Louise Gill bases her treatment of the problem of unity, and of Aristotle's solution, on a fresh interpretation of the relation between matter and form. Challenging the traditional understanding of Aristotelian matter, she argues that material substances are subverted by matter and maintained (...) by form that controls the matter to serve a positive end. The unity of material substances thus involves a dynamic relation between resistant materials and directive ends. Aristotle on Substance offers both a general account of matter, form, and substantial unity and a specific assessment of particular Aristotelian arguments. At every point, Gill engages Aristotle on his own philosophical ground through the detailed analysis of central, and often controversial, texts from the Metaphysics, Physics, On Generation and Corruption, De Anima, De Caelo, and the biological works. The result is a coherent, firmly grounded rethinking of Aristotle's central metaphysical concepts and of his struggle toward a fully consistent theory of material substances. (shrink)
Aristotle's metaphysics has stimulated intense renewed debate in the past twenty years. Much of the discussion has focused on Metaphysics Z, Aristotle's fascinating and difficult investigation of substance , and to a lesser extent on H and Θ. The place of the central books within the larger project of First Philosophy in the Metaphysics has engaged scholars since antiquity, and that relationship has also been reexamined. In addition, scholars have been exploring the Metaphysics from various broader perspectives—first, in relation to (...) Aristotle's natural philosophy, his physics, biology, and psychology, and to the Organon, his so-called "logical" works, which include the Categories, Topics, and Posterior Analytics; and second, in relation to the broader philosophical tradition, both Plato before him and the ancient commentary tradition in late antiquity. (shrink)
Meteorology IV.12, the final chapter of Aristotle’s “chemical” treatise, is a major text for the traditional view that Aristotle believed in universal teleology, the idea that everything in the cosmos—including the elements, earth, water, air, and fire—is what it is because of the goal or good it serves. But in the context of the rest of Meteorology IV, a different picture emerges. Meteorology IV.1–11 analyze the dispositional properties of material compounds (malleability, elasticity, etc.), examine the behavior of stuffs when heated (...) and cooled, and provide the resources to classify kinds in terms of their material composition and dispositional properties. Meteorology IV.12 places itself within that larger investigation but takes a different approach, examining those same materials from the perspective of their functions in bodies of greater complexity (e.g., the function of flesh in an organism). I argue that the teleological account of, say, the elements is limited to their function in the composition of complex kinds, such as living organisms, and that outside such a complex the elements behave as they do, not for the sake of some good they serve but “of necessity,” according to their material natures and interactions with other materials. (shrink)
Aristotle's conception of being is dynamic. He believes that a thing is most itself when engaged in its proper activities, governed by its nature. This paper explores this idea by focusing on Metaphysics , a text that continues the investigation of substantial being initiated inMetaphysics Z. Q.1 claims that there are two potentiality-actuality distinctions, one concerned with potentiality in the strict sense, which is involved in change, the other concerned with potentiality in another sense, which he says is more useful (...) for the present project. His present project is the investigation of substantial being, and the relevant potentiality is the potentiality for activity, the full manifestation of what a thing is. I explore Aristotle's two potentiality-actuality distinctions AND argue that the second distinction is modeled on the first, with one crucial modification. Whereas a change is brought about by something other than the object or by the object itself considered as other (as when a doctor cures himself), an activity is brought about byte object itself considered as itself. This single modification yields an important difference: whereas a change leads to a state other than the one an object was previously in, an activity maintains or develops what an object already is. (shrink)
This volume presents fourteen essays by leading figures in the fields of ancient philosophy and contemporary metaphysics, discussing Aristotle's theory of the unity and identity of substances, a topic that remains at the center of metaphysical enquiry. The contributors examine the nature of essences, how they differ from other components of substance, and how they are related to these other components. The central questions discussed are: What does Aristotle mean by "potentiality" and "actuality?" How do these concepts explicate matter and (...) form, and how are they related to the actuality of a substance? What is the role of actuality in accounting for the unity and identity of substance? These questions are crucial to an understanding of the unity of composite substances and their identity over time. The aim of the volume is both exegetical and philosophical: to give answers to central problems in Aristotle's metaphysics, and also to stimulate further investigation of the problems defined and the controversies embodied. (shrink)
Dans la première partie duParménide, Socrate présente une théorie des Formes qui explique la comprésence d’opposés dans les choses ordinaires et soutient que les Formes ne peuvent avoir des caractéristiques opposées. Dans la deuxième partie, Parménide s’appuie sur les propos de Socrate; il en dérive des conséquences inacceptables — que la Forme de l’Un n’existe pas, et ainsi, que rien n’existe. Cette conclusion est indéniablement fausse. Pour éviter ceci, Socrate doit abandonner la thèse exposée dans la première partie et trouver (...) une manière de préserver la fonction explicative des Formes. Cet article expose la structure de l’exercice qui occupe la deuxième partie du dialogue. (shrink)
: Aristotle's metaphysics has stimulated intense renewed debate in the past twenty years. Much of the discussion has focused on Metaphysics Z, Aristotle's fascinating and difficult investigation of substance (ousia), and to a lesser extent on H and Θ. The place of the central books within the larger project of First Philosophy in the Metaphysics has engaged scholars since antiquity, and that relationship has also been reexamined. In addition, scholars have been exploring the Metaphysics from various broader perspectives—first, in relation (...) to Aristotle's natural philosophy, his physics, biology, and psychology, and to the Organon, his so-called "logical" works, which include the Categories, Topics, and Posterior Analytics; and second, in relation to the broader philosophical tradition, both Plato before him and the ancient commentary tradition in late antiquity. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: Theory and Critique of Forms in the Parmenides Scope of Forms (Prm. 130b1–e4) Whole–Part Dilemma (Prm. 130e4–131e7) Largeness Regress (Prm. 132a1–b2) Likeness Regress (Prm. 132c12–133a7) Conclusion.
Metaphysics Θ treats potentiality (δύναμις) and actuality (ἐνέργεια), and many scholars think that Aristotle broaches these topics once he has answered his main questions in Ζ and Η. In Ζ he asked, what is primary being? After arguing in Ζ.1 that substance (οὐσία) is primary being—a being existentially, logically, and epistemologically prior to quantities and qualities and other categorial beings—he devotes the rest of the book to οὐσία itself, investigating what it is, to decide what entities count as primary substances. (...) I differ from the leading interpretative consensus that ΖΗ adequately answer the questions about primary substance, and contend instead that Metaphysics Θ continues the same investigation as ΖΗ and, using δύναμις and ἐνέργεια as tools, arrives at a striking new conception of hylomorphism, different from that in ΖΗ, which enables Aristotle to defend the substantial primacy of living organisms consisting of matter and form. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: What is First Philosophy? The Science of Being qua Being Categories and Change What Being is Primary? Overview of Metaphysics Z Subject Essence The Problem of Matter The Status of Form Potentiality and Actuality Form–Matter Predication Form and Functional Matter Primary Substances Theology Bibliography.
A central exegetical problem in Aristotelian studies is deciding how best to deal with apparent inconsistencies in his writings. Early this century, Werner Jaeger, challenging unitarian approaches of the previous century, argued that conflicting views could be reconciled by relegating them to different stages of Aristotle's philosophical career. Although scholars have questioned some of Jaeger's specific proposals, genetic explanations of inconsistencies are still widely adopted.