Aristotle's Physics is a work of extraordinary intellectual power which has had a profound influence on scientists and philosophers throughout the ages, and on the development of physics itself. This collection of major, previously unpublished, essays by leading Aristotelian scholars examines a wide range of major issues in the Physics and other related works. They offer fresh approaches to Aristotle's work and important new interpretations of his thought.
On the basis of what Aristotle says in the Posterior Analytics about how sciences are differentiated and about the impermissibility of ‘kind-crossing’, many commentators suppose that when it comes to his scientific practice, Aristotle treats the boundaries of the sciences as impermeable, so that if subject-matter X is the business of one science, it simply cannot be the business of another. I call this the impermeable boundary theory of the sciences: knowledge is divided into watertight compartments, determined by their distinct (...) genera, and what goes on in one compartment cannot turn up in another. I argue that, even if this is a correct account of Aristotle’s position in the Analytics, the view that he accepts the impermeable boundary theory when it comes to his scientific and philosophical work outside the Analytics is simply untenable. (shrink)
I argue that Metaphysicsλ is a unified work, and one which is not a continuation of the central books ΖΗΘ. It outlines an extensive project in First Philosophy, which has close connections with ΑΒΓΕ, but which proceeds on a different trajectory from ΖΗ. The principal problem in understanding λ as a whole is how to reconcile Aristotle's explicit presentation of the book as a highly unified study with the disparate character of its two halves – the first a general‐metaphysical enquiry (...) into the features which changeable substances have as being substances of that kind, the second a detailed investigation of the specific character and activity of immaterial substances. My paper aims to show how this reconciliation is possible, and what we can learn about Aristotle's conception of first philosophy as a result. (shrink)
Lambda, the twelfth book of Aristotle's Metaphysics, is an outline for a much more extended work in metaphysics or, more accurately, in what Aristotle calls 'first philosophy', the inquiry into 'the principles and causes of all things'. Lindsay Judson provides a rigorous translation of this important book and a detailed philosophical commentary.
Lindsay Judson and Vassilis Karasmanis present a selection of philosophical papers by an outstanding international team of scholars, assessing the legacy and continuing relevance of Socrates's thought 2,400 years after his death. The topics of the papers include Socratic method; the notion of definition; Socrates's intellectualist conception of ethics; famous arguments in the Euthyphro and Crito; and aspects of the later portrayal and reception of Socrates as a philosophical and ethical exemplar, by Plato, the Sceptics, and in the early Christian (...) era. Contributors include Lesley Brown, David Charles, John Cooper, Michael Frede, Terence Irwin, Charles Kahn, Vassilis Karasmanis, Carlo Natali, Vasilis Politis, Dory Scaltsas, Gerhard Seel, and C. C. W. Taylor. (shrink)
The standard interpretation of this passage sees Aristotle as claiming that if a thing is F eternally, its being F is not the exercise of any potentiality to be F, and as explicitly applying this claim to the heavenly bodies. This interpretation faces a number of difficulties: I shall offer a different reading which avoids these, and which brings out interesting connections between this passage and some arguments in Λ.6-7.
Aristotle usually has an extremely bad reputation as a physicist among scientists and historians of science. Central to this is the treatment of his version of the geocentric conception of the cosmos, according to which the earth is at the centre of the cosmos and does not move, and which was the dominant picture in antiquity and throughout the middle ages. Aristotle’s view is commonly regarded as a pernicious influence on the course of cosmology until the Renaissance, one which held (...) sway only because of Aristotle’s authority. The chapter argues that his integration of astronomy and physics—his pursuit, in a variety of works written over a long period, of the question: ‘what does the world have to be like, in terms of a unified physics, if current astronomical theory is right?’—embodies a degree of comprehensiveness, sophistication, and elegance simply unparalleled in the ancient world. It is also more robust—given the astronomy of Aristotle’s day—than is usually thought: the chapter considers a number of difficulties it faced, and outlines responses which Aristotle either did make or could have made. The only serious rival to Aristotle’s astrophysics before Kepler and Newton was the theory set out in Ptolemy’s Planetary Hypotheses, which attempts to integrate physics with his astronomy: the chapter argues that for all its subtlety, this theory fares very poorly as a piece of physics. It was not, therefore, simple deference to authority which led some Islamic and Renaissance scientists to prefer Aristotle’s theory even though they could not see how to square it with Ptolemaic astronomy. (shrink)
Available from UMI in association with The British Library. Requires signed TDF. ; Aristotle endorses a very striking doctrine connecting necessity with what seems to be a non-modal notion--that of 'being or happening always'. He also forges a connection between the idea of 'happening by chance' and 'happening neither always nor for the most part'. These two connections form the subject of this essay. My guiding aim is to provide an account of what the 'always/necessary' doctrine involves and of why (...) Aristotle might have held it. Reflection on the nature of the connection between 'by chance' and 'neither always nor for the most part' throws light on what Aristotle means by 'happening always', and, in consequence, on the nature of the link between 'always' and 'necessary'; it also suggests that the basis of this link is to be found in Aristotle 's general conception of the natural world as the object of explanation and knowledge. ;The primary texts upon which discussion of these connections must focus are De Caelo I. 12 and the analysis of chance in Physics II. 4-6. I discuss these two texts in turn, after an opening chapter which surveys the evidence for Aristotle 's acceptance of the 'always/necessary' doctrine and considers the nature of the restrictions which he places on it. Chapter 2 comprises a translation of and commentary on Cael. I. 12, together with a translation and discussion of its companion chapter, I. 10. In Chapter 3, I examine the nature of Aristotle 's argument in I. 12, and criticise various interpretations which see it as evidence that Aristotle 's 'always/necessary' doctrine rests on a distinctive conception of possibility. The translation of and commentary on Phys. II. 4-6 are followed in Chapter 5 by a discussion of issues relating to the association of chance with 'neither always nor for the most part'. The final chapter returns to the question of the connection between 'always' and 'of necessity'. (shrink)
I investigate the epistemic status of the hypotheses and other premises used in Socrates’ ‘arguments from a hypothesis’ in the Meno, and of the conclusions drawn from them, and argue that, while they are taken by Socrates to fall short of knowledge, he takes them all to have a positive epistemic status, and is not committed to advancing them only tentatively.