_Selections_ seeks to provide an accurate and readable translation that will allow the reader to follow Aristotle's use of crucial technical terms and to grasp the details of his argument. Unlike anthologies that combine translations by many hands, this volume includes a fully integrated set of translations by a two-person team. The glossary--the most detailed in any edition--explains Aristotle's vocabulary and indicates the correspondences between Greek and English words. Brief notes supply alternative translations and elucidate difficult passages.
The Oxford Translation of Aristotle was originally published in 12 volumes between 1912 and 1954. It is universally recognized as the standard English version of Aristotle. This revised edition contains the substance of the original Translation, slightly emended in light of recent scholarship three of the original versions have been replaced by new translations and a new and enlarged selection of Fragments has been added. The aim of the translation remains the same: to make the surviving works of (...)Aristotle readily accessible to English speaking readers. (shrink)
I discuss the argument Aristotle ascribes to Parmenides at Physics 186a23-32. I discuss (i) the reasons why Aristotle considers it as eristic and inconclusive and (i) the solution (lusis) Aristotle proposes against it.
In what ways and how far does virtue shield someone against suffering evils? In other words, how do non-moral evils affect the lives of virtuous people and to what extent can someone endure evils while staying happy? The central purpose of this chapter is to answer these questions by exploring what Aristotle has to say about the effects of evils in human well-being in general and his treatment of extreme misfortunes.
For Aristotle, human cognition has a lot in common both with non-human animal cognition and with divine cognition. With non-human animals, humans share a non-rational part of the soul and non-rational cognitive faculties (DA 427b6–14, NE 1102b29 and EE 1219b24–6). With gods, humans share a rational part of the soul and rational cognitive faculties (NE 1177b17– 1178a8). The rational part and the non-rational part of the soul, however, coexist and cooperate only in human souls (NE 1102b26–9, EE 1219b28–31). In (...) this chapter, I show that a study of this cooperation helps to uncover some distinctive aspects of human cognition and desire. (shrink)
This paper is on Aristotle's conception of the continuum. It is argued that although Aristotle did not have the modern conception of real numbers, his account of the continuum does mirror the topology of the real number continuum in modern mathematics especially as seen in the work of Georg Cantor. Some differences are noted, particularly as regards Aristotle's conception of number and the modern conception of real numbers. The issue of whether Aristotle had the notion of (...) open versus closed intervals is discussed. Finally, it is suggested that one reason there is a common structure between Aristotle's account of the continuum and that found in Cantor's definition of the real number continuum is that our intuitions about the continuum have their source in the experience of the real spatiotemporal world. A plea is made to consider Aristotle's abstractionist philosophy of mathematics anew. (shrink)
I discuss how Aristotle’s formulation of the problem of moral luck relates to his natural philosophy. I review well-known passages from Nicomachean Ethics I/X and Eudemian Ethics I/VII and Physics II, but in the main focus on EE VII 14 (= VIII 2). I argue that Aristotle’s position there (rejecting the elimination of luck, but reducing luck so far as possible to incidental natural and intelligent causes) is not only consistent with his treatment of luck in Physics II, (...) but is to be expected, given that the dialectical path of EE VII 14 runs exactly parallel to that of Physics II 4-6. Although Aristotle resolves some issues that he raises, he cannot avoid the problem of constitutive moral luck that, as Thomas Nagel puts it, pertains to ‘the kind of person you are, where this is not just a question of what you deliberately do, but of your inclinations, capacities, and temperament’. The problem for Aristotle follows not only from his ethical positions, but also directly from his more general physical and political principles and assumptions. Furthermore, the problem touches the very essence of Aristotle’s moral theory. (shrink)
How does Aristotle view the production of females? The prevailing view is that Aristotle thinks female births are teleological failures of a process aiming to produce males. However, as I argue, that is not a view Aristotle ever expresses, and it blatantly contradicts what he does explicitly say about female births: Aristotle believes that females are and come to be for the sake of something, namely, reproduction. I argue that an alternative to that prevailing view, according (...) to which the embryo’s sex is determined solely by “non-teleological necessity,” also misrepresents Aristotle’s view. As I show, the explanation Aristotle gives is more sophisticated and less egalitarian than the alternative account allows: There is some sense in which males are, for Aristotle, the “default” result. I offer instead an interpretation that can accommodate the asymmetry between Aristotle’s biological account of the production of males and females, but which does not imply that females are thereby teleological failures. There is no doubt that Aristotle thinks females are inferior to males in many respects. However, if he thinks that inferiority is grounded in biological facts, it is not the fact that females are the results of a failure of form to be realized. (shrink)
Aristotle outlines two methods in De Anima that one can employ when one investigates the soul. The first focuses on the exercises of a living organism’s vital capacities and the proper objects upon which these activities are directed. The second focuses on a living organism’s nature, its internal principle of movement and rest, and the single end for the sake of which this principle is exercised. I argue that these two methods yield importantly different, and prima facie incompatible, views (...) about what souls are. According to the first, the soul is a set of independently specifiable capacities that are related to one another in a manner that effects a unity of soul over and above the multiplicity. According to the second, the soul is a single, unitary nature that has a living organism’s form as its end. I bring the differences between these two conceptions of soul into relief and then attempt to reconcile the opposing views in a way privileges the conception according to which the soul is a unitary nature. In doing so, I discuss the following interrelated topics: (a) what makes a capacity a part of soul, (b) the relationship between the parts of soul within a given organism, (c) how a soul can be a unity while comprising various parts, (d) whether it is possible to give an adequate definition of life or soul, (e) what unity obtains among the various ways life is said that would allow for a proper, scientific investigation of life, and (f) the principle that grounds the hierarchy of souls—the nutritive, the perceptual, and the rational. (shrink)
We hope to show that the overall protreptic plan of Aristotle's ethical writings is based on the plan he used in his published work Protrepticus (Exhortation to Philosophy), by highlighting those passages that primarily offer hortatory or protreptic motivation rather than dialectical argumentation and analysis, and by illustrating several ways that Aristotle adapts certain arguments and examples from his Protrepticus. In this essay we confine our attention to the books definitely attributable to the Nicomachean Ethics (thus excluding the (...) common books). (shrink)
Aristotle rejected the idea of a single, overarching super-science or “theory of everything”, and he presented a powerful and influential critique of scientific unity. In theory, each science observes the facts unique to its domain, and explains these by means of its own proper principles. But even as he elaborates his prohibition on kind-crossing explanations (Posterior Analytics 1.6-13), Aristotle points out that there are important exceptions—that some sciences are “under” others in that they depend for their explanations on (...) the principles of a superior (more architectonic) science. In this paper, I explore how subordination relations and architectonic structures apply to Aristotle’s scientific practice—including not only the works of theoretical philosophy, which have already been discussed in this connection, but also in and between these and the practical and productive sciences. (shrink)
How, and why, does Earth (the element) move to the centre of Aristotle's Universe? In this paper, I argue that we cannot understand why it does so by reference merely to the nature of Earth, or the attractive force of the Centre. Rather, we have to understand the role that Earth plays in the cosmic order. Thus, in Aristotle, the behaviour of the elements is explained as one explains the function of organisms in a living organism.
In Physics 4.11, Aristotle discusses a sophistical puzzle in which "being Coriscus-in-the-Lyceum is different from being Coriscus-in-the-market-place." I take this puzzle to threaten the persistence of changing entities. Aristotle's answer to the puzzle is that the changing thing "is the same in respect of that, by (means of) being which at any time it is (what it is), S but in definition it is different." That is, Coriscus may be described as either a persisting substrate or as one (...) or more accidental unities. Described as the former, Coriscus persists, but described as the latter, he does not. (shrink)
Aristotle’s theory of human happiness in the Nicomachean Ethics explicitly depends on the claim that contemplation (theôria) is peculiar to human beings, whether it is our function or only part of it. But there is a notorious problem: Aristotle says that divine beings also contemplate. Various solutions have been proposed, but each has difficulties. Drawing on an analysis of what divine contemplation involves according to Aristotle, I identify an assumption common to all of these proposals and argue (...) for rejecting it. This allows a straightforward solution to the problem and there is evidence that Aristotle would have adopted it. (shrink)
Aristotle’s philosophy is considered with respect to one central concept of his philosophy, viz. opposition. Far from being a mere side-effect of syllogistic, it is argued in the present paper that opposition helps to articulate ontology and logic through an account of what can be or cannot be in a systematic and structural way. The paper is divided into three main parts. In Section I, the notion of Being is scrutinized through Aristotle’s theory of categories. In Section II, (...) the notion of Non-Being is connected to Aristotle’s theory of oppositions. In Section III, the notion of essence is revisited in order to bring about a holist theory of meaning by individuating through opposite properties. In conclusion, the legacy of Aristotle is depicted as balanced between a powerful reflection around Being and a restrictive ontology of substance. (shrink)
In Physics, Aristotle starts his positive account of the infinite by raising a problem: “[I]f one supposes it not to exist, many impossible things result, and equally if one supposes it to exist.” His views on time, extended magnitudes, and number imply that there must be some sense in which the infinite exists, for he holds that time has no beginning or end, magnitudes are infinitely divisible, and there is no highest number. In Aristotle's view, a plurality cannot (...) escape having bounds if all of its members exist at once. Two interesting, and contrasting, interpretations of Aristotle's account can be found in the work of Jaako Hintikka and of Jonathan Lear. Hintikka tries to explain the sense in which the infinite is actually, and the sense in which its being is like the being of a day or a contest. Lear focuses on the sense in which the infinite is only potential, and emphasizes that an infinite, unlike a day or a contest, is always incomplete. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: This is a little piece directed at the newcomer to Aristotle, making some general remarks about reading Aristotle at the beginning and end, with sandwiched in between, a brief and much simplified discussion of some common misunderstandings of Aristotle's philosophy, concerning spontaneity, causal indeterminism, freedom-to-do-otherwise, free choice, agent causation, logical determinism, teleological determinism, artistic creativity and freedom (eleutheria).
Of Aristotle’s core terms, potency (dunamis) and actuality (energeia) are among the most important. But when we attempt to understand what they mean, we face the following problem: their primary meaning is movement, as a source (dunamis) or as movement itself (energeia). We therefore have to understand movement in order to understand them. But the structure of movement is itself articulated using these terms: it is the activity of a potential being, as potent. This paper examines this hermeneutic circle, (...) and works out a strategy for reading Aristotle based on his conception of our epistemological predicament. This hermeneutic approach helps us gain access to the phenomena of movement and its sources (potency, and energeia). The paper closes with a review of the conceptual resources we deploy to think about movement: homogeneity, space and time, impulse, relativity, the blend of sameness and difference, and being and non-being. Showing that Aristotle uses none of these clears the landscape for a fresh inquiry into his account of movement. (shrink)
This essay argues that Aristotle’s view of memory is more like that of the modern psychologist than that of a modern philosopher; he is more interested in accurately delineating different kinds of memory than in discussing philosophical problems of memory. The short treatise On Memory and Recollection is considered a treatise on memory and loosely associated phenomenon and recollection. It is suggested that this work is better regarded as a treatise on two kinds of memory.
In De Anima, Aristotle, following his predecessor Plato, argues that the human soul has two parts, the rational and the irrational. Yet, unlike Plato, he thinks that the two parts necessarily form a unity. This is mostly evident in emotions, which seem to be constituted by both, a cognitive element, such as beliefs and expectations about one's situation, as well as, non-cognitive elements such as physical sensations. Indeed, in de Anima Aristotle argues that beliefs, bodily motion and physiological (...) changes, constitute the emotion. Hence, he avoids making sharp divisions between the cognitive (or rational) and non-cognitive or (non-rational) elements of emotion. Aristotle treats emotions as purposeful responses to our world, and in doing so, he avoids the problems that afflict the (until recently prominent) physiological theories according to which emotions are just irrational, uncontrolled responses to situations. Although our emotions can be irrational, more often than not they are rational. This is most evident in Aristotle's discussion in the Nicomachean Ethics, in which correct emotion is a large part of virtue. For instance, a courageous person when in a dangerous situation is neither fearless nor overwhelmed by fear. The complexity of Aristotle's view of emotion is nowhere more evident than in his analysis of anger in the Rhetoric. There, Aristotle argues that anger requires certain moral beliefs about the wrongness of contempt, spite and insolence, beliefs about our status and how we should be treated, a desire for revenge, and pleasure in the contemplation of revenge. Only the last thirty years or so psychologists and philosophers have started to develop theories of emotion of such complexity. Indeed, in psychology the prominent view seems to be the Schachter and Singer theory, which to a great extent resembles Aristotle's view. Schachter and Singer in their paper "Cognitive, Social and Physiological Determinants of Emotional State" argue against the then prominent James-Lange view, according to which emotions are bodily sensations and physiological changes. Schachter and Singer believe, like Aristotle, that emotions cannot be just dumb responses to situations. Although they recognize that emotion may be a physiological change or bodily sensation, they think that there must be another factor that would account for the variety of our emotions and our ability to distinguish and identify them. Schacther and Singer argue, as Aristotle did, that emotions involve both cognitive and non-cognitive elements in various degrees of complexity. According to them a subject identifies his physiological states of arousal as emotions in terms of the cognition offered to him or her. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate both views, and argue that Aristotle's account of emotion, not only resembles contemporary theories such as Schachter and Singer's, but also in many respects, it is paramount in complexity and insight. (shrink)
In this chapter I take up the question of how Aristotle understood the relationship between the contemplative life and the active life in contributing to human flourishing and to the political regime. While the connections between Aristotle’s ethics and politics are abundant, there exists a prevalent assumption in the inclusive/dominant debate concerning the interpretation of eudaimonia (human flourishing) that Aristotle’s Politics cannot or should not play a prominent role in helping to understand eudaimonia. On the ‘inclusivist’ reading, (...) eudaimonia is understood as being a composite of all human goods or virtues. On the ‘dominant’ reading, eudaimonia is understood as being a single dominant good, theōria (contemplation). With this chapter I offer a competing interpretation which is in some ways similar to the recent ‘all-inclusive’ reading, but which relies heavily on the connection between Aristotle’s ethics and politics in order to explain how theōria fits into humans’ composite and political nature. (shrink)
In Posterior Analytics 71b9 12, we find Aristotle’s definition of scientific knowledge. The definiens is taken to have only two informative parts: scientific knowledge must be knowledge of the cause and its object must be necessary. However, there is also a contrast between the definiendum and a sophistic way of knowing, which is marked by the expression “kata sumbebekos”. Not much attention has been paid to this contrast. In this paper, I discuss Aristotle’s definition paying due attention to (...) this contrast and to the way it interacts with the two conditions presented in the definiens. I claim that the “necessity” condition ammounts to explanatory appropriateness of the cause. (shrink)
Monte Johnson examines one of the most controversial aspects of Aristiotle's natural philosophy: his teleology. Is teleology about causation or explanation? Does it exclude or obviate mechanism, determinism, or materialism? Is it focused on the good of individual organisms, or is god or man the ultimate end of all processes and entities? Is teleology restricted to living things, or does it apply to the cosmos as a whole? Does it identify objectively existent causes in the world, or is it merely (...) a heuristic for our understanding of other causal processes? Johnson argues that Aristotle's aporetic approach drives a middle course between these traditional oppositions, and avoids the dilemma, frequently urged against teleology, between backwards causation and anthropomorphism. Although these issues have been debated with extraordinary depth by Aristotle scholars, and touched upon by many in the wider philosophical and scientific community as well, there has been no comprehensive historical treatment of the issue. Aristotle is commonly considered the inventor of teleology, although the precise term originated in the eighteenth century. But if teleology means the use of ends and goals in natural science, then Aristotle was rather a critical innovator of teleological explanation. Teleological notions were widespread among his predecessors, but Aristotle rejected their conception of extrinsic causes such as mind or god as the primary causes for natural things. Aristotle's radical alternative was to assert nature itself as an internal principle of change and an end, and his teleological explanations focus on the intrinsic ends of natural substances - those ends that benefit the natural thing itself. Aristotle's use of ends was subsequently conflated with incompatible 'teleological' notions, including proofs for the existence of a providential or designer god, vitalism and animism, opposition to mechanism and non-teleological causation, and anthropocentrism. Johnson addresses these misconceptions through an elaboration of Aristotle's methodological statements, as well as an examination of the explanations actually offered in the scientific works. Reviewed in: Notre Dame Philosophical Review 2006.06.15; Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006.08.37; Il-Sole – 24 Ore 6 Aug. 2006; Philosophy in Review 26 (2006): 360-2; Rhizai 3 (2006): 171-8; Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (2007): 323-4; Ancient Philosophy 27 (2007): 191-200; Phronesis 52 (2007): 248-9; Isis 98 (2007): 375; Aestimatio 4 (2007) 146-152; The British Journal for the History of Science 41 (2008): 129-130. The European Legacy 14 (2009); La Cultura 47 (2009): 174-175; Sean M. Row, Teleology in Political Contexts: an assessment of Monte Ransome Johnson’s “Aristotle on Teleology”. (A thesis presented to the faculty of the college of arts and sciences of Ohio University, 2009.). (shrink)
I discuss an important feature of the notion of cause in Post. An. 1. 13, 78b13–28, which has been either neglected or misunderstood. Some have treated it as if Aristotle were introducing a false principle about explanation; others have understood the point in terms of coextensiveness of cause and effect. However, none offers a full exegesis of Aristotle's tangled argument or accounts for all of the text's peculiarities. My aim is to disentangle Aristotle's steps to show that (...) he is arguing in favour of a logical requirement for a middle term's being the appropriate cause of its explanandum. Coextensiveness between the middle term and the attribute it explains is advanced as a sine qua non condition of a middle term's being an appropriate or primary cause. This condition is not restricted either to negative causes or to middle terms in second‐figure syllogisms, but ranges over all primary causes qua primary. (shrink)
Aristotle’s works on natural science show that he was aware of the affective powers of colour. At De an. 421a13, for example, he writes that hard-eyed animals can only discriminate between frightening and non-frightening colours. In the Nicomachean Ethics, furthermore, colours are the source of pleasures and delight. These pleasures, unlike the pleasures of touch and taste, neither corrupt us nor make us wiser. Aristotle’s views on the affective powers of colours raise a question about the limits he (...) seems to place on the affective powers of pictures at De an. 427b15-24, where he implies that pictures do not affect us immediately. In this paper, I examine the contrast between the affective powers of colour and the affective powers of pictures. I argue that colours can give rise to pleasure and pain in themselves and generate emotions incidentally. Similarly, pictures can please us or affect us in themselves and incidentally. In light of this account, I suggest that, on a plausible reading of De an. 427b15-24, the affective powers of pictures as mimetic objects are not immediate because they require an intervening cause in order to be effective. The representations of pictures and statues affect us either with the mediation of deception or with the mediation of interpretation. (shrink)
Aristotle's discussion of perceiving that we perceive has points of contact with two contemporary debates about consciousness: the first over whether consciousness is an intrinsic feature of mental states or a higher-order thought or perception; the second concerning the qualitative nature of experience. In both cases, Aristotle's views cut down the middle of an apparent dichotomy, in a way that does justice to each set of intuitions, while avoiding their attendant difficulties. With regard to the first issue?the primary (...) focus of this paper?he argues that consciousness is both intrinsic and higher-order, due to its reflexive nature. This, in turn, has consequences for the second issue, where again Aristotle seeks out the middle ground. He is committed against qualia in any strong sense of the term. Yet he also holds that the phenomenal quality of experience is not exhausted by its representational content. (shrink)
This book is the first to offer a detailed analysis of Aristotelian and Kantian ethics together, in a way that remains faithful to the texts and responsive to debates in contemporary ethics. Recent moral philosophy has seen a revival of interest in the concept of virtue, and with it a reassessment of the role of virtue in the work of Aristotle and Kant. This book brings that re-assessment to a new level of sophistication. Nancy Sherman argues that Kant preserves (...) a notion of virtue in his moral theory that bears recognisable traces of the Aristotelian and Stoic traditions, and that his complex anthropology of morals brings him into surprising alliance with Aristotle. She develops her argument through close readings of major texts by both Aristotle and Kant, illustrating points of congruence and contrast. (shrink)
In fragments of the lost Protrepticus, preserved in Iamblichus, Aristotle responds to Isocrates’ worries about the excessive demandingness of theoretical philosophy. Contrary to Isocrates, Aristotle holds that such philosophy is generally feasible for human beings. In defense of this claim, Aristotle offers the progress argument, which appeals to early Greek philosophers’ rapid success in attaining exact understanding. In this paper, I explore and evaluate this argument. After making clarificatory exegetical points, I examine the argument’s premises in light (...) of pressing worries that the argument reasonably faces in its immediate intellectual context, the dispute between Isocrates and Aristotle. I also relate the argument to modern concerns about philosophical progress. I contend that the argument withstands these worries, and thereby constitutes a reasonable Aristotelian response to the Isocratean challenge. (shrink)
This essay takes a first step in comparative ethics by looking to Aristotle and the Aztec's conceptions of the good life. It argues that the Aztec conception of a rooted life, neltiliztli, functions for ethical purposes in a way that is like Aristotle's eudaimonia. To develop this claim, it not only shows just in what their conceptions of the good consist, but also in what way the Aztecs conceived of the virtues (in qualli, in yectli).
In this article I compare and, especially, contrast Aristotle’s conception of virtue with one typical of sub-Saharan philosophers. I point out that the latter is strictly other-regarding, and specifically communitarian, and contend that the former, while including such elements, also includes some self-regarding or individualist virtues, such as temperance and knowledge. I also argue that Aristotle’s conception of human excellence is more attractive than the sub-Saharan view as a complete account of how to live, but that the African (...) conception is a strong contender for a limited group of the most important virtues related to morality qua rightness. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article deals with the communicational aspects of Aristotle’s theory of signification as laid out in the initial chapters of the De Interpretatione (Int.).1 We begin by outlining the reception and main interpretations of the chapters under discussion, rather siding with the linguistic strand. We then argue that the first four chapters present an account of verbal communication, in which words signify things via thoughts. We show how Aristotle determines voice as a conventional and hence accidental medium (...) of signification: words as ‘spoken sounds’ are tokens of thoughts, which in turn are signs or natural likenesses of things. We argue that, in this way, linguistic expressions may both signify thoughts and refer to things. This double account of signification also explains the variety of ontological, logical and psychological interpretations of the initial chapters of Int. (shrink)
Aristotle and Confucius are pivotal figures in world history; nevertheless, Western and Eastern cultures have in modern times largely abandoned the insights of these masters. Remastering Morals provides a book-length scholarly comparison of the ethics of Aristotle and Confucius. May Sim's comparisons offer fresh interpretations of the central teachings of both men. More than a catalog of similarities and differences, her study brings two great traditions into dialog so that each is able to learn from the other. This (...) is essential reading for anyone interested in virtue-oriented ethics. (shrink)
I argue there are two ways predication relations can hold according to the Categories: they can hold directly or they can hold mediately. The distinction between direct and mediated predication is a distinction between whether or not a given prediction fact holds in virtue of another predication fact’s holding. We can tell Aristotle endorses this distinction from multiple places in the text where he licenses an inference from one predication fact’s holding to another predication fact’s holding. The best explanation (...) for each such inference is that he takes some predication facts to be mediated by others. Once the distinction between direct and mediated predication has been explained and argued for, I show how it can help solve a persistent problem for the traditional view of non-substantial particulars in the Categories—that is, the view that non-substantial particulars are particular in the sense of being non-recurrent. Along with vindicating the traditional view, the direct/mediated predication distinction gives us a distinctive way of understanding what it is for something to be recurrent (or non-recurrent) as well as a better understanding of Aristotle’s broader commitments in the Categories as a whole. (shrink)
The belief that Aristotle opposes potency (dunamis) to actuality (energeia or entelecheia) has gone untested. This essay defines and distinguishes forms of the Opposition Hypothesis—the Actualization, Privation, and Modal—examining the texts and arguments adduced to support them. Using Aristotle’s own account of opposition, the texts appear instead to show that potency and actuality are compatible, while arguments for their opposition produce intractable problems. Notably, Aristotle’s refutation of the Megarian Identity Hypothesis applies with equal or greater force to (...) the Opposition Hypothesis. For Aristotle, then, potency and actuality are compatible. (shrink)
Aristotle appears to claim at Nicomachean Ethics 10.8, 1178a9 that there are two kinds of happy life: one theoretical, one practical. This claim is notoriously problematic and does not follow from anything that Aristotle has said to that point. However, the apparent claim depends on supplying 'happy' or 'happiest' from the previous sentence, as is standard among translators and interpreters. I argue for an alternative supplement that commits Aristotle to a much less problematic and unexpected position and (...) permits a wider variety of interpretations of Aristotle’s overall theory of happiness. (shrink)
Aristotle's account of external goods in Nicomachean Ethics I 8-12 is often thought to amend his narrow claim that happiness is virtuous activity. I argue, to the contrary, that on Aristotle's account, external goods are necessary for happiness only because they are necessary for virtuous activity. My case innovates in three main respects: I offer a new map of EN I 8-12; I identify two mechanisms to explain why virtuous activity requires external goods, including a psychological need for (...) external goods; and I show the relevance of Aristotle's distinction between wishing and choosing. On the view I attribute to Aristotle, our capacity to choose virtuously requires, first, that we wish for external goods (because virtue requires the right attitudes of evaluation) and, second, that these wishes are generally fulfilled (because the social consequences and psychological pain of unfulfilled wishes undermine our opportunity to act virtuously and to take pleasure in acting virtuously). I close with discussion of how Aristotelians should defend this approach. (shrink)
I argue that a study of the Nicomachean Ethics and of the Parva Naturalia shows that Aristotle had a notion of attention. This notion captures the common aspects of apparently different phenomena like perceiving something vividly, being distracted by a loud sound or by a musical piece, focusing on a geometrical problem. For Aristotle, these phenomena involve a specific selectivity that is the outcome of the competition between different cognitive stimuli. This selectivity is attention. I argue that (...) class='Hi'>Aristotle studied the common aspects of the physiological processes at the basis of attention and its connection with pleasure. His notion can explain perceptual attention and intellectual attention as voluntary or involuntary phenomena. In addition, it sheds light on how attention and enjoyment can enhance our cognitive activities. (shrink)
This presentation of Aristotle's natural deduction system supplements earlier presentations and gives more historical evidence. Some fine-tunings resulted from conversations with Timothy Smiley, Charles Kahn, Josiah Gould, John Kearns,John Glanvillle, and William Parry.The criticism of Aristotle's theory of propositions found at the end of this 1974 presentation was retracted in Corcoran's 2009 HPL article "Aristotle's demonstrative logic".
In Metaphysics Z.6, Aristotle argues that each substance is the same as its essence. In this paper, I defend an identity reading of that claim. First, I provide a general argument for the identity reading, based on Aristotle’s account of sameness in number and identity. Second, I respond to the recent charge that the identity reading is incoherent, by arguing that the claim in Z.6 is restricted to primary substances and hence to forms.
Aristotle is said to have held that any kind of actual infinity is impossible. I argue that he was a finitist (or "potentialist") about _magnitude_, but not about _plurality_. He did not deny that there are, or can be, infinitely many things in actuality. If this is right, then it has implications for Aristotle's views about the metaphysics of parts and points.
Although the theory of the assertoric syllogism was Aristotle's great invention, one which dominated logical theory for the succeeding two millenia, accounts of the syllogism evolved and changed over that time. Indeed, in the twentieth century, doctrines were attributed to Aristotle which lost sight of what Aristotle intended. One of these mistaken doctrines was the very form of the syllogism: that a syllogism consists of three propositions containing three terms arranged in four figures. Yet another was that (...) a syllogism is a conditional proposition deduced from a set of axioms. There is even unclarity about what the basis of syllogistic validity consists in. Returning to Aristotle's text, and reading it in the light of commentary from late antiquity and the middle ages, we find a coherent and precise theory which shows all these claims to be based on a misunderstanding and misreading. (shrink)
This is a 1988 philosophical introduction to Aristotle, and Professor Lear starts where Aristotle himself starts. The first sentence of the Metaphysics states that all human beings by their nature desire to know. But what is it for us to be animated by this desire in this world? What is it for a creature to have a nature; what is our human nature; what must the world be like to be intelligible; and what must we be like to (...) understand it systematically? Through a consideration of these questions Professor Lear introduces us to the essence of Aristotle's philosophy and guides us through the central Aristotelian texts - selected from the Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics and from the biological and logical works. The book is written in a direct, lucid style which engages the reader with the themes in an active, participatory manner. (shrink)
Abstract According to Aristotle, human beings are by nature political animals. It is now common knowledge that being political is not a human privilege for him: bees, wasps, ants and cranes are other political species. Although they are not the only political animals, human beings, for Aristotle, are still more political than the other political animals. The present article investigates the precise sense of this comparison; and it claims that the higher degree of human politicalness is not to (...) be explained by reference to those exclusively human features like having capacity for speech and moral perception. It is claimed that human beings are more political rather because they live in a multiplicity of communities differing in form. -/- . (shrink)