Michael Weisberg
University of Pennsylvania
Aristotle’s On generation and corruption raises a vital question: how is mixture, or what we would now call chemical combination, possible? It also offers an outline of a solution to the problem and a set of criteria that a successful solution must meet. Understanding Aristotle’s solution and developing a viable peripatetic theory of chemical combination has been a source of controversy over the last two millennia. We describe seven criteria a peripatetic theory of mixture must satisfy: uniformity, recoverability, potentiality, equilibrium, alteration, incompleteness, and the ability to distinguish mixture from generation, corruption, juxtaposition, augmentation, and alteration. After surveying the theories of Philoponus (d. 574), Avicenna(d. 1037), Averroes (d. 1198), and John M. Cooper (fl. circa2000), we argue for the merits of Richard Rufus of Cornwall’s theory. Rufus (fl. 1231–1256) was a little known scholastic philosopher who became a Franciscan theologian in 1238, after teaching Aristotelian natural philosophy as a secular master in Paris. Lecturing on Aristotle’s De generatione et corruptione, around the year 1235, he offered his students a solution to the problem of mixture that we believe satisfies Aristotle’s seven criteria. # 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2004.02.002
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,008
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Rational Capacities.Michael Smith - 2003 - In Sarah Stroud & Christine Tappolet (eds.), Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. Oxford University Press. pp. 17-38.
Prime Matter in Aristotle.H. M. Robinson - 1974 - Phronesis 19 (1):168-188.
Aristotle on Mixtures.Richard Sharvy - 1983 - Journal of Philosophy 80 (8):439-457.

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

John Duns Scotus and the Ontology of Mixture.Lucian Petrescu - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (3):315-337.
Aristotle on Like-Partedness and the Like-Parted Bodies.Brad Berman - 2015 - Early Science and Medicine 20 (1):27-47.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
43 ( #263,013 of 2,505,160 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,587 of 2,505,160 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes